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Fox Home Entertainment presents
We're Not Married (1952)

"Heaven has finally blessed our union with a little annulment."
- Steve Gladwyn (Fred Allen)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: April 19, 2004

Stars: Ginger Rogers, Fred Allen, Victor Moore, Marilyn Monroe, David Wayne, Eve Arden, Paul Douglas, Eddie Bracken, Mitzi Gaynor
Other Stars: Louis Calhern, Zsa Zsa Gabor, James Gleason, Paul Stewart, Jane Darwell, Lee Marvin
Director: Edmund Goulding

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:25m:30s
Release Date: April 20, 2004
UPC: 024543112112
Genre: comedy


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

DVD Review

Marriage is of course one of the biggest steps in life. Part of the significance, especially in years gone by when divorces were harder to get, is derived from the inability to reconsider. But this classic comedy takes a look at what possibilities there might be if five couples were to get a second chance at the big decision.

Justice of the peace Melvin Bush (Victor Moore) is called on the carpet for jumping the date of his appointment. It seems that he married six couples in the days before January 1, the effective date of his authority to marry. One couple has already divorced, which brought the question to light, and this film, through five vignettes, takes a look at the reaction of five very different couples as they react to the news.

The lengthiest and by far the funniest segment is the first, featuring Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers as Steve and Ramona Gladwyn. The Gladwyns have a morning radio show of relentless and nauseating cheerfulness, but they actually can't stand one another. A healthy and very funny chunk of the segment is devoted to the radio program, which is a nonstop barrage of built-in advertising. Other segments feature Marilyn Monroe in a big stretch role as a beauty queen, Zsa Zsa Gabor as a merciless golddigger, Paul Douglas and Eve Arden as an utterly bored couple, and soldier Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor frantically trying to get remarried and evade the military police in the process.

Victor Moore was a longtime film comedian dating back to the Keystone years, and his comic timing and muddled affect are very amusing. Moore would only make one more film, appearing again with Monroe in The Seven Year Itch a few years later. His deadpan is right on the money, and pairing him with the solicitous Jane Darwell (Ma Joad herself) doesn't hurt. Allen and Rogers are a scream as the feuding couple with the ultrathin veneer of love and affection. Allen was of course a longtime radio comedian, and his acerbic character is perfectly suited to the role, while Rogers more than holds her own against him. Monroe is doing better here than she had in earlier appearances, and exudes the necessary charm to be very winning as Mrs. Mississippi (though she thankfully doesn't take a stab at the accent). Louis Calhern and Zsa Zsa Gabor play off each other expertly. The irony in their segment is quite delicious and they both play it to the hilt. The final segment with Bracken and Gaynor is a little too dependent on slapstick and runs too long, but it's still fairly entertaining. Lee Marvin also shows up in a small early speaking role.

The weakest part of the picture is the brief finale, which doesn't quite jive with everything that has gone before, but I suppose in 1953 it could hardly end any other way. In any event, the film is actually laughter-inducing, unlike many alleged comedies. Even though the plot has been borrowed by countless sitcoms since, it still has a warmth and freshness here that sparkles and is well worth watching.

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

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The film is properly presented in full frame (Cinemascope was still over a year away), and Fox does an admirable job of transferring the picture. The black-and-white visual information is detailed and rich, with excellent greyscales and textures throughout. Black levels are very good. Some text gets cropped off by overscan, so windowboxing would have been a good idea. The only significant defect is a hair that appears in the lower left corner for a lengthy chunk of the Monroe story.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The sound isn't bad either. A stereo and mono track are provided, with the stereo being quite expansive and including a goodly amount of surround information when decoded through Pro Logic. Hiss and noise are barely noticeable, and the music has very good range for a 50-year-old track, though of course one shouldn't expect a bass extravaganza. Quite pleasing all around.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
14 Other Trailer(s) featuring All About Eve,As Young as You Feel, Bus Stop, Don't Bother to Knock, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, Let's Make It Legal, Let's Make Love, The Love Nest, Monkey Business, Niagara, The River of No Return, The Seven Year Itch, There's No Business Like Show Business
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:55m:54s

Extras Review: Chaptering is a bit on the thin side. The only extras are a whopping 15 trailers of films from Fox featuring Monroe (all of which are now on DVD). The trailer for the feature here is in pretty good shape, considering its age, and does a good job of presenting the picture without too many spoilers.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

A fun situation comedy, given a very nice transfer, but little in the way of extras.

 


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