Release Date(s)1942 (June 19, 2018)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: D
Victor Mature, who was mainly known for playing tough guy roles in film noirs such as Cry of the City, I Wake Up Screaming, and Kiss of Death, was able to demonstrate some of his versatility as an actor in the biographical musical comedy My Gal Sal. In it, he plays Paul Dresser, a carnival entertainer and songwriter from 1890 whose rise to stardom is chronicled over the course of the film.
Things begin in Indiana, where Dresser leaves to pursue success in the bright lights and big city of New York. Along the way, he runs into Mae Collins (Carole Landis) at a medicine show, introducing him to the wonderful world of songwriting. Later he meets popular singer and entertainer Sally “Sal” Elliott (the legendary and iconic Rita Hayworth). Together they make beautiful music together, both professionally and personally. However, in the midst of success, there are some conflicts in their relationship, but done in a tongue-in-cheek way.
My Gal Sal is a very moving and highly entertaining picture. Fans of Rita Hayworth will not be disappointed with her performance, especially during her song and dance routines. The songs are fun, the acting is well done, and director Irving Cummings succeeds in capturing an atmospheric feel of the 1890s. Victor Mature also does a credible job as Dresser and pulls off his role well, despite the fact that he wasn’t the first choice for the part (both George Montgomery and Don Ameche were first considered for the role).
Twilight Time presents My Gal Sal on Blu-ray courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. Shown in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, the image, while not appearing pristine, is more than passable. Shot in three-strip Technicolor, the colors do look pretty strong. Blues, particularly shades of periwinkle, as well as reds and greens, all stand out with accurate flesh tones in tow. While the image quality is generally good, there are a few areas throughout the film that look less polished. This, most likely, has more to do with what Fox had to work with for the restoration. Yet despite the potential for some improvement, the viewing experience is a positive one. For the audio, an English 1.0 DTS-HD track has been used and it’s pretty modest. Dialogue, songs, and all other sounds seem rather soft, which forced me to adjust the volume to hear everything more clearly. English subtitles are also offered in this package with an abnormally large font, making them more than easy enough to read.
For the extras, an isolated score track presented in English 2.0 DTS-HD is available and it’s perfect all the way through. There’s also a scroll-through of the current Twilight Time catalogue and an 8-page insert booklet written by Julie Kirgo.
My Gal Sal is a pretty good, if not overwhelming, movie that should not be missed by any fans of Rita Hayworth. While it may not pack a strong punch like many other musicals or even other films with both her and Victor Mature, this is still a very enjoyable film with some humorous moments. Twilight Time has given the movie good treatment, even without much in the way of bonus materials. Recommended!
- David Steigman