Damon Runyon’s stories would most famously make it into musical form in 1955 with Guys and Dolls. But in the meantime, this 1952 effort featured many of the same sorts of characters – wise-cracking-but-harmless gangsters and their glamorous molls. Here, Numbers Foster (Scott Brady) hightails it out of town to avoid a Congressional hearing, and on the way back, he picks up country songbird Emily Ann Stackerlee (Mitzi Gaynor), much to the displeasure of New York girlfriend Yvonne (Marguerite Chapman). Heavier on plot and lighter on numbers than some other musicals of the period, this is a jovial effort, but understandably in the shadow of its more famous cousin.
As with the other Marquee Musicals, the sound is the original mono. I know fine 5.1 remixes can be done (see Singin’ in the Rain), but a poor remix is worse than none at all, and the mono is sounding fine here. It has plenty of volume, and the score sounds fine. Unlike some of the other entries in the series, the dialogue is free of distortion, which is a good thing, since the snappy patter is at least as big a part of what the film is all about as are the songs.
This is yet another pre-widescreen musical, and its fullscreen presentation is thus its original format. There is no edge or grain to the print, nor any damage. The only real sign of its half-century age is the occasional fluctuation of the otherwise very brilliant colours. The contrasts and blacks, meanwhile, remain strong throughout.
The minor status of the film is reflected in the features, which have more to say about the creative personnel than the feature itself. “A New York State of Mind: Written by Damon Runyon”, “Mitzi Gaynor: Impressions of the Fox Years” and “Dancing as Fast as She Can: A Conversation with Sharon Baird” are all decent profiles, but the focus obviously goes beyond Bloodhounds. More specific to the film, but less involved, is the usual collection of restoration comparison, poster gallery, still gallery, interactive pressbook, theatrical trailer, and lobby card collection.
A minor work, but good fun nonetheless.