Twilight Time Blu-ray: April Love (1957)

April Love (1957)

Blu-ray Company: Twilight Time

Starring: Shirley Jones, Pat Boone, Arthur O’Connell, Jeanette Nolan, Dolores Michaels, Matt Crowley

Plot: Product Description: 1950s musical melodrama, stars the squeaky-clean duo of Pat Boone and Shirley Jones as a repentant juvenile delinquent and the country girl who helps him to go straight—with a little assistance from a spirited trotting horse.

My Review and Thoughts:

Film: 4/5

Twilight Time did it again, digging deep into the recesses of cinema and pulled out this unique musical, comedy. It was about time, that this oldie, but goody deserved a Blu-ray release.

Here is an old-school comedy, musical, mixed with drama. Starring a classic cast of actors and actresses. This is directed by a man who had a long career, in the movie business as director. Bringing to reality many interesting films of all genera’s of cinema. From the likes of horror, such as 1944’s Cry of the Werewolf, to mystery, action, musical, drama, western, and just about any style you can think of, Henry Levin did. He was a hit and miss, director. Some of his films are not great, and some of his films are amazing, including 1946’s The Count of Monty Cristo. Each of his films, no matter if they are lower quality or higher quality, they were not flawed in the talent, Levin brought. He has a style that was memorable, and also stood out, no matter the film. He directed another film that Twilight Time has lovingly transferred to Blu-ray, 1959’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, and you can read my review for it here: CLICK TO READ REVIEW

No matter the scale of film, Levin owned and created his own scenarios, inside his eye for directing. April Love, hasn’t looked any better than, Twilight Time’s presentation on this Blu-ray. If anything, Twilight Time has made the film even better.

This stars the wonderful and beautiful, talented Shirley Jones in the part of Liz Templeton. Everyone remembers Shirley Jones as, Shirley Partridge in the musical TV comedy, The Partridge Family, but Shirley was a star long before that show. Starring in such musicals as 1955’s Oklahoma, 1956’s Carousel and 1962’s The Music Man. She would go onto to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, in the 1960 western, Elmer Gantry. She is a stunning performer and one that always shines, no matter how small a part is, or how big a part is, she comes off screen with acting excellence. Also starring the equally beautiful Dolores Michaels as Fran Templeton. The male lead is an interesting persona in film, music and everything else, the one of kind, Pat Boone playing the part of Nick Conover. Now what stands out in this picture is the quality of the acting, and the chemistry between each of the players on screen. In that concept the film is priceless. There is really nothing wrong with the talent. This film actually has two of my favorite performers in all of cinema history. 

The extraordinary Jeanette Nolan. She was mastery at its finest in cinema. Starring in over 200 performances in her long career. In this film she plays the character of Henrietta Bruce. She started acting in the 40’s and went all the way up into the late 1990’s. She is probably best known for countless television performances. She played many side characters, but was also the main focus at times. Playing in many long running TV series such as, the classic western, Have Gun – Will Travel, and others like, Dr. Kildare, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, Laredo, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, just to name a few. I remember her best watching all the old, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Something I always found appealing was, she acted in any style, or any subject, from mainstream important films, to lower budget films, to Television. She always gave her all, and stands out as being someone that should be remembered, honored and respected in the history of cinema. Two of the films that I love her in most, is actually her voice work. She gave the voice to Disney animated characters in such classics as Disney’s The Rescuers and Disney’s Fox and the Hound. Two of the live action movies, I remember her from, because I grew up with them, 1978’s The Manitou and the 80’s classic, which is my personal favorite, 1984’s Cloak and Dagger. Her last and final acting appearance was in 1998’s The Horse Whisperer. She passed away but left an amazing career and legacy in film and her part in April Love, is no different.

Also in April Love is the master talent Arthur O’Connell. A massive character actor, starring in some of the greats, such as the masterpiece, 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder. The wild and fun action comedy adventure, 1965’s The Great Race. The wonderful science fiction, 1966’s Fantastic Voyage. The great family comedy, 1967’s The Reluctant Astronaut. The horror cult classic, 1972’s Ben. The wonderful special effect action adventure, 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, you get my point. He starred in many wonderful films from television and feature film. He is one of those performers that always stood out, no matter how small the part is. He was the very definition of acting.

As I have stated, this stars the absolutely gorgeous Dolores Michaels, what a stunning looker. It shocks me that she really never had a huge push. She didn’t act a lot, and after 1963, she vanished from film, and it floors me that she did. She was a vibrant, and flawless actress. Sadly in her short career, she found herself not being taken serious and always promoted or looked at, as a sex symbol, and she did not like that.

Both Pat Boone and Shirley Jones are excellent together. They play off each other perfectly with stunning music, and an old-school ability to make the characters seem real and unique for the time period. Something that stands out in the older films, is they had a different quality of acting that today’s films don’t have. In the old days, actors or actresses where stylized, or innocent and deeply authentic in the approach of bringing characters to life, you can see that brilliant concept, displayed in April Love.

Now this is actually based on a book titled Phantom Filly by George Agnew Chamberlin. Another positive is the amazing cinematography in the film. One of the biggest highlights, besides the acting, is the cinematography. As is the cinematography, so is the music and production, brilliantly. I think the whole film stands out in many ways. This was actually a remake of an already existing film, called, Home in Indiana, which came out in 1944 and has most of the same ideas and plot. Instead of taking place in Kentucky, as April Love does, it takes place, as the movie title says, in Indiana, which, Home in Indiana, was also based on the book by Gorge Agnew Chamberlin.

The song made famous simply titled, April Love was created by two persons. The music was written by the one and only Sammy Fain. Fain was one of the best American composers of catchy and popular tunes. Now for me it would be his work on Disney animated films that shine for me. From Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and The Rescuers, he gave his all. He had a huge career on working many Broadway musicals, starting back in 1931. Fain was placed in The Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, which he rightly deserved. Fain left a career that shines in cinema history. The other man behind the title song of April Love, is the man who wrote the lyrics to the song, that the film is famous for. Paul Francis Webster. Now the song would go on to become a part of the 50’s music scene, because of Pat Boone, which it became a number one hit. Also it’s following and rise to popularity, had it nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song. Webster really needs no introduction. He was one of the great lyricist of all time, winning 3 Oscars for Best Song and amazingly, was nominated over a dozen times for Academy Awards. He helped create the famous theme song for, Marvel’s 1967 Spider-man, cartoon classic. Everyone knows: ‘Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a Spider can’. Fain along with Webster created, listening mastery.

April Love is one of those olden films that tend to majorly stick with you after watching it. It has great acting and amazing music. It’s not a fantastic film, or a film that is flawless, but it still is a film that stands out. The acting, direction and music all shine for a simple, fun entertainment. It has equals parts comedy and musical drama. I think it’s one of those films that grow on you after seeing it over and over again.  Twilight Time did a loving job, honoring this film with a wonderful product that stands out, as it seems to always do.

Audio/Video: 5/5

1080p High Definition 2.35:1
English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

There is nothing wrong with this in audio or video. Both are another shining example of Twilight Time’s skill and mastery in bringing films to these Special Edition Blu-ray’s. Crisp, clear, vibrant.

Extras: 3/5

Isolated Music Track. And you have a multi-of talent on the music in this film, composers of perfection. Alfred Newman, Cyril Mockridge, Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster.

Alfred Newman was another pioneer of music. A composer and arranger and conductor of many, upon many pieces of music for film. The vast array of work under his belt can only show you his expertise at music, from, The Song of Bernadette, All About Eve, The Diary of Anne Frank, How the West Was Won, The Greatest Story Ever Told and many, many more credits to his name. What’s so different and amazing about Newman is, he only wrote music for film. This idea and concept showcases the beauty he had for film and that beauty always showed in the finished product. I have to mention the success of his music was honored countless times, winning an impressive 9 Oscars and being nominated over 40 times.  

Lastly in the music setup, I have to mention Cyril J. Mockridge. He was another composer that new his craft and gave it to the film world in many features, both big and small. He was nominated for an Oscar for 1955’s Guys and Dolls. He also worked on the small screen, doing the music for the sci-fi, cult classic Lost in Space.

You get an Audio Commentary with Actress Shirley Jones and Film Historian Nick Redman. This was another treat for the cinema lover to hear Shirley Jones personally talk about the film. This special feature is worth the buy itself, right along with Nick Redman, which is also always a plus. Redman is a very knowledgeable film historian that one never gets tired of listening to. Hearing both them, is worth the purchase of this Blu-ray.

Original Trailer

Also you get the wonderful booklet written by the film historian Julia Kirgo. Another priceless read from an amazing film lover.


Another wonderful Blu-ray by Twilight Time. Great transfer. High quality product. An old-school gem of cinema that is a wonderful mix of music with comedy and an interaction of drama, through wonderful performance and a tight direction, that comes together to create a memorable piece of film. 


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