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Paramount Studios presents
I Love Lucy: Season One, Volume Three (1951)

"I wish there were some wrong conclusions that we could jump to."
- Lucy (Lucille Ball)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: May 08, 2003

Stars: Lucille Balle, Desi Arnez, Vivian Vance, William Frawley
Other Stars: Ben Welder, Helen Silver, Lewis Martin, Hazel "Sunny" Bughe
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for all audiences)
Run Time: 01h:38m:50s
Release Date: October 01, 2002
UPC: 097368758841
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BB+B B-

DVD Review

Spurred by the growing popularity of stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, I Love Lucy debuted in the fall of 1951 and became a major hit. Even more than 50 years later, the series continues to draw new devoted fans through countless reruns on cable and syndicated television. Although they have achieved other high points in their careers, the show's stars will always been remembered primarily for this series. Continuing under several other titles, the memorable characters appeared for many more years.

The basic plot structure is almost the same for every episode. Numerous misunderstandings cause Lucy and her pal Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) to go to extreme measures that inspire plenty of silly moments. Lucy often becomes mixed up in her husband Ricky's (Arnaz) showbiz career through his band show or other outlets. Also along for the ride is Ethel's husband Fred (William Frawley), an older guy who generally sides with Ricky. This format is repeated consistently with minor variations, with Lucy whining and Ricky growing befuddled with his wife. At this point he will generally go into some tirade in Spanish, which always draws laughs from the studio audience. While much of the overall formula grows tiresome, it has succeeded in becoming one of television's most beloved sitcoms.

This third volume of Season One contains four episodes that provide perfect examples of the series' typical format. Without further discussion, here are brief descriptions of each entry:

Men are Messy

Lucy cannot stand Ricky's messy habits, as he throws the newspaper all over the living room and piles his clothes on any available furniture. She decides to split the room in half to show how her clean habits are better than his messy ideas. Of course, Ethel and Fred's ideas correspond with members of each specific gender. In the end, Lucy tries to teach Ricky a lesson with the arrival of a big magazine reporter, which backfires in silly fashion. Very simplistic on ideas of each sex's ideas of cleanliness, this is not a very satisfying episode.

This episode rates 2 out of 5 hearts.





The Fur Coat

When Ricky rents a mink coat for his show and brings it home, Lucy thinks it is for her and refuses to take it off. Too afraid to reveal the truth, Ricky searches for creative ways to rectify the situation. Eventually, he decides to have Fred pose as a burglar to steal the coat. When a real thief arrives, everything goes haywire. Ricky's frustrated attempts are funny here, but wouldn't it be easier just to tell Lucy the truth?

This episode rates 3.5 out of 5 hearts.





Lucy is Jealous of Girl Singer

When a local gossip column suggest Ricky is doing more than just performing with Rosemary—the club's new attractive dancer—Lucy vows to discover the truth. The end result finds her appearing as a dancer in the chorus line, with the expected silly results. This moment is undoubtedly a classic one for Lucy lovers.

This episode rates 3 out of 5 hearts.





Drafted

Several misunderstandings cause Lucy and Ethel to believe that their husbands have been drafted into the armed forces. While Ricky and Fred train for an upcoming show at the local army base, the women start knitting them clothes for the journey. Noticing their crazy behavior, the guys believe that their wives are pregnant. Although predictable, this is easily the most enjoyable episode on this volume.

This episode rates 4 out of 5 hearts.



Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This release offers an impressive restored version of the series' original black & white, full-frame transfer. A decent amount of minor defects do arise, but the picture looks surprisingly well. It represents a significant improvement over the version seen on television reruns. The technology of 1951 obviously limited what the restorers could do with this transfer, but it succeeds in offering a clear presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: It is no major surprise that this disc offers only mono transfers for each episode. Each one is definitely limited, but the audio remains clear and understandable throughout the shows. The sound is very centralized, but it lacks the fuzziness sometimes inherent in these types of transfers. Paramount deserves credit for making sure this release does not convey muddled sounds.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
4 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Flubs
  2. 2 Radio Shows
  3. Guest Cast List
  4. Original Series Opening
Extras Review: Although this volume offers nothing groundbreaking, it is refreshing to see more than the expected bare-bones release. The most notable supplements are two radio shows that inspired Men are Messy and The Fur Coat. Both come from My Favorite Husband, a running series that starred Lucille Ball and Richard Denning as Liz and George Cooper. Each entry contains the entire episode and offers numerous comparisons to the later television shows. They also are worth hearing for the silly Jello Family commercials.

This DVD's episodes are notable for including several moments that have been deleted in rerun airings. "The Christmas Tag" is a three-minute scene that shows the four stars singing Jingle Bells with a surprise guest. The censors cracked down on "The Long, Long Kiss," which showcased Arnez and Ball in an extended lip lock. A mention of sponsor Philip Morris also disappeared in subsequent television airings. Finally, many restored musical intros have been reintroduced to the series. A separate section contains the original opening, with Philip Morris being spotlighted over the actual series.

The remaining supplements include a guest cast list (with attached bios), and a significant flub in The Fur Coat. This disc's menus are well done and deserve a mention for providing interesting information.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

I Love Lucy deserves tremendous credit for being one of the most popular series ever to appear on television. Its four stars inhabit their roles perfectly and help to generate effective comedy. However, its success is limited by the basic formula that grows tiresome upon repeated viewings. This volume did make me chuckle at times, but it lacks the creative drive to inspire more than a passing interest.

 


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