In a New York happily riddled in sin, Frank Sinatra is Nathan Detroit, who runs a notorious floating crap game. But since the cops are breathing down his neck, he is having trouble finding a location for his game. He finds one, but needs a thousand dollars cash to get the space. Enter Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, gambler extraordinaire. Sinatra bets him a grand that he can’t seduce missionary Jean Simmons, and the romantic complications are on.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz isn’t a direc…or whose name necessarily comes to mind when the word “musical” is uttered. But the result is quite magical here, as the dazzling choreography of Michael Kidd is married to the elaborately hilarious dialogue. Each on their own would be classic. Together in one movie? Perfection.
The film was originally in stereo, and the choices here are between a new 5.1 and the original 3.0. There isn’t that much difference between the two. The rear speakers aren’t given too much to do either way, though the music comes through in acceptable fashion. Effects are minimal, but there is nothing misplaced, either. All in all, not a bad track for a movie over half a century old.
The print is in excellent shape, barring the occasional speckle. The colours are strong, but some of them are too much so: the reds and oranges are a bit too garish. There is no grain or edge enhancement, but the image isn’t as sharp as one might wish it to be. The original 2.55:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio is respected. Again, a decent transfer, but I could have wished it stronger.
What? No commentary? Instead, there are two 20-minute featurettes (“The Goldwyn Touch” and “From Stage to Screen”) that play as one longer piece, and five other tiny interviews (adding up to a whopping 7:44). Six of the musical performances can be viewed in isolation (a rather pointless feature, given this radical invention called “scene selection”). There’s also a still gallery and a couple of ads for other releases. The best new extra for this release is a 72-page booklet filled with original publicity and stills. The menu is basic.
An absolutely spiffing musical, but why are the extras still relatively slight?
Special Features List
- “From Stage to Screen” Documentary
- “The Goldwyn Touch” Documentary
- “More Guys and Dolls Stories” Interviews
- Musical Performances
- Still Gallery
- 72-Page Collectible Scrapbook