Out of all the restored Universal movies that Kino Lorber has been releasing on DVD and Bluray, the Reginald Denny Collection was the one I was most looking forward to seeing. Well, I have it so let’s dig in!
As always, thanks to Kino for providing a review copy.
The set includes The Reckless Age (1924), Skinner’s Dress Suit (1926) and What Happened to Jones? (1926), all feature-length films starring Denny.
You can order it on DVD and Bluray here. (Disclosure: I receive a small commission from sales made through affiliate links.)
Why this matters
So, who is this Denny fellow and why should you be happy to see his work released in such high quality?
Reginald Denny is sometimes compared to Cary Grant but he was very much his own thing. Still, the comparison is apt in that both men were very handsome and quite willing to get themselves into ridiculous scrapes for the amusement of the audience. Denny’s reputation rests chiefly on the series of rom-coms he made at Universal, where he was a top star. (He made other films before and other films after but the 1920s Universal period was prime Denny.)
These rom-coms are basically everything you want from the genre: a little love, a few laughs and a lot of cuteness. They’re happy pictures that nonetheless touch on timeless subjects like the 1920s equivalent of credit card debt. (That would be Skinner’s Dress Suit, you can read my review here. Spoiler: I liked it.) Denny was also a generous co-star who interacted well with his leading ladies, they were never just “the Girl.”
Denny’s name above the title guarantees a quality picture that is also a lot of fun but he has remained stubbornly obscure despite the glowing descriptions of his work in books like The Parade’s Gone By… So, obviously, this set is an important step for this neglected star.
My image capture software is still on the blink, so I will have to just say that these films look great. Beautiful detail and I very much appreciated the tinting in What Happened to Jones?
They promised restored films in HD, they delivered restored films in HD. I’m satisfied.
The Universal restorations have all featured excellent music and this release is no exception. Jake Monaco’s score for The Reckless Age and Leo Birenberg’s music for Skinner’s Dress Suit are both jazzy, toe-tapping affairs played by small ensembles and the Anthony Willis score for What Happened to Jones? is a bit more of a traditional ensemble score, very pretty. I couldn’t be happier.
This set is an ideal gift to yourself or to the movie nerd who has everything. They might already have a copy of Skinner’s Dress Suit but this is a definite upgrade from previous releases and they almost certainly do not have The Reckless Age or What Happened to Jones?
If you’re a fan of Golden Age rom-com leading men like William Powell or Cary Grant or even if you like more modern filmmakers like Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner or Garry Marshall, this set is going to give you a lot of enjoyment.
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