Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we take a look at MPI Home Video's Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie. Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie . See skees53's Blog DVD Review of Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie:

Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie (MPI, $19.98) gives fans of one of the most well-known couples in all of TV history a view of what things were like off-camera. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the stars of the classic TV series I Love Lucy, were married in 1940 and in their twenty years of marriage, they managed to build a TV legacy in a way that few (if any) others could successfully do.
Although the phrase "a home movie" appears in the title, it is a bit misleading. There are many clips from home movies from the private collection of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, although a lot of the documentary is interviews with family, friends, producers, and others that knew the couple most of all. There are also a few interspersed clips of interviews with Lucy and Desi from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The documentary starts nearly a century ago, with the childhood of Lucy and Desi. We find out here that both of them came from families that had certain difficulties. We hear quite a bit about Lucy's childhood, but not quite so much about Desi's.
The documentary quickly segues into the married life of Lucy and Desi, where we find out a lot about the movie careers that Lucy and Desi had in the 1940s, basically all of which were through the film studio RKO. And then, we get to the divorce--the first one in 1944, which never actually happened. Lucy decided that she wanted to divorce Desi because he was allegedly cheating on her (although Lucie Arnaz says that he always told her that he wasn't fooling around with other women in the way that other people though). The divorce never came to be, which opened the door to the big thing that was coming in a few years, a little TV series called I Love Lucy.
The year was 1951. Lucy and Desi had their first child, a daughter named Lucie Arnaz (one of the producers of this very documentary) and just a few months later, production of the series I Love Lucy began. But production costs for the series were a little expensive, and neither CBS nor Philip Morris were able to fully fund the series, so Desi Arnaz had an enterprising idea--he and Lucy would help to fund the series provided that he could have the film rights to the series. And so began the well-know TV studio of the 1950s and 1960s, Desilu. Not all went will for them in the 1950s, however. It was discovered that Lucy's hair was not the only red thing about her, and that she was also registered as a Communist in New York. It had the potential to destroy her entire career (as it had done to many other celebrities at the time), but luckily she came away mostly unscathed. As the 50s progress, we see the marriage of Lucy and Desi beginning to go into a slow decline, mostly due to Desi's use of drugs and alcohol, and the documentary takes us all the way to the 1960s, where Lucy takes control of Desilu away from Desi and the divorce proceedings begin. The documentary ends with a brief look into their lives after the divorce, and ends with a home movie from the 80s with Lucy and Desi in a swimming pool with their grandchild, with Desi singing (what else?) Babalu.
The DVD has very basic packaging (as it is only one disc) and very basic menus. They are simple, but functional for what it is worth. There is an option on the menus to turn on English subtitles for those that require them. The video and audio quality of the DVD and the special features is generally pretty impressive, except perhaps for the quality of the game show episodes from the 1950s. Of course, considering that these were never intended to be preserved in the first place, there isn't much to truly complain about with this.
The DVD is not without bonus features, either. We also have more interviews (31:07) on the disc from Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. (in addition to the interviews featured in the documentary) that reflect upon the lives of their parents in a more candid perspective. There are even outtakes (20:32) from the interviews featured in the documentary! One of my favorite special features happens to be the original commercials (12:50) that are included that came from episodes of The Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz Show (better known these days as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour). Basically, these are extended commercials for Westinghouse that feature the characters from the series in their roles. I love how these older series integrated the characters into the commercials! These are very fun to watch.
The next two special features are sure to please game show fans. The first is a segment from the game show What's My Line? (9:15) where the celebrity panelists are blindfolded and have to guess the mystery celebrity on stage--which happens to be Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz! Additionally, we have an entire episode of the game show I've Got a Secret (23:48) with a special celebrity panelist for the episode, Lucille Ball. Finally, we have a Photo Gallery which features many photos from the private collection of Lucy and Desi, and we have a promo from MPI (2:03) for an upcoming DVD release (in season form) which many fans may have already heard of: the TV series Here's Lucy!
All in all, it isn't a bad documentary, although it does seem to be drag on a bit too slowly at times. I personally would have found it to be more interesting if it had a greater focus on the TV careers of Lucy and Desi. It seems to focus more upon their film careers and family life. Of course, the most dedicated fans of Lucille Ball are certain to love this, but to the casual fan, a lot of it may seem to be extraneous information. I kind of expected to find more information about the more negative aspects of their lives in the documentary, but it seemed that they skimped on some of the details of these events. That isn't to say that they completely ignore them, though. Fans of the work of Lucy, as well as anybody that is interested in television's golden era will definitely appreciate this DVD.
Reviewed by skees53
(4.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
I Love Lucy TV.com Page
Here's Lucy TV.com Page

Labels: , , ,

Follow our updates on Twitter / Share this post anywhere / Become a fan on Facebook

Monday, May 07, 2007

SitcomsOnline.com 2007-08 Upfront Preview: NBC; TV Land June Change

For NBC it will be all about starting the night off with a reality/game show to set up the dramas. NBC's Thursday comedy block is not what it used to be, but it has a cult audience and maybe another one of those shows will be launched this fall. NBC is looking for a drama hit as some of the older series are running out of gas.
Here is the SitcomsOnline.com NBC 2007-08 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: None.
New Series We Think That Are Almost Good To Go: Lipstick Jungle (drama), Journeyman (drama), Fort Pit (drama), and The I.T. Crowd (sitcom).
New Series Perhaps Picked-Up for Mid-Season: The Mastersons of Manhattan (sitcom), Life (drama), and Bionic Woman (drama)

OUR FALL 2007 PREDICTION:

Sundays
7:00PM Football Night in America
8:00PM Sunday Night Football

Mondays
8:00PM Deal or No Deal
9:00PM Heroes
10:00PM Journeyman (NEW)

Tuesdays
8:00PM 1 vs. 100
9:00PM Fort Pit (NEW)
10:00PM Law & Order: SVU

Wednesdays
8:00PM Thank God You're Here
9:00PM Medium
10:00PM Lipstick Jungle (NEW)

Thursdays
8:00PM My Name is Earl
8:30PM The I.T. Crowd (NEW)
9:00PM The Office
9:30PM 30 Rock
10:00PM ER

Fridays
8:00PM Deal or No Deal
9:00PM Friday Night Lights
10:00PM Las Vegas

Saturdays
8:00PM Dateline NBC
9:00PM Drama Repeats
10:00PM Drama Repeats

Comments: So what about Crossing Jordan, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order? I say they will be benched until January after the NFL ends and they will bring them to Sundays for a repeat free season...but maybe one will be a goner. The Apprentice might not be back until next winter either...I wish that would just die already. The Black Donnellys, Studio 60, Kidnapped, Identity, Raines, 20 Good Years, Andy Barker, and Real Wedding Crashers are all (or will be) canceled or ended. I really think NBC will only go with one comedy night once again, as we saw what happened to Wednesdays 8-9pm last year. Scrubs is probably gone from NBC, and on the way to ABC for next winter. There is a good chance that The Office will be an anchor show on Thursdays at 9, but I don't think it will do as well as it did at 8:30, but they have to move it to 9pm to try and launch another similar sitcom, as 30 Rock is not a strong show to anchor an hour. So NBC will be multi-camera sitcom-less in the fall, but I have them picking up The Mastersons of Manhattan for mid-season. Life and Bionic Woman could get orders for mid-season. Maybe another drama called Chuck could get in. NBC only has a total of eight drama projects, so that means maybe 1/2 or more could get picked up. NBC had a dismal season once again, but Heroes was a bright spot, as the high power project Studio 60 was a bust. Friday Night Lights was not a good either, but I see them bringing it back to try again. They can use Deal or No Deal on Fridays again as Sundays will be Football, and have 1 vs. 100 on another night, say Tuesday. Will NBC revamp the schedule they released at upfront once again after releasing it, like it did last year? We shall see.

Remember, next Monday (May 14) is the actual date when we will find out NBC's plans for the 2007-08 season. So, come on back next Monday and we will let you know the details and you can see how much we were right (or wrong). Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on ABC's upfront.

TV Land has announced that it has changed its late night schedule starting for June. Starting June 4, each weeknight starting at 10pm will have three nightly mini-marathons lasting until 4:30am. Each marathon will consist of four episodes. Mondays will be The Cosby Show, Three's Company & Good Times; Tuesdays will be M*A*S*H, Sanford & Son, & The Jeffersons; Wednesdays will be Sanford & Son, M*A*S*H, & All in the Family; Thursdays will be The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy & Leave it to Beaver; and Fridays will be the Friday Movie, M*A*S*H & Star Trek. Other changes include all Andy Griffith Saturday from 9pm-1:10am with a reairing on Sundays from 7-10pm. So, this means the current 10pm-4:30am line-up will only be on Sundays. The only other change is at 4:30am everynight with The Jeffersons taking over for Sanford & Son. There are no other changes in the daytime and will remain the same as it is now.
What's Happening Now!!, which is airing weekdays at 7am, will get more new episodes starting May 29, but we will let you know when we learn more.
For now click HERE for the list of changes for this nightly marathon changes.

We shall be back with more news, if any.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Follow our updates on Twitter / Share this post anywhere / Become a fan on Facebook

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chicago's ME-TV Spring Line-Up; TV Land Awards Date Change

ME-TV in Chicago changes its schedule every season. Spring has now sprung and they will change their line-up a bit on Monday. Usually a whole lot changes but this season it isn't as much. This season will be called "Spring into Me." '80s Hawaiian drama Magnum, P.I. joins the line-up every afternoon at 1 p.m., but before it does, ME-TV will have a Hawaii marathon on Sunday featuring Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum, P.I. Also coming to the spring line-up on Monday are the returns of dramas Cagney & Lacey, Charlie's Angels and Eight is Enough to weekdays. Sitcoms Family Ties, Who's the Boss?, Diff'rent Strokes, and The Facts of Life will be off of weekdays, but they will move to Sundays. Webster and Gimme a Break! will remain on the weekday line-up.
Not many changes on Saturdays but the prime-time line-up will now be western themed. Sundays has a sitcom line-up from 1 to 7 p.m. featuring Leave it to Beaver, Dennis the Menace, My Three Sons, Father Knows Best, Partridge Family, Brady Bunch, Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life, Eight is Enough, Family Ties, Who's the Boss.
For the full line-up, click HERE.

TV Land has announced that they have changed the date of the TV Land Awards from Wednesday, April 25 to Sunday, April 22. No reason was given, but usually award shows are on Sundays, so maybe that is why they changed the day. This will be the network's fifth award show. This year it will be hosted by Kelly Ripa. More info will come soon on the awards but among the honorees will include a tribute to Lucille Ball and the cast of The Brady Bunch. My guess is Legend Award for Lucy and Pop Culure Award for the Bradys.
Also, don't forget to come back tomorrow afternoon or so for the TV Land Upfront news! Hopefully we have some acquisitions to announce and not just original series news!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Follow our updates on Twitter / Share this post anywhere / Become a fan on Facebook