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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: January 9th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1952

Has Anybody Seen My Gal

Overview -

A delightful trip back to the 1920s, Has Anybody Seen My Gal combines lively comedy with period tunes and features an array of winning performances. Piper Laurie, Rock Hudson, and Charles Coburn lead the stellar cast (that includes a then-unknown James Dean in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit) in this vivacious romp about a curmudgeonly millionaire who visits the family of a lost love to see if they're worthy of inheriting his riches. A brand new HD master, solid audio, and a couple of engaging supplements add to the appeal of this Technicolor treat. Recommended.

Rock Hudson, Piper Laurie, Charles Coburn and Gigi Perreau star in Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, the charming musical comedy about second chances from legendary director Douglas Sirk (All That Heaven Allows, There’s Always Tomorrow, The Tarnished Angels). The year is 1928. When elderly millionaire Samuel Fulton (Coburn) reflects on his life and the love that got away, he decides to bequeath his fortune to his late beloved’s existing family—if they’re worthy, of course. Disguising himself as a poor lodger, he takes up residence with the middle-class Blaisdells to see how they react to receiving a small portion of the funds. Money soon leads to mayhem, but even Samuel finds redemption in their foolish choices in this endearing comic romp. The toe-tapping tunes of the Twenties include “Tiger Rag,” “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along,” “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More,” and “Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?” And featuring an uncredited James Dean as a soda fountain patron. It's the cat's meow—in Technicolor!

Product Extras :
  • Brand New HD Master – From a 2K Scan of the 35mm Interpositive
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Actress Piper Laurie, Moderated by Film Critic/Historian Lee Gambin
  • FUN ON THE LOT (2008): Piper Laurie and Gigi Perreau Remember HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL
  • Theatrical Trailer (Newly Mastered in 2K)
  • Optional English Subtitles

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Brand New HD Master – From a 2K Scan of the 35mm Interpositive
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Length:
89
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.37:1
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Subtitles/Captions:
English
Special Features:
Theatrical Trailer
Release Date:
January 9th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

The names Piper Laurie, Rock Hudson, and Charles Coburn are certainly not synonymous with musicals, and despite its tuneful title and smattering of 1920s songs, Has Anybody Seen My Gal really can't be classified as one. Director Douglas Sirk's delightful film is more of a straightforward comedy that deftly blends music and nostalgia into its frothy, amusing story. Lush Technicolor and solid performances enhance this little-known, yet highly entertaining romp.

Hypochondriac millionaire Samuel Fulton (Coburn), who never married, believes he doesn't have long to live. A shrewd businessman who focused his attention on making money after the woman he loved in his youth shunned his affection, Samuel wants to bequeath his estate to the woman's family, but first wants to make sure her descendants are worthy of receiving the substantial windfall. So the clever, crusty curmudgeon adopts an alias (John Smith), descends upon their modest Vermont household, and boards in their spare bedroom. After a rocky start, Samuel charms Charles and Harriet Blaisdell (Larry Gates and Lynn Bari), their two daughters, Millicent (Laurie) and Roberta (Gigi Perreau), and son Howard (William Reynolds). He even gets a job at Charles' drugstore as a soda jerk alongside Millicent's boyfriend Dan Stebbins (Hudson).

Time passes and Samuel arranges to anonymously gift the family $100,000 to see how they react. The short answer is not well. The social-climbing Harriet moves the clan to a swanky home and pushes Millicent into a relationship with a stuck-up rich boy, much to the chagrin of working-class Dan. Mishaps ensue, leaving Samuel to pick up the pieces and wonder if his generosity is driving the family he has come to love to ruin.

The money-doesn't-buy-happiness theme may not be new, but the script by Joseph Hoffman zips along at a brisk clip and contains plenty of jovial lines and engaging situations. Much like Meet Me in St. Louis, but without as much style, the movie celebrates the warmth and foibles of family in a period setting. The 1920s flavor permeates the proceedings, thanks to the songs, costumes, and a notable speakeasy scene, and the chemistry of the cast helps smooth out any narrative hiccups.

Laurie and Hudson may receive top billing, but Has Anybody Seen My Gal is Coburn's show all the way. The inimitable 75-year-old actor kicks up his heels - figuratively and literally - as the sassy Samuel, who softens considerably in the bosom of the Blaisdell family. Coburn's energy and cantankerous demeanor fuel the film and his rapport with Perreau, one of Hollywood's better child actresses, reminds us of Edmund Gwenn's relationship with a pint-sized Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street.

Laurie is breathtakingly beautiful as Millicent, and though she was just 20 years old at the time of filming, she seems like a seasoned professional. Not so much Hudson, who at the time was still finding his footing in the industry. While he exudes considerable boyish charm, he seems self-conscious and a bit stiff. Sirk, however, surely recognized his star quality and under his tutelage Hudson would soon blossom into a major star. The two would make a whopping eight more movies together over the next five years, many of which are enduring classics.

Before Sirk sunk his teeth into glossy melodramas like All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind (both of which star Hudson), he dabbled in a variety of genres, but musicals were never his cup of tea. That might explain why there are no production numbers in Has Anybody Seen My Gal and the songs are largely presented as window dressing to remind us of the carefree era in which the tale takes place. A few brief Charleston interludes comprise the dancing and though Laurie reportedly wanted to sing for herself (and later did in Ain't Misbehavin'), her vocals are dubbed.

Diehard movie buffs will also want to check out Has Anybody Seen My Gal to see another Hollywood icon at the dawn of his all too brief career. In a 30-second, blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit, an unknown actor named James Dean appears as a pampered youth parked on a stool at the soda fountain. A mere three years later, Dean would not only co-star with Hudson in the blockbuster epic Giant, he would tragically lose his life in a car crash at the tender age of 24.

Has Anybody Seen My Gal is light, endearing, and loads of fun. Musical lovers might be disappointed in the lack of songs, but the spritely comedy keeps this modest, family-friendly tale rolling along. Coburn and company give the material their all, and though its homespun message may be dated, the film's heart still beats loud and strong.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Has Anybody Seen My Gal arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard case. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu with music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

Video Review

Ranking:

A brand new HD master struck from a 2K scan of the 35mm interpositive yields an often stunning 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer that bursts with brilliant color. Grain is evident, but beautifully resolved, resulting in a lovely film-like appearance. Excellent clarity and contrast highlight fine details and costume textures, rich blacks anchor the image, the bright whites never bloom, and flesh tones look natural and remain stable throughout. Vibrant colors constantly grab attention, with bold primaries and delicate pastels impressing equally. Shadow delineation is quite good and an array of lush close-ups spotlight Laurie's allure, Hudson's youthful features, and Coburn's wrinkles and rubbery jowls. Sone softness crops up here and there and a few faint nicks and marks occasionally dot the print, but they never distract from the attractive visuals that stoke the senses from beginning to end. If you're a fan of this delightful movie, you'll definitely want to upgrade.

Audio Review

Ranking:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track supplies clear, well-modulated sound. A wide dynamic scale gives the musical score plenty of room to breathe, but a bit more fidelity would have lent it more presence. All the dialogue is well prioritized and easy to comprehend and no hiss, pops, or crackle disrupt the purity of the mix. This isn't a particularly flashy track, but it handles its varied chores with ease.

Special Features

Ranking:

A couple of supplements enhance the disc.

  • Audio Commentary - Actress Piper Laurie passed away in 2023, so this audio commentary is quite special. Film critic and historian Lee Gambin interviews the 91-year-old Laurie in a trans-Pacific conversation (he's in Australia, she's in California) that includes memories about how she got her start in acting, her days at Universal, and her fellow performers. She also shares anecdotes about Coburn and Hudson, recalls director Douglas Sirk was "not kind to me," and recounts how she broke away from vapid contract parts and transitioned into serious roles. Laurie is sharp as a tack, charming, jovial, and insightful, and any admirer of this Oscar-nominated actress will find this track a real treat.

  • Featurette: "Fun on the Lot: Remembering Has Anybody Seen My Gal" (HD, 31 minutes) - Actresses Piper Laurie and Gigi Perreau recall how their respective careers began (Perreau was just a two-year-old when she landed her first role), share memories of director Douglas Sirk, extol the virtues of the studio system, and praise each other in this lovely 2008 featurette. Laurie fondly remembers Rock Hudson and jokes about how she blew her singing audition, resulting in a voice double. They both relate fun anecdotes about Charles Coburn as well.

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 3 minutes) - An animated character named Preview Pete hosts the film's original trailer, which focuses more on the songs and period setting than the story. A slew of other previews for movies starring Laurie and Hudson and directed by Sirk are also included.

Final Thoughts

Everybody who loves to laugh and enjoys nostalgia should see Has Anybody Seen My Gal. A witty script, energetic performances, and luscious Technicolor fuel this infectious period comedy that's sprinkled with a few 1920s standards. KLSC honors this oft-neglected Douglas Sirk classic with a brand new HD master struck from a 2K scan of the 35mm interpositive, solid audio, and a nice supplemental package. If you're a classics fan, you'll want to check out or rediscover this unassuming gem. Recommended.