Tabloid queen of yesteryear and amongst the few still-kicking survivors of Hollywood's Golden Age, Zsa Zsa Gabor seems like an interesting enough personality to build a DVD tribute around. Despite memorable bits in colorful outings like Moulin Rouge and Lili, her acting career never amounted to much beyond small parts that played off her millionaire husband-hunting persona and uniquely accented voice. With Dahling: A Tribute to Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hollywood Select Video attempts to convey the Hungarian bombshell's appeal with a grab-bag of stuff she appeared in over the years.
As a kid, I always confused Zsa Zsa with her sister, Eva. Eva was the sensible, hard working Gabor who starred in Green Acres and voiced Bianca in the animated Rescuers films (not to mention the wig company that bore her name); Zsa Zsa was the Gabor who was frequently found plopped on Johnny Carson's couch, offering bon mots such as "As a woman, you have to choose between your fanny or your face. I chose my face." Sure, it was silly, but she always had a sharp sense of humor and had a canny way with enhancing her own ridiculousness. "Zsa Zsa" was a role in itself, and the woman played it to the hilt.
As Zsa Zsa became more renowned for her multiple spouses and taste for the finer things in life, what little acting assignments she did wound up being variants on her own public persona. This did nothing for her versatility as an actress, but she did that one thing well enough to keep her a familiar presence on TV in the '60s and '70s. Who could forget her as Erika Tiffany Smith, the socialite who crashed the island in a 1965 Gilligan's Island episode? (Okay, I completely forgot about that one before noticing it in her Internet Movie Database credits.)
The main point here is that there are quite enough notable Zsa Zsa vehicles, especially from her later TV-personality era, to fill a DVD in a manner classy enough to meet the lady's approval. Let's take a closer look at what we have on Dahling, dahlings:
Mooch Goes To Hollywood (1971; 45 minutes)
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie (1984; 100 minutes)
The Honest Man (1956; 30 minutes)
Dahling: A Tribute to Zsa Zsa Gabor's packaging lists another '50s TV appearance, an episode of The Milton Berle Show, among this disc's offerings. That isn't included, however. Original theatrical trailers for Zsa Zsa outings Moulin Rouge (1952), Queen of Outer Space (1958), The Naked Truth (1993) and We're Not Married! (1952) round out contents of this underwhelming tribute.
Spotty, mostly bad transfers on this full-frame disc. Mooch Goes To Hollywood sports a decent picture with a few flaws and scratches; Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie's de-saturated and somewhat blurry picture make it hard to watch. The Honest Man seems to be taken off a kinescope that somebody forgot to sharpen the focus on. All selections have the ever-present "Hollywood Select Video" bug in the corner.
It's all mono, and all strictly okay except for the muddy-sounding G.E. Theater episode.
Unless you count the four trailers, there are no extras.
As far as tributes go, Dahling: A Tribute to Zsa Zsa Gabor is like asking for diamonds and getting a cubic zirconia. The contents of this slim package appear to be whatever public domain stuff the folks at Hollywood Select Video could cobble together. Fans would be better advised to seek out her better talk show moments on YouTube. Skip It.