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Cary Grant Collection: Wedding Present (1936) - Blu-ray Review

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Cary Grant Collection: Wedding Present

Sometimes the road to the altar - or in this case, the justice of the peace - is fraught with unexpected unexpected bumps along the way, like a fun media-frightened Archduke, saving a gangster from drowning, rescuing a missing cruise liner, and prank calling an insane asylum.

"a screwball comedy that is never short on laughs, nor is it short on memorable characters"


This is what happens to Cary Grant and Joan Bennet in Wedding Present and what a gift it is!  

Playing Chicago newspaper reporters, Charlie Mason (Grant) and 'Rusty' Fleming (Bennet), these two can’t take anything seriously.  Not even their romantic relationship.  So, when they do decide to tie the knot, Charlie is loaded with so many gifts and gaffs that he causes them to miss the 5pm deadline for a wedding license and the clerk - annoyed by his behavior - refuses to issue him one until 8 the next morning.

Rusty, equally annoyed that Charlie can’t take anything seriously, turns to a phone booth to cry in while Charlie makes their plans to interview the visiting Archduke Gustav Ernest (Gene Lockheart), their next assignment (which they are way late on turning in).  See?  They take nothing serious . . . not even their jobs.  And, as we are about to see, even their interview subjects - which they con and wind up befriending in a horse drawn carriage with a three-man brass band along for the ride - are not taken seriously.

Rusty, who wants Charlie to straighten up, is tired of her charade as a free-spirited woman.  She’s beginning to have second thoughts and, after they perform a miracle mid-flight and are mightily rewarded by the newspaper with a vacation and a promotion, she finds herself STILL waiting for the marriage license.Cary Grant Collection: Wedding Present

But is Charlie becoming the Editor of the newspaper in Chicago the right move?  He has so many lessons to left to learn . . . and Rusty is bound and determined, with her new beau (Conrad Nagel) in tow, is bound and determined to teach them all to him. 

Directed by Richard Wallace and made complete by an over-the-top ending which features the most layered prank call in the history of movie matrimony, Wedding Present - note the play on the term - is a screwball comedy that is never short on laughs, nor is it short on memorable characters who - with names like Smiles Benson (William Demarest) and Squinty (Edward Brophy) - definitely do not disappoint when it comes to their continued help and their shenanigans when it comes to getting these two lovebirds to tie the knot.  

Offered from Kino Lorber, the Cary Grant Collection also includes Big Brown Eyes and Ladies Should Listen.  It should come as no surprise that quirky romantic comedies like these simply aren’t made anymore and that’s a shame, but hopefully Kino Lorber will continue to roll out these sets.

5/5 stars

 

Cary Grant Collection: Wedding Present

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- September 8, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; three-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Screen legends Cary Grant (North by Northwest) and Joan Bennett (Big Brown Eyes) star in the fast-paced screwball comedy Wedding Present. Chicago newspaper reporters Charlie Mason (Grant) and Rusty Fleming (Bennett) never let a good story get in the way of a prank. Things change, however, when their editor (George Bancroft, Old Ironsides) quits and Charlie takes over for him. Returning from a month’s vacation, Rusty discovers fun-loving Charlie has become an unbearable tyrant. Disgusted by his behavior, Rusty leaves for New York where her hasty engagement to a stuffy author (Conrad Nagel, Hell Divers) brings Charlie to his senses as he pulls out the stops to change her mind. Character-actor greats Gene Lockhart (Miracle on 34th Street) and William Demarest (The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek) co-star in this wonderful romantic comedy directed by Richard Wallace (Man of the World). Alongside Ladies Should Listen and Big Brown Eyes, Wedding Present is a laugh-a-minute farce. 

Video:

With a crisp black-and-white transfer, Wedding Present  lands on blu-ray thanks to the crackling efforts of Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  Shadows, while not too terribly detailed, are thick and atmospheric throughout. Black levels - of which there are a lot thanks to all the tuxedos and suits - are powerful and thick.  Presented with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, the film looks marvelous and easily beats the poor appearance on television and on home video DVD that has previously dogged it thanks to its 1080p handling.  The black-and-white photography here sizzles. The blacks and grays are handled expertly by the transfer.  

Audio:

You’ll be laughing over the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which accompanies this film.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a NEW commentary from Film Historian Kat Ellinger.

Special Features:

Outside of the commentary, the only other supplemental item is a trailer for the film.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

Cary Grant Collection: Ladies Should Listen (1934)

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