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Vincente Minnelli
Judy Garland, Robert Walker, Keenan Wynn
Writing Credits:
Robert Nathan, Joseph Schrank

During a 48-hour leave, a soldier accidentally meets a girl at Pennsylvania Station and spends his leave with her, eventually falling in love with the lovely New Yorker.

Rated NR.

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

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 6/7/2022

• 2 Vintage Shorts
• Radio Version
• Trailer


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The Clock [Blu-Ray] (1945)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 2, 2022)

With 1945’s The Clock, Warner Archives brings their celebration of Judy Garland’s 100th birthday to a conclusion. It follows 1941’s Ziegfeld Girl and 1942’s For Me and My Gal as the third of three Blu-rays.

Corporal Joe Allen (Robert Walker) comes from a small US town. When he gets a 48-hour leave pass, he decides to visit New York City and see the sights.

As he reaches Penn Station, Joe bumps into Alice Maybery (Garland). The two embark on a whirlwind romance with deeper repercussions due to Joe’s military commitments.

Given the movie’s title, its era and Walker’s presence, I half-expected Clock to provide noir thriller. Garland’s participation would appear to negate that concept, however, so don’t expect Judy to step outside of her romantic wheelhouse.

Though Clock does take Garland away from the musical numbers that acted as a staple of Ziegfeld Girl, For Me and My Gal and the vast majority of her filmography. In fact, I can’t say off the top of my head if I’ve ever seen a Garland film in which she didn’t sing any songs, though I’m sure others exist.

One other change comes from my perception of Garland’s looks and how they relate to her role. In Ziegfeld Girl, I felt Garland didn’t seem attractive enough to play a glamorous showgirl.

Garland offers a much better fit for Alice, and it doesn’t hurt that Garland grew up during the four years between films. While still not a real beauty, Garland looks considerably prettier here than in Ziegfeld, perhaps because she “grew up” between the ages of 19 and 23.

Without her usual musical talents to display, Garland must rely on actual acting, and she does quite well in the part. Alice doesn’t offer the world’s most challenging part, but Garland makes Alice convincing and believable.

Unfortunately, Walker proves less satisfying as Garland’s co-lead. As the wide-eyed visitor to the Big Apple, he tends to seem more annoying than endearing.

This makes Walker a flawed romantic lead. He comes across as cartoony and overbearing, so much so that it becomes tough to figure out why Alice falls for him.

Of course, the answer is “because it’s a movie”, though the contrived nature of Clock seems greater than usual. The notion of the limited time the leads can spend together feels like an artificial concept that exists just to motivate actions more than as an organic construct.

As such, Clock can feel more like a collection of scenes than an actual narrative. Much of the time, we get shots of Joe and Alice as they start to part, and we also find their seemingly endless encounters with colorful New York locals.’

I do like that Clock ends without the usual fairytale vibe, as it shows the possibility that the impetuous strangers make a mistake. Also, even with Walker’s annoying performance and the various contrivances, the movie keeps us reasonably entertained.

I just wish it mustered more than that. The Clock delivers a decent romantic fantasy but not one that feels above average.

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

The Clock appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a highly satisfying presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well, with only a smidgen of softness in a couple of wider shots. Most of the film boasted fine delineation and accuracy.

Neither jaggies nor moiré effects impacted the proceedings, and the presence of light grain meant it seemed unlikely that digital noise reduction came into play. Edge haloes remained absent and I saw no print flaws.

Blacks seemed deep and rich, while contrast gave the movie a fine silvery sheen. Low-light shots brought us nice smoothness and clarity. This turned into a more than satisfactory image.

I felt less pleased with the erratic DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of The Clock, as it seemed iffy even for its age. Music and effects tended to come across as somewhat harsh and a bit rough at times.

That mainly impact the score, as Clock lacked much in terms of effects. Still, these elements felt harsher than I expected.

The same went for dialogue. Although the lines always remained intelligible, they could sound sibilant and edgy on more than a few occasions. Though not a terrible soundtrack, this became a lackluster one even when adjusted for its era.

A few extras round out the disc, and we find two circa 1945 vintage shorts. We find Hollywood Scout (7:42) and That Screwy Truant (7:02).

Scout comes from the “Pete Smith Specialties” series and it focuses on dogs with particular talents. Nothing exciting or especially clever occurs, but hey, we get almost eight minutes of charming dogs, so I won’t complain.

From Tex Avery, Truant features Screwy Squirrel as he skips school. A character who only lasted a few shorts, Screwy feels like a cut-rate Bugs Bunny imitation and even Avery’s talents can’t save this forgettable reel.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we conclude with a Lux Radio Theater Adaptation (47:21) of the film. Aired in January 1946, Garland reprises her role whole John Hodiak takes over for Robert Walker.

Hodiak actually offers an improvement over Walker, as Hodiak brings more restraint to the part. This becomes a fairly good rendition of the story.

At times, The Clock provides a somewhat enjoyable take on the romantic genre, and a good performance from Judy Garland helps. Unfortunately, fellow lead Robert Walker negates her strengths, and the story feels too contrived too much of the time. The Blu-ray comes with strong visuals but audio seems erratic and supplements don’t excel. This becomes a watchable movie but not a really memorable one.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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