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I own three of the 50 classic movie packs so far - horror, comedy, and my latest purchase, this 50 musicals pack. I really liked the horror and comedy packs, but I felt like I had to go panning for gold in this pack more than the other two. The movies can be broken down into four basic categories, and depending on how you feel about them, you may or may not consider this a worthwhile purchase.
1. Early talkie pre-code musicals and pseudo-musicals. These include "Glorifying the American Girl", "Dixiana", "The Great Gabbo", "Palooka", "Reaching for the Moon", "Check and Double Check", and "King Kelly of the USA". Because these movies were made in the era of 1929 - 1934, you have to deal with the problems of early sound era cinematography and some crackling in the audio. However, if you are a big film history buff like myself, this collection is a cost-effective way to view and own these rarely seen films. Realize that "Glorifying the American Girl" and "The Great Gabbo" do not include the Technicolor sequences that were originally filmed for them - both movies are entirely in Black and White.
2. Great movies that inexplicably are in the public domain. The movies in this category include "Royal Wedding" with Fred Astaire, "Till the Clouds Roll By" with Judy Garland, "Swing Hostess" and "Stage Door Canteen" with a variety of stars. Of course, your version of "great movies" will vary according to taste.
3. Good to poor movies that are in the public domain. This is the largest class of movies in the group. The better ones include "Hi Diddle Diddle" starring Adolphe Menjou that is more of a comedy than anything and is obviously targeted at a World War II audience. I also enjoyed "Calendar Girl" which had some pretty good music and OK performances. "Black Tights" with Maurice Chevalier and Cyd Charisse has some great dancing in it, but the video transfer is truly awful, and "Second Chorus" is a film that has Fred Astaire playing a collegiate trumpet player of all things and is quite enjoyable but certainly not in the league with Astaire's top films. Of course, in this category, you must also tolerate the "dross with the divine". The worst movies in this category are "Wild Guitar" which I would just recommend because it has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen, and it isn't even that old compared to the others in this pack. Made in 1962, it is obviously supposed to be a copy of Elvis Presley's story. However, the star of this film - Arch Hall, Jr. - is no Elvis in either the acting, singing, or looks department. "Road Show" is pure punishment to sit through. Adolphe Menjou, who can usually make any picture better, cannot save this 70 minute long slapstick parade that gets tiresome after 20 minutes. Last but not least, is "The Dancing Pirate", which is so bad it is good. It involves an 1830's Boston dance instructor who is kidnapped by pirates, escapes in California, and winds up giving dancing lessons to the then all-Hispanic residents of that territory. It is as campy as it sounds, and actually fun in places.
4. African-American musicals from the 30's through the 50's made by long defunct companies. Besides the early-talkie musicals and films, this is the other reason to own this collection. Although some stereotypes can be found in these productions, they largely portray African-Americans as normal and dignified individuals decades before the civil rights era began to bear any fruit in popular culture. Most of the plots are very thin and are just there to hold together the musical performances - and what performances they are! The performers include Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, as well as some acts I had never heard of that perform some great rhythm and blues numbers. These films include "Duke is Tops", "Reet, Petite and Gone", "Killer Diller", and "Paradise in Harlem" among many others. To enjoy these films you will have to tolerate the rather cheap looking sets probably due to the rock-bottom budgets these film gems had to endure in order to get produced in the first place.
If you are a fan of the off-beat musicals made from the 1930's through the 1950's as I am and aren't afraid of tolerating the video defects that come with the territory in these old public domain films, I would recommend this set.