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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The companionship of a doll is a pleasant thing."
Guys and Dolls was regarded as a bit of a disappointment when it came out in 1955, a reputation that clung to it for some time, but it's surprising just how much fun it is. Damon Runyon's elegantly stylised dialog is complemented by the wonderful production design of a stylised New York that's as unreal as the characters while at the same time not overstated enough to...
Published on 16 May 2011 by Trevor Willsmer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars incomplete movie
Guys & Dolls is the best musical ever written and Frank, Vivian, Marlon and Jean are fantastic. My criticisms are that the quality of the recording is terrible and version I got was incomplete. Two songs--one missible, one not are missing from the film.

I have seen this version of the film on TV more than once and the two songs are in there. I have only seen...
Published 19 months ago by Stanley Grossman


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The companionship of a doll is a pleasant thing.", 16 May 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guys and Dolls [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Guys and Dolls was regarded as a bit of a disappointment when it came out in 1955, a reputation that clung to it for some time, but it's surprising just how much fun it is. Damon Runyon's elegantly stylised dialog is complemented by the wonderful production design of a stylised New York that's as unreal as the characters while at the same time not overstated enough to make it purely an exercise in style over substance. The score is a real killer, with more great numbers than any musical deserves, and Michael Kidd's wondrously energetic and imaginative choreography is amazing without ever overwhelming the film. The casting is pitch perfect even if Brando isn't a great singer and Sinatra hated the film because he wanted to play Sky Masterson instead of good old reliable Nathan Detroit. The two and a half hours just float by.

While not exactly overloaded with extras, the new featurettes on the special edition DVD are at least an improvement on the original release, which only boasted a badly cropped fullframe version of the trailer introduced by Ed Sullivan - though that enjoyable little extra is missing from the special edition. Unfortunately the remastered transfer is more of a problem - whereas the original MGM/UA release was in the original 2.55:1 ratio, the special edition has been transferred at 2.35:1, losing detail from the left and right of the image.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From stage to screen, 5 May 2012
By 
M. Joyce (Cairo, Egypt) - See all my reviews
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"Guys and Dolls" is just about my favourite musical; not only does it boast a wonderful score, but it has a great book and a galaxy of unforgettable characters drawn directly from the pages of Damon Runyon.

But does it work as a film? Well, on balance, my answer is "yes", albeit with certain reservations.

Interestingly enough, the director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, has chosen to direct the film in a very "stagey " way and I absolutely love this (especially the opening scene), as I do Michael Kidd's choreography. It's not a short film, even though a number of songs from the stage show have been cut; Regis Toomey's Arvide loses his lovely solo (I've sung the part and it's great song, believe me), but more grievous still is the loss of "A Bushel and a Peck", especially as the number which replaces it, although also written by Frank Loesser, is nowhere near as effective in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong; I like this film, but I do have serious reservations about some of the casting. To my mind, the best performances come from those actors who were in the original Broadway stage production, notably Stubby Kaye's definitive Nicely Nicely and Vivian Blaine's Miss Adelaide; there are those who are of the opinion that her performance is overly "stagey", but I do not subscribe to that view. Sinatra is, of course, wonderful as Nathan Detroit, a part usually taken on stage by an actor rather than a singer, but he has an instinctive feel for the idiom and despatches his lines brilliantly. Inevitably, he gets more to sing than stage Nathans, including that fine ballad "Adelaide", written especially for the film and arranged by the great Nelson Riddle. The other star names drafted in are rather less successful, although Jean Simmons looks beautiful, acts beautifully and sings adequately as Sarah Brown.

My major bug-bear concerns the casting of Marlon Brando, whose participation was, of course, a major selling point at the time of the film's release ("Brando sings!"). What we hear of his singing apparently owes much to the skill of the recording engineers, but even so, it is extraordinarily lacklustre, to my ears at any rate. Sinatra apparently coveted the part of Sky Masterson and although Nathan is perhaps more suited to his histrionic gifts, you can nevertheless appreciate his resentment, especially when you hear Brando's low-key rendition of "Luck be a Lady", which was for many years an integral part of Sinatra's Vegas night-club act. The original choice for the part was Gene Kelly and you can only regret what might have been. The supporting players are without exception magnificent, with a special bouquet to Sheldon Leonard's Harry the Horse.

Whether you are familiar with the stage musical or not, you will, I suspect, still find much to enjoy here and as this is a "Special Collector's Edition", the additional "special features" are particularly good value.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure joy, 7 Feb. 2003
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guys And Dolls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I'm always looking out for videos to amuse both adults and children, and this is a jewel that my 10 year old adored. The dramatisation of Damon Runyon's classic short stories about small-time crooks, mobsters and chorus girls it starts with a long and very funny sequence tracking a pickpocket ambling through a crowded Times Square and getting away with tourists' wallets etc. The theme of "dolls" having the upper hand over "guys" made into a kind of ballet, and by the time three of the "guys" are gathered to give their illegal betting tips, a mood of 1950s liveliness and innocence established.
Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) runs the "oldest floating crap-game in New York", but gambling is illegal and Brannigan, a cop, is makig life uncomfortable for him just as some big gamblers have flown into town. Nathan can hold his game in a garage only if he pays $1000 to the owner, but how to get the money? He spots Skye Masterson (Brando), who boasts all girls are the same, and bets him that even he can't succeed in getting the prim Salvation Army militant, Sarah Brown, to go out with him that evening. However, Skye succeeds in persuading her by promising to bring "a dozen hardened sinners" to her mission the following night. They go to Havana - only to fall in love. In order to make good his bet, Skye then has to pin his hopes on a single roll fo the dice...
The songs, dances, costumes and script crackle with old-fashioned glamour and wit. Brando can't sing for toffee, but it doesn't matter because he's got everything else. Jean Simmons is perfect - sweet and a bit coarse underneath, and Vivian Blaine as Miss Abigail a perfect combination of cat-like shrewdness and kittenish naivety. Ol' Blue Eyes typecast as a seedy low-lifer. Pure joy.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Musical., 13 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Guys and Dolls [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
I would say that anyone who loves musicals will
have seen guys & Dolls-to any one who has not seen this Musical and has no more than a passing
interest in musicals then make the effort- it will
be an experience you will not forget-Marlon Brando singing "A Woman In Love" to Jean Simmons
after he has taken her for dinner in Havana Cuba
is a joy- and Sinatra singing to adelaide the "sue Me " number when she finds that he is running "crap games" and the line of the song "Sue me" -sue me-sue me- shoot bullets through me-I love you- it makes you feel sorr7y for them both-but alls well that ends well when they finally marry in a double wedding ceromony with Brando & Jean Simmons---go out and buy -borrow (-but don't steal,) the video or dvd
and have yourself a ball!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars incomplete movie, 26 July 2013
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This review is from: Guys and Dolls [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
Guys & Dolls is the best musical ever written and Frank, Vivian, Marlon and Jean are fantastic. My criticisms are that the quality of the recording is terrible and version I got was incomplete. Two songs--one missible, one not are missing from the film.

I have seen this version of the film on TV more than once and the two songs are in there. I have only seen these kinds of problems with another film once: in a pirated version of the Lion King made in China. (It was called "The Loin King.")

I will return this film and demand a full refund.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GUYS AND DOLLS Blue Ray, 27 Jan. 2013
By 
Mr. Gordon Troope (Doncaster UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guys & Dolls [Blu-ray] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Excellent film much better quality on blue ray. Now hoping for HIGH SOCIETY on Blue Ray.Please advise when available. Soon I hope
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Broadway - Great Movie, 16 Aug. 2003
By 
Terry Foster (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guys and Dolls [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
The first thing that blew me away with this DVD is the quality of the sound. It has amazing depth and punch; you'd never believe that the soundtrack is almost 50 years old! ...and then, the sumptuous colour; those wonderful, stylised sets; the choreography...never mind the quality of the original material. "Guys and Dolls" is indisputably one of greatest of Broadways shows and here it gets the best of Holywood treatment; a truly class act. The cast is stella and even those who aren't known for their dancing and singing are totally convincing.
The movie gives the impression of a filmed Broadway show - largely due to the wonderful sets - and it works beautifully. It is remarkably true to its Broadway origins only substituting a couple of new songs. For me, the cream of the crop is Vivian Blaine's portrayal of Adelaide. My only gripe is that the film cuts the reprise of her side-splitting "Lament". How could they NOT include the couplet "so much virus inside, that her microscope slide looks like a day at the zoo."?!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Watchable musical with some fantastic choreography, 13 Dec. 2011
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Guys and Dolls (1952) is a watchable musical about love relationships, identity, and life in an age marred by drink and gambling. It's nice to see it in colour but this version is now aged markedly and in need of restoration and the sound isn't great.

This is a tour de force production from MGM with some excellent choreography and dancing and energy. The opening is always a pleasure to see. Marlon Brando starred in this though he is underwhelming and not really the point. Frank Sinatra is very good. I don't of course limit my praise to both of them - the whole cast is very good and there is a nice documentary in this DVD.

The songs are classic and well written but I was not convinced that the versions in this film were as entertaining and original as some later theatre productions I've seen.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic musical - full of emotion and brio, 15 Oct. 2001
This review is from: Guys And Dolls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I thoroughly enjoyed this - from the opening scene to the close. It's quite stagey, expressionistic, colourful and larger than life in the overall approach, yet the individual characters are very realistic and touching in their interactions. The songs are all memorable - adelaide, adelaide, a woman in love, sit down your rocking the boat, luck be a lady - and all woven into the plot line and character development with great subtlety. I feel so glad to have this - whenever it's a rainy day, I'll take it out and view it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars skippy, 19 Feb. 2012
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Of all the musicals I believe this to be one of the best. Although made a long time ago it has stood the test of time. The cast is brilliant, the songs excellent and it one of those films you can see time and time again.
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Guys & Dolls [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Guys & Dolls [Blu-ray] [US Import] by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Blu-ray - 2012)
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