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Michael Curtiz
Doris Day, Jack Carson, Janis Paige
Writing Credits:
Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein

Romantic misunderstandings abound when spouses suspect each other of being unfaithful, and a nightclub singer takes a cruise under a false identity.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 6/16/2020

Hare Splitter Animated Short
Let’s Sing a Song From the Movies Musical Short
• Song Selection
• Trailer


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Romance on the High Seas [Blu-Ray] (1948)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 30, 2020)

One of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s, Doris Day made her debut with 1948’s Romance on the High Seas. She did so in good company, as Seas came from director Michael Curtiz, best known for 1943’s classic Casablanca.

Wealthy socialite Elvira Kent (Janis Paige) believes her husband Michael (Don DeFore) cheats on her. When he avoids yet another planned vacation, she plots a trap.

Elvira tells Michael she’ll go on their South American cruise without him, but instead, she stays behind to spy on him. In her stead, she sends young nightclub singer Georgia Garrett (Day) to impersonate her on the voyage.

A rub occurs because Michael doesn’t trust Elvira’s faithfulness either, so he hires private investigator Peter Virgil (Jack Carson) to track his wife on the cruise. Because Peter doesn’t realize Georgia isn’t actually Elvira, confusion and shenanigans ensue.

Curtiz worked in films for about 50 years and directed dozens of movies. Rather than specialize on one or two genres, Curtiz embraced a wide array of styles, some with more success than others.

Going into Seas, I feared romantic musical comedy wouldn’t be up Curtiz’s alley. Curtiz worked in each of those individual genres, but the mix of all three seemed potentially problematic, especially with Day in tow.

I don’t mean that as a slight to Day, but I feared that the nascent America’s Girl Next Door would prove incompatible with the cynicism inherent in Seas’ story. The movie starts with two characters who intensely mistrust each other, and the entire tale revolves around deceit and misunderstandings.

Those domains don’t seem like they’d fit Day – or at least not the image I hold of her as a sunny innocent. Happily, she proves quite capable as our lead, and she brings real charm to the proceedings.

It probably helps that Day doesn’t need to come across as hard-bitten. While she lies and deceives, she does so without malevolent intentions, and her natural likeability allows us to forgive her any potential trespasses, especially because Georgia seems more like a pawn than anything else.

Carson also offers a nice spin on the jaded private detective, though I think the movie’s weakest spot comes from the romantic connection we see between Georgia and Peter. Though only 12 years senior to Day, Carson looks substantially older, so it becomes difficult to swallow them as a romantic couple.

Still, that acts as a minor concern, mainly because Seas comes with more than enough wit and charm to overcome any potential flaws. Packed with snappy patter, amusing situations and just enough understanding of its own absurdity, Seas gives us a delightful tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Romance on the High Seas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a strong transfer.

Sharpness looked solid. Next to no softness materialized, as the image remained crisp and well-defined.

No jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. With a nice layer of grain, I suspected no intrusive digital noise reduction, and print flaws failed to mar the presentation.

Given its mix of exotic settings, Seas enjoyed a broad palette, and the hues looked solid. The colors came across as consistently full and vivid.

Blacks seemed dark and rich, while contrast appeared appealing. Shadows came across as smooth and concise. Warner Bros. usually does right by these older movies, and Seas offered another fine image.

While not in the same league as the picture, the DTS-HD monaural soundtrack of Seas also worked well. Speech seemed reasonably accurate and distinct, with no issues related to intelligibility, though Day’s singing could seem a little brittle at times.

Music came across as fairly bright and lively, though dynamic range seemed limited given the restrictions of the source. Effects were similarly modest but they showed good clarity and accuracy within the confines of 72-year-old stems. This was a more than adequate auditory presentation for an older movie.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two short films. We get Hare Splitter (7:09) and Let’s Sing a Song From the Movies (10:43).

In Hare, Bugs Bunny competes with another rabbit for a date with Daisy. When she proves unavailable, Bugs pretends to be Daisy to scare off his rival.

The plot makes even less sense than that as executed, especially because Bugs barely tries to look female. Still, the short comes with some laughs, even if I wouldn’t consider it a Looney Tunes classic.

As for Song, we get a montage reel that offers musical performances from a few movies – and reprised renditions of these tunes by the Melody Makers. This format probably worked for audiences in 1948 given that they couldn’t access the source movies easily, but it seems like a dull presentation now.

It doesn’t help that the movies/songs presented come with no logical connection, and the performances by the Melody Makers are bland and “white” as could be. At least their attempts to sing “Black dialect” for “Am I Blue?” brings unintentional comedy.

Note that both shorts look surprisingly bad. Both seem to come from lower-resolution sources and suffer from a lot of rough edges.

Song Selection offers a form of chapter search. It allows the viewer to skip to any of the movie’s 11 musical performances. I don’t care about this function, but others may enjoy it.

For her cinematic debut, Doris Day shows the wit and charm that made her a star. Romance on the High Seas boasts plenty of entertainment value via other elements as well, all of which make it a light and lively effort. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture as well as positive audio and a few bonus materials. Seas offers a likable rom-com.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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