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Image Entertainment presents
Pot O' Gold (1941)

"Who wants a new band? Let them organise in a cave somewhere! Boom, boom, boom, boom! Woo, woo, woo, woo! I'll settle this once and for all!"
- C.J. Haskell (Charles Winninger)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: September 28, 2000

Stars: James Stewart, Paulette Goddard
Other Stars: Horace Heidt, Charles Winninger, Mary Gordon, James Flavin, Dick Hogan
Director: George Marshall

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Assault with a vegetable)
Run Time: 01h:25m:34s
Release Date: September 26, 2000
UPC: 056775006693
Genre: romantic comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-A-B+ D-

DVD Review

Notable as James Roosevelt's (son of then president Franklin) one and only movie production, Pot o' Gold was based on a popular radio show of the time. Directed by George Marshall (Destry Rides Again, You Can't Cheat An Honest Man), the film is a love story set against a family feud, and features several driving big band musical numbers.

James Hamilton Haskell (James Stewart) finds himself in the middle of a family feud after closing up his music store to move to the big city to take over the cereal factory owned by his uncle C.J. (Charles Winninger), who has his eye on the neighbor's property. The neighbors, headed by Ma McCorkle (Mary Gordon), are facing the daily racket of Haskell's factory air canons and decide to fight back with old man Haskell's biggest aggravation—music!

Things are coming to a head as James arrives in town, when the police are called to stop the big band from rehearsing on the McCorkle's boarding house roof. In the melee out on the street, James volunteers to lob a tomato at the arch rival of Molly McCorkle (Paulette Goddard, The Great Dictator), a pretty young girl he just met, and winds up as the suspect in an assault case—against his uncle! Now a hero to the McCorkle household, James has to conceal his lineage from the family, and when he winds up in court, the band hocks their instruments to bail him out. However, his uncle also winds up in the slammer for contempt of court, but loses his voice when he is forced to sing by the other inmates, which means James has to substitute for him on C.J.'s weekly radio show, The Haskell Happiness Hour. This blows his ruse with some of the McCorkle clan, but James is enamoured with Molly, so he pays back his bail money, and sets up a scheme to get his uncle to leave town so the band can play on the radio show. When Molly finds out that James is a Haskell, she exacts her revenge by announcing on air that the Haskells will be giving away $1000 on the next broadcast. This causes no end of problems as Uncle C.J. flips when he finds out the news, and James tries to put the whole mess straight and win back his girl.

While this certainly isn't the pinnacle of Stewart's career (he is quoted as saying this is his worst movie), his performance is still quite enjoyable, and the mess he gets himself into is fun to behold. The picture features a number of musical segments, including the songs A Fork, a Knife and a Spoon (performed around the dinner table), When Johnny Toots His Horn, Pete The Piper and a rousing rhumba spectacle led by Horace Heidt's thirty Musical Knights alongside a twelve piece rhumba band for Broadway Caballero. Good, old fashioned entertainment.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Now in the public domain, the package boasts that this disc is the only available version licensed from the owners of the film and features a new transfer from the 35mm fine grain nitrate film. Since I have seen similar comments on discs that were pretty poor in reality, I was expecting disappointment as the opening credits rolled in a haze of aliasing. Fortunately, once the picture started, the image was extremely good for a film of this vintage; with the black and white photography exhibiting a well balanced contrast and very fine grain evident. Sure, there are a couple of nicks and scratches here and there, but overall this looks very impressive, though a tad soft.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is hiss free, however the price paid for that is an almost constant low-level warbling, which sounds like an artifact of the noise reduction—ambient sounds are choppy as a result. Dialogue is clear, and though some of the louder passages sound a bit over saturated, this sounds source-related. Overall it is quite good for its age, though the processing artifacts were distracting at times.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Not a very original story, but an enjoyable film none-the-less. Stewart is his usual self, and those fond of big band and happy stories should find this a pleasant experience. The presentation is very good, and I doubt you'll find a better release of this film.

 


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