- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hollywood movie-making in the 1950s came under a humorous microscope earlier this year through the famed creative might of Joel and Ethan Coen (“The Big Lebowski” and “No Country for Old Men”) to the delight of critics and cinema satirists.

Hail, Caesar! (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, $34.98, 106 minutes) moves to Blu-ray and boasts a splendid, full-screen (1.85:1-aspect ratio) digital transfer that captures the golden warmth of Los Angles in the 1950s and film studios’ lavish productions.

Now the story is also worth enjoying and finds Eddie Mannix, the head of production fixing for Capitol Pictures Studios (a tough-talking, Clark Gable-chiseled Josh Brolin) with plenty of problems.

They include a kidnapped actor, pregnant actress, befuddled group of clergy and a dilemma involving a job offer from Lockheed Martin.

His comical dramas play out amidst a celebration of the spectacle that was the Golden Age of Hollywood. Viewers watch the creation of a classic synchronized water ballet scene with 32 swimmers and full orchestra starring Scarlett Johansson as DeeAnna Moran, a feisty mermaid reminiscent of Esther Williams.

Or actor Alden Ehrenreich (the future Han Solo) as Hobie Doyle, an acrobatic singing cowboy with a Texas twang stuck in a serious drama with snobby director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes).

Or, Channing Tatum as song-and-dance man Burt Gurney (with a Gene Kelly flair) tap dancing and belting out the hit “No Dame,” with a small complement of sailors in tow.

And, best of all, George Clooney (with the finest airs of a Dean Martin) as Baird Whitlock starring in an ancient Roman epic.

The high-definition presentation further shines throughout with the chance to admire more than 2,500 period style costumes used in the movie.

The antique prop detail is just as wonderful honed down to being able to read the side of a Hills Bros. coffee can or admiring Mr. Mannix’s vintage octagonal Waltham wristwatch with yellow stitching on the leather strap no less.

Subversively amusing, “Hail, Caesar!” is an evolving classic that’s worth multiple viewings to easily find new laughs days after its ingestion.

Unfortunately, extras came up very short featuring four minutes of the major actors sucking up to the Coen brothers, a 6-minute look at some of the great choreographed scenes captured in the film and a 6-minute, way-too-brief look at the movie’s intricate production design.

The only pithy featurette is 11 minutes about the movie stars who played movie stars and explained by the movie stars (got that?).

Boy, I sure could have used an optional commentary track with Joel and Ethan to cement the purchasing deal for viewers.

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