Friday, August 21, 2020

Warner Archive DVD Review: Red Skelton Whistling Collection

Red Skelton, Comedy, Movies, Film, DVD, Warner Archive

Reviewed By Jason Lockard

Red Skelton was known for his hilarious characters such as, Freddie the Freeloader, Cauliflower McPugg, San Fernando Red, Clem Kadiddlehopper and Sheriff Deadeye, just to name a few. He was American's Clown. Skelton believed that his life's work was to make people laugh; and that he did.

From Radio to TV and Movies he made us laugh. Even through the tragedy of the diagnosis of his son Richard of Leukemia and ultimate death at the age of 10, Red laughed through the tears and kept us laughing even though we knew inside he was crying.

Warner Archive celebrated his amazing comedy with the release of a made on demand triple feature of his first film he ever starred in. This is the Red Skelton Whistling Collection. This trilogy is based on a play by Lawrence Gross and Edward Childs Carpenter, centers on a popular radio detective, the Fox. Let's take a look at the three films included in this collection.

Movie Rating:
****=Don’t Miss it!
***=Worth a look.
**=An Ok way to spend an evening.
*=You haven’t missed anything.

Whistling in the Dark (1941) Wally Benton (Red) is radio crime show host known as 'The Fox'. A cult is looking to commit the perfect murder, but how? Maybe The Fox himself can help them devise the plane with a little persuasion. So the kidnap Wally his fiancée and ex-girlfriend to get his help.... or else. ***

Red Skelton, Whisting in the Dark, Comedy, film, movie, Warner Archive

Whistling in Dixie (1942) Radio sleuth Wally "The Fox" Benton forgoes his honeymoon and head to the Southern United States to help his
fiancée's old friend solve a murder and protect a woman who is in possession of some valuable information. ***1/2

Red Skelton, Whisting in Dixie, Comedy, film, movie, Warner Archive

Whistling in Brooklyn (1943)
Wally is finally ready to make the plunge into marriage. But finds himself
sidetracked as he is mistaken for a serial killer. Now he find himself in hot water with the police, the killer, the Brooklyn Dodgers, not to mention his fiancée. ****

Red Skelton, Whisting in Brooklyn Comedy, film, movie, Warner Archive

Red Skelton really shines as The Fox. As the inapt rubber faced actor who dreams of being a hero, Red's quick wit and funny delivery is perfect. While maybe not his strongest of films, I had a lot of fun watching 'the whistling collection' from the early years of Red.

Now while Red Skelton is the featured name here, these film have such amazing names as;
Conrad Veidt, Ann Rutherford, Rags Ragland, Eve Arden, Jean Rogers, William Frawley and the Brooklyn Dodgers manager
Leo Durocher.

It is so nice to be able to watch some comedy films that is devoid of all the profanity and sexual innuendo. Some would say black and white Red Skelton films are outdated. My response would be there is no expiration date on funny.

All three of these films get their own DVD disc complete with a bonus of the theatrical trailer. I love that bonus, because I love film trailers. All of the films are presented in their original full screen format and Dolby digital mono audio. The films look crisp and clean and are very pleasing to watch in glorious black and white.

I like to run bit rate tests on DVDs, and I am pleased to say that the movies on each DVD for the most part run from between 7.5 and 8.5 Mbps and sometimes higher. That is a tremendous bitrate allowing for crystal clear picture.
While there might be some slight specks on the film prints it is so minuscule that, you wouldn't notice it unless you are looking for it.

I am so thankful for Warner Archive releasing films like The Red Skelton Whistling Collection on Made-on-Demand. If it wasn't for them, physical media collectors wouldn't have a chance to own these.

So if you love the comedy of Red Skelton as much as I do. The Red Skelton Whistling Collection is an absolute Must Own! I can not recommend this one enough. Head over to and get your copy today. You won't be disappointed.

Don't forget to Visit and see their extensive library of amazing releases.

Out of 4 Film Reels we would score the Warner Archive's DVD release of Red Skelton's Whistling Collection gets....

While there is slight damage to the prints it's not enough to count against this release.


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