DVD REVIEW: “Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection”

DVD REVIEW: "Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection"

The other shoe has dropped! 

Two years ago, TCM released the UPA Jolly Frolics Collection – 38 must-have Columbia theatrical cartoons from the 1950s including several Oscar winners like Gerald McBoing Boing.  Fans, collectors and historians have been chomping at the bit for the rest of the UPA theatricals – and here they are at last. Sony Pictures and Shout Factory have just released the long-awaited DVD collection, Mr. Magoo: The Theatrical Collection (1949-1959), a four-disc boxed set that completes the restoration of the UPA theatrical cartoon library. 

First the basics. This set collects 53 Mr. Magoo short cartoons (including two Oscar winners) and one theatrical animated feature (1001 Arabian Nights) originally released by Columbia Pictures from 1949 through 1959. For the first time on video, these cartoons were restored from the original negatives. Over a dozen of these were produced in wide screen CinemaScope and are presented here in letterbox format (or 16×9 2.35:1). 

Bonus features include:
Vintage documentary A Princess For Magoo: The Making Of 1001 Arabian Nights.

An interview with film critic and historian Leonard Maltin.
A Documentary on UPA & Mr. Magoo.
An Art and Photo Gallery.
14 audio commentaries by UPA animator Bob Longo, Emily Hubley, historians Adam Abraham, John Canemaker, John Culhane, Mark Evanier, Jerry Beck, Michael Schesinger and Tee Bosustow, son of UPA founder Steve Bosustow.
Second, the quailty. The picture image and sound quality of each short is superb, on par with the Jolly Frolics collection Sony released previously. Color quality varies – perhaps due to storage conditions of the original elements – but all-in-all these cartoons have never looked better. The cartoons from 1949 through 1953 (and 1959’s Terror Faces Magoo) are presented 4×3 full frame – from 1954 on, the cartoons are presented in 16×9 ratio for film originally in shot in Scope or in shown 1.85. 
The worst part of the set: the unimaginative package artwork. But don’t judge a book by its cover or a DVD by its box art – the contents here are incredible. I’m going to let the rest of this post do the talking with frame grabs and clips. The bottom line: Buy this set. 

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Comments

John Johnson

I was wondering why the very last Magoo theatrical, "Terror Faces Magoo", is in 4×3, when everything before it, from 1954 on, was in widescreen? Was it made with television in mind?

So glad this set is finally out!

Anthony D.

I have a question; Does Spellbound Hound have it's original pan out ending or was a re-release "Columbia Favorite" print used?

Chuck Fiala

These look fantastic! I can't wait to get my copy of this. There aren't too many cartoons funnier than these. The design work on these still looks better than almost any other theatrical from any period.

Tony McCarson

I'm ready to buy this!

Bryan Bortz

I wonder why we don't get BluRays first/only these days. These are from film sources. Is the cost of a 2k or 4k scan/restore that prohibitive?

JP

I pre-ordered this theatrical set, and I'm very excited it's shipping soon. It'll go well with the Jolly Frolics set and Magoo's Christmas Carol on my shelf.

Jerry — would you recommend the box set of the Magoo Television Collection (or any other Magoo features)?

Justin

I'll definitely get this!

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