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THIS IS THE ARMY - public domain NO MORE!!!


NZ

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After years of having to contend with abysmal DVD transfers of Irving Berlin's flag waving salute to the armed forces, restoration expert Robert Harris and Warner Home Video have at last teamed up to do a restoration on the title!

 

Since extensive work is required a 2008 release to DVD seems highly unlikely - but rest assured, this magnificent musical that features - among others - Kate Smith singing her trademark 'God Bless America' and Irving Berlin in his only on camera performance - singing 'Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning.'

 

Warner warhorse, Michael Curtiz directed this galvanic tribute, using real life army, navy and airforce recruits and starring Ronald Reagan and George Murphy at the top of their game. This has always been one of my personal favorites - ever since I saw it in rough shod condition on a locally broadcast 'Bill Kennedy at the Movies' in 1978.

 

With so much conflict abroad these days, it's essential that we have Berlin's particular brand of patriotism back on the screen where it belongs!

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This would make a good cornerstone of a DVD boxed set with Hollywood Canteen, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Two Girls and a Sailor & Thousands Cheer. All these films are All Star "for the boys" (and girls) of the Armed Forces. BTW I remember Bill Kennedy too-saw a lot of classic films for the first time on his show when it aired in Chicago in the 70s. He had a lot of stories about the stars that were pretty interesting.

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Growing up I remember ON YOUR TOES playing late night TV many times, usually at 3 or 4 a.m. Being too young I was never able to stay awake. When TCM recently ran this one in the daytime I finally got a chance to see it. What a disappointment. WB changed the storyline and relegated the beautiful Rodgers & Hart score ("There's A Small Hotel", "Quiet Night," etc) to background music. What remained were two awful ballets including "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" danced by Zorina. Although she could dance Zorina was no actress that is why her Hollywood career was thankfully short. As for Eddie Albert, they used a double for his dancing. Very weird. I wonder what Warner Brothers was thinking when they bought this property.

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I agree the ballet music is beautiful. But I prefer the version done in MGM's WORDS AND MUSIC and danced by Gene Kelly and Vera Ellen. The ballet in ON YOUR TOES seems quite clunky as compared to the MGM version.

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  • 4 weeks later...

There is a musical box set just announced from Warner Home Video which will contain Hollywood Canteen, Thank Your Lucky Stars and This is The Army - fully restored!!!

 

Tentatively the set is scheduled for mid-July 2008 but this date may change significantly as a lot of work needs to be done on This Is The Army.

 

It's odd that Two Girls and A Sailor and Thousands Cheer weren't considered for inclusion in this set. Perhaps WB wanted a strictly Warner product box set about the war years. These last two films are MGM product.

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That's great news. I've never seen a good copy of it. Just one point, as I understand it, if the restored version is copyrighted solely because it is restored and not for any other reason such as somebody owning the literary rights, then only the restored version is copyrighted. The PD versions would remain PD. Of course, I can't imagine why anyone would by the old version when a restored version is available.

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  • 1 month later...

The rumored release of This is The Army for July of 2008 has been delayed because the studio is searching for the best possible film elements on which to base its new photochemical and digital restoration.

 

The good news is that we're likely to see a very pristine and deluxe transfer emerge from this exhaustive search. The bad news (and it's not very bad) is that we might have to hold our breath a little while longer.

 

Oh well, remember that anything of quality takes time and dedication. The good people at WB seem to have both on tap for the release of this title.

 

We'll wait in hope and anticipation.

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  • 3 months later...

UPDATE: Warner's restored version of Irving Berlin's This Is The Army will appear as part of a three pack "Home Front Collection" with Thank Your Lucky Stars and Hollywood Canteen on Nov. 11, 2008 - a fitting tribute to the veterans and Armed Forces.

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