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Warner Home Video presents
Jamboree (1957)

"There really hasn't been a romantic singing team since Jeannette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy. It's so old it's new."
- Grace Shaw (Kay Medford)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 16, 2005

Stars: Kay Medford, Bob Pastene, Paul Carr, Freda Holloway
Other Stars: David King-Wood, Frankie Avalon, Dick Clark, Fats Domino, Connie Francis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Slim Whitman, Count Basie
Director: Roy Lockwood

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:26m:01s
Release Date: August 16, 2005
UPC: 085392752324
Genre: musical


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

DVD Review

Although rock music was still something fairly fresh and new in 1957, that didn't mean that it couldn't be grafted onto the old and hoary. That was the case in this cynically concocted musical that takes rock acts, both notable and forgettable, and melds them onto a stage melodrama that's pretty creaky at its best.

Two young singers, Pete Porter (Paul Carr) and Honey Wood (Freda Holloway) are vying for the big time. They are respectively represented by a pair of unscrupulous agents, Grace Shaw (Kay Medford) and Lew Arthur (Bob Pastene) who just happen to be ex-spouses. When Grace sees the attraction between the youngsters, she comes up with the idea of teaming them as romantic singers, and the couple quickly hits the big time. But Grace and Lew are greedy and distrustful, and both of them try to engineer their clients to try out a solo career, leading to inevitably disastrous results.

The story is leaden and not terribly credible, especially since neither of the youngsters has an ounce of charisma. They're particularly at a disadvantage up against the numerous other actual musical acts, a fact that isn't helped by Holloway's singing voice being incongruously dubbed by Connie Francis. Their supposed big hit, Who Are We to Say, is, however, surprisingly catchy and actually not a bad little tune. Medford and Pastene are fairly entertaining as they snipe against each other, but their de rigeur reconciliation rings absolutely false.

The real appeal, of course, is the presence of all the other musical acts here. Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Count Basie and Frankie Avalon are the biggest names, and they give reasonably good performances as they lip-synch through their numbers. At the other end of the spectrum are the appallingly offensive Sayonara by Jodie Sands, the nauseating Hula Love by Buddy Knox, and an overly sincere musical tribute to bullfighters by Ron Coby. The story's conventions allow them to do a number as part of a show (or in one extended sequence, as part of a telethon hosted by a 1957 Dick Clark), and then just exit without being troubled by dialogue or interacting with the cast of the story. It feels like the tunes are just slapped on, and considering writers Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky's track record of churning out whatever was selling tickets, any cynicism is well founded.

About two dozen disc jockeys also make an appearance, hyping the fictional Honey and Pete act. My jaundiced eye suspects this was another maneuver to get some free publicity for this fairly dismal picture. It does give one a look at the surprisingly button-down DJs of the early rock era, however, and the especially loopy and certainly not button-down buffoonery of New York's Jocko Henderson. But that's not enough to save this dud by a long shot.

Songs:

Rocco and His Saints: Record Hop Tonight
Connie Francis: For Children of All Ages
Carl Perkins: Glad All Over
Paul Carr & Connie Francis: Who Are We to Say
Frankie Avalon: Teacher's Pet
Connie Francis: Siempre
Charlie Gracie: Cool Baby
Jodie Sands: Sayonara
Jerry Lee Lewis: Great Balls of Fire
Ron Coby: Toreador
Lewis Lyman and the Teenchords: Your Last Chance
Paul Carr: If Not for You
Slim Whitman: Unchain My Heart
The Four Coins: A Broken Promise
Count Basie: Jamboree
Joe Williams and the Count Basie Orchestra: I Don't Like You No More
Buddy Knox: Hula Love
Jimmy Bowen: Cross Over
Fats Domino: Wait and See
Paul Carr and Connie Francis: Twenty-Four Hours a Day


Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The keepcase indicates that the full-frame ratio is that of the original theatrical exhibition. It's clearly not open matte, but the sides do feel rather cramped nonetheless. The black and white photography comes across quite well, with wide greyscales and plenty of detail. There's a fair amount of dirt and speckling but it's acceptable for what it is.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 1.0 mono audio track is generally tolerable, with the musical numbers sounding fine. There's little bass information, however. Someone must have had their hand right on the noise reduction knob, because there is a persistent flanging on dialogue that vanishes as soon as each line is done. It's rather distracting and might have actually been less noticeable if the background silence didn't keep coming and going.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 31 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra is a trailer. The film proper probably doesn't deserve much more, but a recollection from Dick Clark, who plays a key role in the telethon sequence, might have been interesting. Chaptering is generous, with a stop for each song.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Other than seeing a few big names circa 1957, there's little enjoyable about this predictable tale of the music industry.

 


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