Blu-ray Review “Billy Rose’s Jumbo”

jumboStarring: Dean Jagger, Martha Raye, Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante
Director: Charles Walters
Distributed: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 124 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Jumbo” was a film that was troubled from the star. It took nearly a decade to get made and was a financial disappointment once it was finally released in 1962. The film is based on the 1935 Broadway play of the same name. In fact the film actually brings back Jimmy Durante, who was also the star of the play. This film also was Doris Day’s last screen musical. There is no shortage of talent here and the film is quite the production even for today’s standards. I remember seeing this film as a kid and it just stuck with me over the year and though I haven’t seen it since then I never forgot it. “Jumbo” is not perfect and feels a little bit aged but overall it is still quite enjoyable and worth checking out.

Official Premise: Jumbo is a mighty talented elephant. It’s also the ideal word to describe this big-time, big-top extravaganza bursting with laughter and love, sang and dance, circus stunts and star power. Radiant Doris Day sings beloved Rodgers and Hart tunes and does her own horseback riding tricks in a razzle-dazzle musical based on Billy Rose’s stage spectacular and featuring circus sequences directed by Busby Berkeley. The story revolves around a circus owner (Jimmy Durante) with only two real attractions: his daughter (Day) and popular pachyderm Jumbo. Three-ring pandemonium breaks out when a handsome rival (Stephen Boyd) infiltrates the circus, and father, daughter and Dad’s wise-cracking fiancé (Martha Raye) are suddenly at risk of losing the greatest show on earth!

Since the beginning of this year, Warner Archive has been breaking into the world of Blu-ray. This was not a title that I expect would need a Blu-ray but it still looks quite impressive on the disc. The 1080p transfer is presented with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The colors are aged a little but still solid. The DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 is awesome, period. It works very well with the musical numbers and the film’s dialogue. In terms of special features, there is some decent content included. There is a musical Short titled “Yours Sincerely”. There is a fun Tom and Jerry Cartoon, “Jerry and Jumbo”. The original overture has been rejoined to the film for the first time in over 50 years, so this will be a main draw for hardcore fans of the film. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

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