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Business" at amazon.com
There's No Business Like Show Business
review by Zach B. and Anthony D.
Running Time: 118 minutes
Starring Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, Marilyn
Monroe, Dan Dailey, Johnnie Ray, Mitzi Gaynor
Screenplay by Phoebe and Henry Ephron
Story by Lamar Trotti
Directed by Walter Lang
Retail Price: $24.98
Features: Restoration Comaprison, One Sheet Gallery,
Specs: 2.55:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby 4.0
Surround, English Stereo, English Closed Captions, English
Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (28
Question: What do you get when you enlist the talents of
the world's greatest songwriter, the world's greatest
belter, the world's greatest known symbol of sex, two of the
world's best hoofers, one of the fifties' greatest crooners,
two of the greatest gams ever to dance across a Cinemascope
landscape and the greatest theatrical anthem ever written?
If you answered. "The greatest musical film of all time,"
boy would you be wrong. If you answered "There's No Business
Like Show Business," then you must be one of the cult
followers of this gaudy, glitzy and all-the-way-over-the-top
musical extravaganza. Either that, or you had nothing better
to do on a Saturday night when AMC was broadcasting this
1954 dinosaur ad nauseum. Or, you're the lucky owner of this
entry in Fox's Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection. But,
getting back to the initial question, let's tackle this film
piece by piece.
Irving Berlin is represented by fourteen classic Tin Pan
Alley songs, as well as the title tune made famous by Ethel
Merman in the Broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun." In
recompense for losing the film role, twice, to both Judy
Garland and Betty Hutton, Fox created a film role for The
Merm, teaming her with Marilyn Monroe. The mind boggles, but
wait, there's more. Dan Dailey and Donald O'Connor are
dancing fools as Merman's husband and son, respectively.
Johnnie Ray is Merman's other son, and Mitzi Gaynor is her
daughter. And you know, Merman doesn't age a day through the
course of the film! "There's No Business Like Show Business"
is a travelogue of theater music, starting in the glory days
of vaudeville, and following the careers of The Donahues,
first two vaudevillians, then three and as Merman gives
birth over and over, finally The Five Donahues. Toss the
sultriest performance by Marilyn Monroe into the mix - -
she's the object of Donald O'Connor's affection, and the
object of Merman's disdain - - whether draped in a
shimmering, sheer gown singing "After You Get What You Want,
You Don't Want It" or striking up a tropical "Heat Wave" in
a costume that surely had the censors on the edge of their
seats, and you've got the film's chief selling point.
Marilyn is at the top of her powers, but, is constantly
overshadowed by the other performers. Pity poor Marilyn when
the choreography of "Lazy" showcases Mitzi Gaynor and Donald
O'Connor - - her back-up dancers! Or even when Johnny Ray
(most definitely an acquired taste) belts out a
gospel-inflected "If You Believe" so close to Marilyn's
stunning "After You Get..." By the time that Marilyn
launches into "Heat Wave," easily the film's highlight,
there's nothing left for director Walter Lang to top that
off with, except the finale. Hundreds upon hundreds of
dancers and singers belting "There's No Business Like Show
Business" over and over and over as the principals are
placed on a rising pedestal in the midst of the gargantuan
Forget plot, characterization, conflict - - well, there
is a conflict: will Johnny Ray's Steve Donahue choose the
church over show business, but that's patly resolved in the
blink of an eye - - or any of those things normally
associated with script-writing. This is the cockeyed world
of 20th Century Fox musical film - - and what better
representation of musical conventions than that powerhouse
known as Ethel Merman? Is there a better representation of
the entire decade of sexuality than the force of nature that
was Marilyn Monroe? Is there a more extravagant exercise of
glitzy gaudiness in which the sum of all parts is far, far
greater than the whole shebang? Constantly dazzling to the
eye and ear, "There's No Business Like Show Business" is not
one of the greatest musical films of all time, nor is it the
Though the box says 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen,
"There's No Business Like Show Business" is presented in
2.55:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is yet another great
Monroe Fox restoration that impressed me. Color saturation
and fleshtones look natual and come across pretty bold.
Detail and black levels are great and I noticed some grain
here and there. Very impressive indeed.
The English Dolby 4.0 Surround is excellent. This is a
great remix and for a film that features a lot of music,
it's really brought to life nicely. There's good surround
use and creative mixing. Tiny sounds sound natural and
excellent, and it just gets better as the movie goes along.
Great remix. English Stereo is also included on another
track and English closed captions, English subtitles and
Two Theatrical Trailers (both anamorphic) are
included as well as a Portuguese Theatrical Trailer.
Plus, the Diamond Collection section houses trailers
for other Monroe films.
The box doesn't list a One Sheet Gallery or a
really good Restoration Comparison (where the
introduction says the film was the best one in shape of all
the Monroe films).
Packed with some great musical numbers, this DVD for
"There's No Business Like Show Business" gets the job done.
A great presentation wih decent extras, if you liked this
movie, then you'll be happy.
(2.5/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)