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I Love Lucy - The Complete Fifth Season


TITLE: I LOVE LUCY - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005 (Paramount Home Video)
Color
MSRP: $55.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 11 hours and 20 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Spanish, English; Spanish Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: Lost scenes, flubs, original openings, production notes, script excerpts, five complete episodes of the radio show, "My Favorite Husband," and more!


Introduction:

That zany, crazy redhead is back on DVD in the fifth season release of I LOVE LUCY. Follow along as the Ricardos and Mertzes continue on in their travels. Watch as Lucy finds trouble in California, New York, Paris, London, Rome and nearly everywhere else in between! Lucy gets herself into even more hilarious situations when she steals John Wayne's footprints in California. Then, on the train back to New York, she becomes convinced a train robbery is taking place and uses the all-too-convenient brake cord. Next, Lucy goes to extremes to get on board an ocean liner when it sets sail for Europe with the Ricardos and Mertzes - without her! And then in Europe, Lucy's crazy antics continue as she gets thrown in a Parisian jail, models a French "designer" potato sack, and causes an avalanche in the Swiss Alps and accidentally hitting the jackpot in Monte Carlo. All of that, and more, is included on this set of all 26 original season five episodes with loads of special features, ranging from flubs, lost scenes, script excerpts, to four complete episodes of Lucy's radio show: MY FAVORITE HUSBAND. Unfortunately, it has come to my attention when looking at the back of the box, that Episode #130, "Lucy and The Dummy" has been edited from its original network version (SEE "Video and Audio Quality").


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The fifth season, like nearly all seasons of I LOVE LUCY contain quite a few memorable episodes (almost every episode this season is a classic), and they include, most notably, "Lucy Visits Grauman's," "Lucy and John Wayne," "The Great Train Robbery," "The Passports," "Staten Island Ferry," "Bon Voyage," "Lucy Meets Charles Boyer," "Lucy Gets a Paris Gown," "Lucy Gets Homesick in Italy," "Lucy's Italian Movie," "Lucy's Bicycle Trip," and more! The more memorable guest appearances in the fifth season include such big name stars as John Wayne, Charles Boyer, and more!


Packaging:

The packaging for this set follows the same design as season's one through four, but its teal (greenish-blue) in color. Inside the box, there are four individual cases, one for each disc. Each case has a spliced shot of Lucy from one of the episodes from that disc (such as, on Disc 4, has a solo picture of Lucy from her famous Italian Grape Stomping scene). On the discs themselves are spliced screenshots from one of the more memorable episodes on that disc (such as, on Disc 1, is a cut out of Fred and Lucy from the train back to New York and Fred has on the rain parka because he and Ethel were always eating when Lucy pulled the brake). On the back of each case, there is a list of each episode that is included on that disc (inside the case are episode descriptions). The descriptions themselves are a couple of sentences and include the episode title, the original airdate and the production number. The episodes are presented in original production number order instead of the airdate order and chapter skips are available. On the inside of the discs are episode descriptions, episode numbers and episode titles. There are four discs in the set, each one in its own individual case. There are seven episodes for Discs 1 and 2, and six episodes on Discs 3 and 4.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen is simple and is exactly the same format as seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4. It features a spliced shot of Lucy from one of her memorable scenes (Harpo Marx for the main menu, or the chocolate factory on the bonus features menu) on a red background that has screenshots from various episodes of the series. The main menu has a list of the episodes that take you to scene selections and the theme plays. It doesn't loop. It has the popular "Play All" feature as well as "Setup". The bonus menu is the same design as the main menu and lists all the bonuses for that disc. The "Setup" menu allows you to choose if you want Spanish subtitles or a Spanish language track.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video is very good, but the audio still needs work (this has been an issue on nearly all the releases of classic television shows). The picture is crystal clear but the audio is still very, very low, which is common for releases of older series. The audio is presented in Dolby Surround Sound. Each episode runs about 26 minutes (or more), which means you get almost four-five minutes of extra footage you can't see in syndication. The episode, #130 "Lucy and The Dummy" has been edited from its original network version (a first for the "I Love Lucy" sets). The only notice of this is on the back of the main box. On the disc itself, there was no reason given and it runs about 23 minutes, so I can't be sure why it's considered "edited," unless it refers to added footage (see Special Features Disc 1 below)? It's possible. UPDATE: Explanation by Gregg Oppenheimer


Special Features:

Special Features on all of the four discs, which are explained in more detail further down, include "Special Footage." Guest Cast Information is the list of the special guests that are featured on the episodes on that disc. "Original Opening" is the original animated opening that was originally aired along with the episodes on each disc. Now on to the special features--hang on folks, this is a long read once again!

DISC ONE
Special Footage -
Restored Opening - In the late 1950s, CBS edited the show for syndication and replaced the cartoon, voice-over, music, and applause that would usually open the first scene of each episode. It's restored on each episode on this set.

Restored Ending - Same as the opening, basically, CBS replaced the cartoon and also the music. They've fixed this here and it's the way it originally was.
Restored Voice-Over - Many voiceovers from the closing credits were removed, they're added back in on this DVD release.

Lost "Dummy" Scene - In the original broadcast of "Lucy and the Dummy," the studio emcee introduced a movie preview before the dance number, and there was an additional segment in the dressing room. Using a rare 16mm print, they've restored these elements to the episode for the first time since 1955.

Restored Transition - CBS' syndication edits also eliminated the animation going into the middle commercial break and sometimes edited the music cues. For this release, they've restored these elements to their original form.

Lost "Train" Scene - "The Great Train Robbery" originally included an additional scene in which Fred and Ethel go into the dining car. Using a rare 16mm print, they've restored this scene to the episode for the first time since its original network broadcast on October 31, 1955.

Flubs -
Outta My Way - Lucille Ball always hit her mark on the first take. Other actors blocked her path at their peril. In this scene from "Lucy and John Wayne" watch what she does to husband Desi when he inadvertently gets in her way.

Lucy's Radio Show -
"Liz's Inferiority Complex" - This unedited recording (including outtakes and retakes) was taped January 26, 1951, for CBS radio's February 3, 1951 broadcast. It inspired the I LOVE LUCY second season episode "The Inferiority Complex".

DISC TWO
Special Footage -
Restored Transition - In the late 1950s, when CBS edited I LOVE LUCY for syndication, it replaced the animation going into the middle commercial break and often edited the music. For this release, they've restored these elements to their original form. Lost "Palladium" Scene - On December 26, 1955, CBS aired a rerun of "Lucy's Club Dance," featuring this new opening "flashback" scene in which Ricky announces that his band has been booked to play the London Palladium. This scene, lost for decades, was recovered recently from a rare 16mm print.

Lost "Bon Voyage" Scene - "Bon Voyage" originally had an additional "tag scene" designed to promote Desi's new recording of "Forever Darling" (and Lucy and Desi's upcoming MGM movie of the same name). Using a rare 16mm print, they've restored this scene to the episode for the first time since 1956.

Flubs -
"How Much It'll Be?" - One reason that I Love Lucy remains so fresh is that you're seeing a truly "live" performance, filmed straight through, like a play. Retakes were frowned upon, even when an actor flubbed a line, as in this scene from "Ricky's European Booking" in which Lucy tries, twice, to say, "How much will we need?"
"Get The Phone!" - In this scene from "The Passports," Desi is supposed to ask about the trunk as he reaches over to answer the phone, but he's so busy laughing at Bill Frawley's line that he forgets where he is! Lucy's ad-libbed reminder snaps Desi out of it, but then he asks about the trunk after he answers the phone.
"I Get a Kick Out Of You" - in the final scene of "Bon Voyage" watch carefully as Desi grabs Lucy and is pulled up into the air with her. He inadvertently kicks Vivian Vance in the face! Luckily, Vivian's quick reaction allows her to escape uninjured.

Lucy's Radio Show -
"The Passports" - This episode, featuring guest stars Sarah Selby and Jerry Hausner, was originally broadcast over the CBS Radio network on March 3, 1951. It inspired the I Love Lucy episode of the same name.

DISC THREE -
Special Footage -
Lost "Tag" Scene - On April 7, 1955, after wrapping "Ricky Needs an Agent" Lucy and Desi filmed a "tag scene" bidding viewers farewell till the fall. CBS aired the scene on June 27, 1955, at the end of the last show of the season - a rerun of "The Handcuffs". This long-lost scene is shown here for the first time since 1955.

Heart Fund Spot - At the end of the original network broadcast of "Paris at Last" on February 27, 1956, Lucy and Desi made this appeal to viewers to support their local Heart Association.

"Forever Darling" Promo - On February 6, 1956, at the end of the original network broadcast of "The Fox Hunt" Lucy and Desi took the opportunity to plug their new film, "Forever Darling" which was set to premiere the next day. This extra scene made the show run so long that there was no time left to run the regular closing credits!

Flubs -
"A Bag of Two Cities" - In "Lucy Meets Charles Boyer" Ethel proudly shows off the stylish new bag she bought for herself on The Champs Elysees in Paris. If the bag looks familiar, it should. Three months earlier, in New York, it belonged to Lucy Ricardo, who took it with her to Helen Kaiser's apartment in "The Passports."

Lucy's Radio Show -
"The Misunderstanding of the Black Eye" - This episode with Bobby Jellison - "I Love Lucy's" "Bobby, the Bellboy," was original broadcast over the CBS Radio Network on February 10, 1951. It inspired the second season I Love Lucy episode "The Black Eye."

Behind The Scenes -
A book excerpt from "Laughs, Luck ... And Lucy" by Jess Oppenheimer, the Series Producer and Head Writer.

DISC FOUR -
Special Footage -
Restored Voiceover - Syndication editing in the late 1950s removed many of the voice-overs originally heard during I Love Lucy's closing credits. For this special DVD edition, they've restored most of these original voice-overs, including a plug at the end of "Lucy Gets Homesick In Italy" for Lucy and Desi's spread in Look Magazine.

Restored Opening - Syndication editing also cut or altered the music, cartoon, voiceover, and applause that originally began the first scene of each episode, in some cases simply chopping off the opening notes of the music cue. For this release, they've restored each of these elements to their original form.

Flubs -
Read My Lips - In "Lucy's Italian Movie" actor Franco Corsaro learned the script so well that when the other actors yelled, "Has she ever considered acting?!!!" Corsaro simply couldn't resist mouthing the line right along with them!
"Desi with a Z?" - When CBS prepared Season Five "heart on satin" credits for syndication in the late 1950s, someone inadvertently spelled "Desi" with a "z" ("the Dezi Arnaz Orchestra"). The misspelling wasn't corrected until the recent remastering, and it can still be seen on many I Love Lucy broadcasts.

Lucy's Radio Show -
"Mrs. Cooper's Boyfriend" - This episode, featuring guest stars Hal March, Frank Nelson, Hans Conried, and Eleanor Audley (as George's mother), was broadcast on CBS Radio on February 10, 1950.


Final Comments:

In my final thoughts here, I really do have to commend Paramount for another awesome release. The last release was in May of 2005, and it's now August 2005, and the speeds of these releases are great. The bonus features really give great insight to what went on behind the scenes, as well as giving a great and thorough explanation on why an episode had a scene cut out, or why transitional scenes were replaced, etc. On top of that, the sets maintain virtually the same layout which makes it a really good collector’s item. It's familiar and easy. Paramount has done a spectacular job with these releases. It's sad to realize the next season will be my last review for this true gem of a series. A classic release for a truly timeless and classic series--here's to the next release!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by TVJunkie101 on 08/03/05

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009UC7OI/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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