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Hansel and Gretel (1954)
Movie in limbo
Its hard to find this movie. It was an import (from Eastern Europe somewhere) but you'd never know it from the care in dubbing. It's the opera, but trimmed to essentials and clearly aimed at children. I was absolutely enchanted by it as a youngster, less enthralled to see it as an adult. But then TV prints left a lot to be desired. It was a lovely looking movie. The record was available on LP for ages. Pity young people can't get to know this charming stop-motion film.
I was lucky enough to have seen this film in a theatre. I'd read the book recently, and the film was quite illuminating in many respects. Unfortunately, it was a very literal interpretation of dream logic. The soundtrack, however, was absolutely first rate and evocative of the book. (Why wouldn't it be, actually; after all, it WAS the book!)
An abridged version was released on disk IN STEREO, and it was a treasure. I only hope that when and if this brave folly is ever preserved on DVD, it will incorporate the stereo audio, even though I doubt that it was ever presented in stereo theatrically.
SALLY is a revelation!
Many years ago I heard a recording of a wobbly voiced singer by the name of Marilyn Miller that seemed to belie her reputation as one of the brightest lights that ever shone on Broadway.
A few years ago, Turner Entertainment released the remains of what's left of a primitive early talkie called SALLY. SALLY was a legendary stage show first produced by Ziegfeld in 1919, representing Miss Miller's greatest triumphs. In 1929, she was given the opportunity to preserve her performance in this oversized adaptation.
The entire film was shot and released in 2-color Technicolor, and this process apparently had the by-product of enhancing the range of the sound.
The film is undeniably dated. It lacks rhythm that later films would quickly master. What is thrilling and fascinating is to watch this great star, Marilyn Miller, in action. Her greatest asset was her dancing, though even that wobbly voice has its charms.
The film is in woeful need of restoration. That said, it is pretty much all there. Provided the viewer is able to make the leap of faith in understanding that it a technological dinosaur, you can settle in and luxuriate in witnessing something like an authentic classic Ziegfeld show.