Fox Home Entertainment presents
As Young as You Feel (1951)
"That bird's no more president of Consolidated Motors than I am. He's a crook, an imposter."- Louis McKinley (Albert Dekker)
Stars: Monty Woolley, Thelma Ritter, David Wayne, Jean Peters
Other Stars: Constance Bennett, Marilyn Monroe, Allyn Johnson, Albert Dekker, Clinton Sundberg, Minor Watson, Russ Tamblyn
Director: Harmon Jones
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild thematic material)
Run Time: 01h:16m:44s
Release Date: 2004-04-20
DVD ReviewIn tribal and rural societies, the aged are usually held with respect and considered to be valuable members of the community. In the industrialized/corporate world, however, getting old is a ticket to obsolescence and being placed on the shelf, regardless of the loss of accumulated experience and wisdom. Although age discrimination laws were passed in the last few years to deal with this problem, it's certainly not a new phenomenon as this 1951 comedy points out with warmth and charm.
John Hodges (Monty Woolley) has been a longtime employee of Acme Printing Services, but upon reaching 65, he is informed that his services are no longer required by policy of Consolidated Motors. Upon navigating the maze of subsidiaries owned by Consolidated Motors, including Acme, and learning that no one at Acme knows who the president of Consolidated Motors is, he hits on a plan: he will impersonate that president, Harold P. Cleveland, and gives a speech on the value of older employees. While the scheme works, it has a good many repercussions, especially when his speech is picked up by the press and the real Harold P. Cleveland (Minor Watson) learns what's been going on.
Woolley, in distinguished George V spade beard and with perfect diction, carries off the lead exceedingly well, credibly managing both the printer and the president with aplomb. The supporting cast is first-rate as well, with the great Thelma Ritter as his wry daughter Della and Jean Peters as his granddaughter Alice. Fox contract player David Wayne makes for a good romantic interest who's trying to convince people that Harold P. Cleveland is not quite what he seems. Director Harmon Jones gives the proceedings a light feeling with a decent faux-Capra populist flair.
This is another volume in the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection, but those picking it up for Monroe will probably be disappointed. She's the secretary to the head of Acme, Louis McKinley (the notorious Albert Dekker). She gets higher billing than Dekker, as an up-and-coming young starlet, but her role's pretty small. When she's onscreen but not the focus, she seems at a loss for what to do and just stands there waiting for her cue. But she still sparkles sex appeal nonetheless.
There's some surprisingly adult thematic material, especially for 1951, as McKinley's wife (Constance Bennett) aches for infidelity with "Harold P. Cleveland," making this not quite appropriate for children. But it's nonetheless entertaining and good-hearted, if not exactly gut-busting comedy.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame transfer of this black-and-white film is quite attractive. There's a fair amount of grain, but it's well rendered, thanks to the copious bitrate allowed by using an RSDL disc for this short movie. Blacks are solid, and there's good detail. The greyscale is quite nice, with little damage or speckling visible.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: Unfortunately, things aren't so rosy on the audio front. There are tons of hiss and noise, with crackle present throughout. The music has a tinny period sound to it. The soundtrack gets difficult to listen to, though dialogue is clear enough. There are both stereo and mono English tracks present, but the difference between them isn't too significant.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
14 Other Trailer(s) featuring All About Eve, 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, We're Not Married
Layers Switch: 00h:47m:04s
Extras Review: There aren't any extras other than a whopping 15 trailers of films from Fox featuring Monroe (all of which are now on DVD). That for the feature is pretty scratchy but a good example of circa 1950 movie salesmanship.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsA droll comedy about the problem of aging on the job, with a good video transfer but a rather noisy audio track. Not much for extras, unless you really like trailers.
Mark Zimmer 2004-04-18