‘Jack and the Beanstalk: 70th Anniversary Limited Edition’ Blu-ray Movie Review

Classic comedy duo Abbott and Costello’s first foray into color cinema in 1952 returns to home theaters with a 4K restoration of their musical comedy available in high-definition disc format.

In Jack and the Beanstalk: 70th Anniversary Limited Edition (Classic Flixunclassified, 1.37:1 aspect ratio78 mins, $49.99), Mr. Dinkle (Bud Abbott) and Jack (Lou Costello) take on a babysitting gig and get stuck with a brat (David Stollery). The brat ends up warming up to Jack, and the kid ends up reading him the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which magically takes viewers to a colorful, fairy-tale wonderland.

In this world, the city is terrorized by a giant (Buddy Baer). A young Jack (also Costello and not to be confused with the other Jack who tells the story) ends up fighting the extra large man to help save Princess Eloise (Shaye Cogan), a minstrel (James Alexander) and his mother’s hen. who lays golden eggs.

Of course, to get to the giant’s kingdom, Jack uses magic beans that were traded to him by the butcher, Mr. Dinklepuss (Abbott), for his family’s cow. Beans push a massive beanstalk into the clouds, and the pair set off on an exciting slapstick-filled mission.

Throughout, poor Costello gets beat up during the adventure which includes a dance with the housekeeper that the Three Stooges would enjoy; a battle with a stove; roasting on a rotisserie; and even an attack by a pack of dogs.

Although seven decades old, the simple cinematic fable still provides a classic evening of family entertainment and should amuse young children.

4K in action: The nearly immaculate restoration takes full advantage of a 4K scan of the original SuperCinecolor 35mm source material.

Viewers are first welcomed into the action with a sepia-toned opening that, after 12 minutes, transforms into an explosive color change saturated to the point of looking like a live-action cartoon. This sepia tone also returns at the end of the film, indicating another shift in reality, much like “The Wizard of Oz.”

The restoration still has some minor damage such as a line through the film at the start, some occasional dirt and color scenes that have too much grain.

However, given the age of the original, moments such as Eloise’s stunning blue eyes, a matte painting of the giant’s castle, the colorful fairytale costumes and the animated beanstalk are impressive in presentation. in the shape of a square.

Best extras: Small home video label Classic Flix plays with the big names like Criterion, Kino Lorber and MVD by offering an exhaustive collection of goodies to appreciate this production and the legacy of Abbott and Costello.

Start with Lou’s daughter, Chris Costello, who introduces the film with some candid family and on-set photos; then continue watching with an optional commentary track featuring self-proclaimed comedy duo expert Ron Columbo and some separate (previously recorded) comments from Mr. Stollery and Ms. Costello.

Mr. Columbo offers a nonstop “by the numbers” tour of the production, discussing cast and crew casts (mentioning their previous and future credits); sound stage locations, script-to-movie comparisons; optical effects; critical reactions; historical origins of “Jack and the Beanstalk”; and even referring to other featurettes on the disc for more information.

Although most of the time it looks like he’s reading from a script, the commentary is packed with facts. A few, for example, include Universal Studios not believing Abbott and Costello were worth a color film; Mel Blanc doing the voice of the animals in one of the songs; and, rumored, famed Universal monster makeup artist Jack Pierce did the visual designs for the giant’s spooky close-ups.

Viewers are then treated to a series of featurettes and vintage entertainment featuring Abbott and Costello.

First, watch a 13-minute SuperCinecolor story by film curator Jack Theakston of 3-D Film Archive. It offers incredible technical details about the movie and its treatment along with equal details about its rivals along with examples of movies that used the 1940s and 1950s formats. Viewers will be amazed at the information in the segment.

Then, take a 14-minute look at the film’s April 1952 promotional tour (from New Jersey to Detroit), including footage from the comics’ appearance on the “Colgate Comedy Hour”; photos from the world premiere at the Fabian Theater in Patterson, New Jersey; and news footage from various city tours including Boston and Washington, D.C.

Viewers will additionally find 18 minutes of the production and nine minutes of the music for “Jack and the Beanstalk,” including discussions of the composers, the five main songs, and the cast of singers.

The craziest part of the collection is 26 minutes of deleted footage from the film with a preview of the scenes recreated using footage found in black-and-white stills and dialogue spoken by Mr. Palumbo. It goes far enough.

Viewers also get a live TV appearance from the duo in 1954 on the “Colgate Comedy Hour” which finds the guys delivering a fun skit about visiting the Universal Studios real estate department and encountering classic monsters, including the monster of Frankenstein (Glen Strange). The climax is that Costello assaults the audience and the crew, and repeatedly makes Abbott laugh.

Equally amusing is a 1945 radio presentation of Abbott and Costello with the help of Rudy Vallée’s reading. Abbott and Costello vamp on “Jack and the Beanstalk” and perform their famous “Who’s On First?” sketch in 1940.

Complete the immersion with a 106-image production and publicity photo gallery and 41 minutes of trailers featuring Abbott and Costello that included “One Night in the Tropics”, “Keep ‘Em Flying” and “Pardon My Sarong”.

Dang, that’s a ton of extras, people, and a great collection of background for those in the know of movie history.