It appears that Fox is having a hard time keeping a good thing going when it comes to the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection. The Volume One boxed set included five discs, Volume Two included four discs, and the group of films that are generally being referred to as Volume Three don’t come in a box at all, but are only available for individual sale. I understand the logic, however, as these latest films aren’t exactly Marilyn Monroe star vehicles. Yes, she appears in all of them, but she is certainly not a feat…red performer. Once I saw a few of these films, I appreciated the fact that these discs aren’t being pushed as the next volume of the Diamond Collection in the strictest sense. True, she is the only performer featured on the covers, and the artwork matches the theme of the other titles in the series, but as I said earlier, they are not available in a boxed set, and the text on the back of the box clearly states that she holds only a minor role.
So, this is not really a Marilyn Monroe film. OK, so what exactly is this film about? In a nutshell, it deals with corporate idiocy, which is a topic that I am all-too-familiar with in my real life. The basic story goes that Grandpa gets fired from his job, because there is a company policy that prohibits workers over the age of 65 from being employed by the company. The directive comes from the parent company of a partnership of a subsidiary of the company that owns the stock of this other company… well, you get the gist of it. Anyway, so Grandpa passes himself off as the president of the whole conglomerate, and essentially hires himself back. His views on business catch on, he is found out, and hilarity ensues.
This is one of those films that, while not necessarily bad, would have surely slipped away into nothingness were it not for the presence of Monroe. On the one hand, its message of corporate bureaucracy and ignorance seems to be ripped from the panels of Dilbert, which most modern audiences would be able to identify with. On the other hand, however, the audience is also asked to believe quite a few implausible plot twists; most notably, the fact that nobody notices that the CEO is really Grandpa. The whole cast is thrown off the scent, simply because he dies his hair. The movie is pure fluff, but sometimes fluff is fun.
I was much more pleased with the audio on Monroe’s 1952 film We’re Not Married than I was on this 1951 flick. Apparently, one year really does make a difference. The entire soundtrack is generally unimpressive, complete with some loud ambient noise and fuzzy dialog. The low end is generally undefined, and the highs are a tad shrill. This is certainly not a great soundtrack. However, I must take the age of the film into account, which is why it is rated as high as it is. I wasn’t expecting much, and this disc meets those expectations.
Much like the audio track, the video here really shows its age. The film starts off with quite a bit of grain, but thankfully it cleans up somewhat once the film gets going (though it never completely goes away). The standard amounts of dust and debris shows up on the negative throughout the screening as well. Furthermore, I noticed some slight flicker going on during one segment of the film, though it was certainly nothing major.
Honestly, there are no more problems here than one would normally expect from a marginal film of this era. Obviously, I would have loved to have seen a major restoration project commissioned for this film, but let’s be realistic… this is not a disc that is going to recoup those kinds of costs, no matter how good it looks. For a film of this caliber, I have no serious complaints with this transfer.
As is the case on many of the films from this collection, the only extras on this disc are trailers. There are fifteen complete advertisements included; sixteen if you count the spot for Volume One of this DVD series. As I have said before, any disc that includes that many trailers deserves to be recognized, which is why a trailers-only disc is receiving such a high rating in the extras department. The addition of Cast and Crew Bios or Production Notes would have been nice, but I am pleased with what is here.
This might be a good choice for die-hard Marilyn fans, or for those completists out there that want to own the entire Diamond Collection series. For the casual viewer, however, you should probably pass on this one. My favorite Monroe film is The Seven Year Itch, and it looks fantastic! That would be an excellent place to start with the films of this screen legend.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailers