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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, November 25

The Goldbergs - "Eracism" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Adam sets out to create a movie that will tackle racism but realizes he is out of his depth on the subject due to his sheltered upbringing. Meanwhile, Geoff is determined to teach Erica and Barry to become better people.

American Housewife - "Homeschool Sweet Homeschool" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With Anna-Kat and Franklin (Evan O’Toole) home with mono, Katie seizes the opportunity to use them as the backdrop for her mommy vlog. And when Taylor’s first college paper comes back with an A, Greg questions her TA’s intentions. Meanwhile, Cooper (Logan Pepper) helps Oliver renovate the basement.

The Conners - "Friends in High Places and Horse Surgery" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Darlene begins to develop a friendship with a manager at Wellman Plastics, which lands her in an awkward situation between the boss and her sister, Becky. Meanwhile, Louise’s brother, Neville, tries to win over Jackie by making a thoughtful gesture, creating uncomfortable tension.

black-ish - "Babes in Boyland" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre and Bow find out that Diane has a secret social media account and realize that she’s not their little girl anymore. After reprimanding her but allowing Jack more flexibility, Diane calls them out for the double standard in how they are parenting. Meanwhile, Junior and Ruby come clean to their respective romantic partners about white lies they’ve told since the beginning of their relationships.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Out of Character" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
House of Payne is the hilarious comedy about Retired fire chief Curtis Payne and his lovely wife Ella. Together the loving couple navigate the problems of life with their quirky modern day family.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Add More Color" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Mr. Brown gives Sandra advice on how to get what she wants and her outfit for school.

Family Time - "Thanks for the Ticket" (Bounce TV, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Thanksgiving is approaching, and family members come bearing more than just luggage.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 23)

Wednesday, November 25

  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Watch Melissa on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. She will also be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • The original cast of Saved by the Bell - The original cast of Saved by the Bell are guests on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Haskiri Velazquez talk about Peacock's Saved by the Bell in the 9am hour.
  • Rob Corddry - Rob will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Chris Rock (Everybody Hates Chris) - Chris appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Kal will be on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Tisha Campbell (Outmatched/Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Ben Falcone (Nobodies/Joey) - Ben appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jean Smart (Samantha Who?/Center of the Universe/In-Laws/High Society/Designing Women) - Jean will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out) - Jill co-pilots a special Thanksgiving-themed Drew's News on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace talks about Hallmark Channel's If I Only Had Christmas on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT and on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • John O'Hurley (Seinfeld/The Mullets) - John talks about NBC's The National Dog Show on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour.
  • Judy Greer (Kidding/Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided/Love & Money) - Judy talks about Uncle Frank on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Goldie Hawn (Good Morning World) - Goldie and Kurt talk about Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles 2 on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - NBC's Today has Thanks + Giving with Marlo in the 9am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August/September/October/November)

Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

11/24 - Catch Last Season's Holiday Sitcom The Moodys Before Season 2; Tiffani Thiessen Hosting Deliciousness, Spin-off of Ridiculousness
11/23 - ABC Announces Midseason 2021 Scripted Premieres; NBC Announces January and February 2021 Schedule
11/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 23, 2020)
11/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Sets Premiere Date for Mr. Mayor; New Version of Name That Tune in the Works at Fox
11/20 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Fresh Prince Reunion on HBO Max; Nick at Nite Renews Friends in Multi-Year Deal
11/19 - PBS to Air A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas; Cybill Shepherd Gets Showtime Comedy Pilot
11/18 - Hulu Orders Second Season of Woke; HBO Max Gets Conan Variety Series, While Conan Ends on TBS in June 2021
11/17 - COZI TV Thanksgiving and Christmas Marathons; Stream 65 Full Episodes of The Carol Burnett Show Unedited
11/16 - Antenna TV Holiday 2020 Stunts and Marathons; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Premieres This Thursday!
11/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 16, 2020)
11/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Preview Released; Peacock Launches Saved by the Bell Channel
11/13 - Fri-Yay: Any Hope Left for Broadcast Sitcom Ratings?; BET Presents CBS Monday Series Tonight; BUZZR Remembers Alex Trebek Tomorrow
11/12 - CBS Orders New Chuck Lorre Comedy to Series; MeTV and Game Show Network to Remember Alex Trebek
11/11 - Fox Announces Winter Premiere Dates for New and Returning Series; ABC Announces Early 2021 Unscripted Premiere Dates
11/10 - ABC Orders Celebrity Wheel of Fortune; Turner Networks Celebrate Thanksgiving to the HBO Max
11/09 - Remembering Alex Trebek; Decades Changes Schedule in December with The Odd Couple and The Love Boat Added
11/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 9, 2020)
11/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jeopardy GOATS to Return in New Version of The Chase; Holly Robinson Peete Joins American Housewife Cast
11/06 - Fri-Yay: Superstore Tackles the Pandemic in a Smart, Funny Way; Family Ties Cast to Reunite
11/05 - Dave Chappelle Returns to SNL for Post Election Episode; Remembering Writer Jeremy Stevens of Everybody Loves Raymond
11/04 - Showtime's Moonbase 8 Gets Early Release Online; Lark Voorhies to Appear on Peacock's Saved by the Bell
11/03 - NBC Pulls Connecting... From Lineup; Fox Says The Great North to Air in February
11/02 - Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas Schedule for 2020; HBO Max Licenses Comedy Central Library in Streaming Deal
11/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 2, 2020)
10/31 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fox to Remake British Comedy; Judy Justice Headed to IMDb TV
10/30 - Fri-Yay: The Best Sitcom Halloween Episodes; CBS All Access Renews No Activity for 4th Season
10/29 - Even More Ted Lasso on Way at Apple TV+; Craig Robinson to Host The Masked Dancer on Fox
10/28 - COZI TV Halloween Marathons of The Munsters & Roseanne; Apple TV+ Orders Another Comedy, This Time with Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen
10/27 - Freeform's The Clock Is Ticking Special with Yara Shahidi; Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Ends on New Year's Eve
10/26 - TBS Orders 3rd Season of Miracle Workers; SNL Extended to 6 New Episodes in a Row - A Record!
10/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 26, 2020)
10/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Another Addams Family Reboot in the Works?; Quibi Says Goodbye After Six Months