Monkey Business appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Overall, the picture appeared acceptable for a 50-year-old film, but it never exceeded that level of quality.
Sharpness usually came across as reasonably crisp and distinct. The image seemed moderately soft and fuzzy at times, but I didn’t think these concerns became too excessive. As a whole, the picture seemed fairly clear and accurate. While I saw no jagged edges, some light moiré effects appeared, and I noticed a fair amount of edge enhancement. The latter element became quite noticeable at times and provided an unnecessary distraction.
Black levels appeared quite good throughout the movie. Those tones remained fairly tight and deep on a consistent basis, and I also felt the image presented solid contrast. Shadow detail seemed nicely clear and appropriately heavy without excessive opacity.
Not surprisingly, print flaws caused the biggest concerns during Business. Moderate to heavy levels of grain appeared, and I also saw intermittent examples of speckles, marks, streaks and spots. However, it really was the grain that seemed most intrusive.
Oddly, the quality of the image improved noticeably during the second half of the film. The alteration didn’t seem radical, but it was noticeable. Grain decreased and edge enhancement appeared less severe. Both still occurred, but they weren’t as prevalent. That fact led me to increase my original grade. At first I intended to give the movie a “C-“ for picture, but the stronger visuals in the second half allowed me to raise it to a “C”.
When you see the letter grade presented for audio quality, I assign that to the track that features the most “technically advanced” mix. For example, this means that if a movie includes both a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a Dolby Surround 2.0 edition, I only grade the 5.1 version. I may listen to the 2.0 mix and even comment upon it, but I don’t offer a mark for it in that area.
I did that for Monkey Business simply to maintain the continuity of my reviews. However, it means that the letter grade doesn’t tell the whole story. That ranking related to the stereo soundtrack of Business, but that audio didn’t represent the best material heard on the DVD. In fact, the stereo track seemed like a near-total disaster that appeared radically inferior to the movie’s monaural mix.
The soundfield of the stereo mix displayed absolutely no sense of spatial accuracy. Instead, all audio elements came from a vague place that simply spread the material broadly across the front speakers. This meant the speech came from the sides in an odd way that appeared loose and distracting. Nothing specific emanated from various locations; instead, speech, effects and music just created an auditory mush that seemed ridiculously unrealistic.
To make matters worse, the sound quality appeared quite bad. All elements sounded processed and artificial. The entire track got an odd coating of reverb that made the material seem processed and unnatural. The stereo mix of Business presented an auditory mess that was virtually unlistenable.
Happily, the included monaural soundtrack seemed much more satisfying. Though the mix showed its age, it appeared quite clear and pleasing. Speech was vastly more natural and distinct, and the audio lacked that horrible sense of echo and coldness that tainted the stereo version. Some hiss still appeared, and at times the mix seemed a little harsh, but overall I found the mono track to seem fine for its age. It’s definitely the only acceptable option for Business, and I’d give it a “C+”.
For the five DVDs that come as part of Fox’s “Diamond Collection 2”, we find very similar extras. All five include the same set of trailers. We discover ads for Business as well as “Diamond 2” mates Don’t Bother to Knock, Niagara, River of No Return and Let’s Make Love. In addition, we get an ad for the original “Diamond Collection”.
After that we locate a Still Gallery. This domain includes 19 images. Those consist of shots from the movie and a couple of publicity images. It presents a modest but interesting set.
As with all of the discs in the original “Diamond Collection”, Business and the other “Diamond 2” release offer a Restoration Comparison. This lets us see the changes from older releases of the film and the current one. I think these seem somewhat self-serving and a little pointless, but it can be interesting to note the improvements.
Although Monkey Business didn’t represent a career high for anyone involved, that shouldn’t be seen as an indication the movie wasn’t a fun piece of work. Light and loose, the movie ran far too long to totally succeed, but it still seemed like an enjoyable little comedy romp that benefited from a nice cast. The DVD offered inconsistent but generally acceptable picture plus a truly terrible stereo soundtrack. However, the included monaural mix appeared much more satisfying. Finally, the package provided a small and insubstantial roster of extras. While the DVD seemed somewhat lackluster, the movie itself presented an enjoyable piece, so fans of any of its participants will want to give it a look.
Note that Monkey Business can be purchased on its own or as part of Fox’s Marilyn Monroe “Diamond Collection 2” set. The latter includes four other movies: Don’t Bother to Knock, Niagara, River of No Return, and Let’s Make Love. For dedicated fans of Marilyn, the “Diamond Collection 2” offers a nice bargain. It costs only $79.98 list as opposed to a total of $99.90 for the five films on their own. Granted, you’d need to really love Marilyn to want that much of her material, but if you fall into that category, it’s a great idea.