Whether you enjoy the movie or not, the release of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950) is something to get excited about. Not shown on television since 1973 and never before available on any home video format, this DVD release allows many fans to see the film for the first time.
A perfectly-cast Betty Hutton (replacing the first choice, Judy Garland) plays a fictionalized version of Annie Oakley (1860-1926), a homely sharpshooter who joins Buffalo Bill's famous Wild West Show, competing against champion marksman Frank Butler (Howard Keel). Annie longs to win Butler's heart, but her ability to outshoot him keeps driving him away. Through song and some impressive choreography, Annie tries her best to see if she can "get a man with a gun." The production includes many Irving Berlin classics, such as "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly," "I Got the Sun in the Morning," "Anything You Can Do," and, of course, "There's No Business Like Show Business."
All-in-all, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is a very entertaining musical. Fans of the 1999 Broadway revival (with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat) may be disappointed at the "1950s" feel to this version -- it is less naturally acted and contains several politically-incorrect sequences (including a questionable portrayal of American Indians) not found in the recent show. However, the music, performances, and energy are fantastic. The excellent cast and wonderful score make this a classic, if dated, musical.
This is very good transfer from Warner -- crisp and sharp. Grain is evident in a few scenes but is not problematic. Colors are vivid and beautiful, with no noticeable bleeding. Warner has presented the film in the original fullscreen ratio (1.33:1).
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is adequate, but lacks much punch. Aside from a complete remixing of the sound, there is probably little that can be done for the track. A French audio track (with songs in English) is also available.
The DVD includes some great supplemental material. First, there's a brief introduction by Susan Lucci (who has recently appeared in the Broadway revival). There are also 4 musical outtakes -- one that was removed from the final film for pacing reasons and three that were shot with Judy Garland and Frank Morgan before the film was recast. (With her drug and alcohol problems at the time, Garland was clearly just "going through the motions" and was replaced.) Additionally, there are some audio-only recording sessions of several songs included. The original theatrical trailer and usual biographical information is also provided. Subtitles are available in English and French.
Fans of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN could not ask for a better video debut. Warner has done a wonderful job in releasing this film in an impressive DVD with great picture quality and priceless extras. If you enjoy movie musicals, I can highly recommend this entertaining rarity.