Tammy: Triple Feature – DVD Review


tammytriplefeature
Available at Amazon.com
There was once a joyful time in Hollywood when moviemakers didn’t care about historical accuracy. Actors didn’t spend months perfecting their accents to give an authentic portrayal of regional characters. The only thing that mattered was that the stars looked stunning; they glowed in Technicolor no matter where the movie took place. The Tammy series followed those old film-making rules. The trilogy about a backwoods girl’s journey from rural Mississippi to the medical world would never be confused for a documentary. This is joyful cinematic fluff with a theme song as bubbly as the lead character’s optimism.

Tammy and the Bachelor (1957 – 89 minutes) brings us into the unreal swamps of Mississippi. Tammy Tyree (Debbie Reynolds) is the template for Elly Mae Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. She’s a nature gal wandering the wilderness and communing with animals. Her best friend is a goat. Tammy’s Grandpa (Walter Brennan) is a moonshiner so they enjoy a certain level of privacy. Into this ideal world crashes Peter Brent (Leslie Nielsen). His plane slams into the swamp. Luckily Tammy saves his life. She nurses him back to health. He returns to civilization. When Grandpa runs into business problem, she hunts down Peter. She quickly learns that her barefoot life can’t exist in Peter’s mannered Southern world. Can she adapt to this new culture? It’s strange to conceive of Leslie Nielsen as a matinĂ©e idol like Warren Beatty or Freddie Prinze Jr. But the fart joke star of Naked Gun once was possessed by suave moves.

Tammy, Tell Me True (1961 – 97 minutes) does a body swap with Sandra Dee taking over the role of Tammy. She’s not happy just being a dumb gal from the sticks. She’s ready for serious book learning. She packs up her goat and heads to college that’s further down the river. Her honey soaked charm brings the attention of professor Tom Freeman (John Gavin). Unfortunately a swamp education doesn’t have many accredited courses so she has to learn on the sly. Naturally all the students that encounter Tammy get an education after they initially mock her primitive ways. She babysits a crotchety old woman (Beulah Bondi) and transforms her. Tammy is pure magic in the academic environment.

Tammy and the Doctor (1963 – 88 minutes) applies a healthy dose of backwoods medicine into a modern hospital. Someone close to Tammy must receive long term care in a big city hospital. Tammy doesn’t merely want to sit bedside and wait. She puts her new college education to work as a candy striper. During her job interview, she brags about how to properly use leeches on patients. Nowadays this would land her a job with an HMO as the head of medicine. The nurses snicker behind her naive back, but eventually she wins them over with her barefoot insights. Dr. Mark Cheswick (Peter Fonda) makes plans to get her barefoot. Can she resist the charms of Easy Rider? Even more amazing is Adam West is on staff as doctor, too. He likes Tammy, too. Thrill to the sight of Batman competing with Captain America for her affections. There’s plenty of physical humor as Tammy copes with modern hospital procedures and patients.

The Tammy series is charming fluff. There’s nothing too dramatic in the actions. Tammy never receives a harsh dose of reality that makes her question God’s role in making her a simple gal. She shines no matter how the cloudy others become. Each movie pushes the agenda that this bumpkin can conquer and cure our modern malaise. You shouldn’t watch any of these movies in a cynical mood. The Tammy films are prized whimsical features from a time when people didn’t want to be depressed when the theater lights dimmed.

The DVD:
The two discs are contained in a single wide case with an inner flap. Tammy Tell Me True and Tammy and the Doctor share a disc.

The picture on Tammy and the Bachelor is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The other two films are 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfers look good and relatively clean.

The soundtrack is Dolby Digital Mono 2.0. The audio is at a good level. The classic theme song sounds lush and full.

Trailer for Tammy and the Bachelor (2:27) pushes Debbie Reynolds’ star power.

Trailer for Tammy and the Doctor (2:16) sells the sweetness.

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Universal presents Tammy: Triple Feature. Starring: Debbie Reynolds. Running time: 274 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: February 5, 2008. Available at Amazon.com