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Criterion Television Classics: I Love Lucy

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No I Love Lucy TV tribute has captured the appeal of Lucille Ball’s first, best sitcom alter ego as magnificently as this disc, released to mark the 40th anniversary of Lucy‘s debut. One side features two complete shows, ”Job Switching” (the one with the chocolate-candy conveyor belt) and ”Lucy Does a TV Commercial” (remember Vitameatavegamin?), with ghastly Lucy ‘n’ Ricky cigarette ads intact. Though these restored framing segments look ragged, the rest is reproduced in tones so strikingly dimensional they seem absolutely immediate, a vast improvement on the dated, bleached-out look of syndicated reruns.

Alternate audio tracks feature delightful snippets of old interviews with Ball and Arnaz, plus new recollections from the surviving cast and creators. Another section contains several thousand still frames of text and pictures interspersed with full- motion clips that function as talking illustrations. It’s a luxurious package, a working Lucy museum. A+

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