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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Family > Piano > Classical > History > Punk > England > Cold War > Folk > Rock > Civil Rig > Bloody Daughter (2012/Ideale Audience/Naxos Blu-ray)/East End Babylon (2013/Cadiz Music/MVD DVD)/Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey (2002/C Major/Naxos Blu-ray)/Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A G

Bloody Daughter (2012/Ideale Audience/Naxos Blu-ray)/East End Babylon (2013/Cadiz Music/MVD DVD)/Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey (2002/C Major/Naxos Blu-ray)/Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A Generation (2012/Kino Lorber DVD)/Jumbo (1962/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Phil Spector (2013/HBO/Warner Archive DVD)/Stan Getz Quartet: Live At Montreux 1972 (Eagle DVD)

Picture: B-/C+/B-/C+/B-/C+/C Sound: B-/C/B-/C+/B-/C+/C+ Extras: C/C+/B-/C/C/C-/C- Main Programs: B-/B-/B-/B-/C+/B-/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Jumbo Blu-ray and Phil Spector DVD are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

This next set of music releases in unusually heavy in the documentary and docudrama department, especially for the labels involved...

Stephane Argerich's Bloody Daughter (2012) might sound like a new horror film, especially coming out for October, but it is actually about two generations of brilliant pianists, the director and her mother, Martha. Both from Poland, we see their lives, how they deal with the director's new baby on the way, their music, their legacy, barely surviving Soviet Communism and their worldly lives in a sometimes brutally honest, shockingly open 94 minutes that are more intimate than most would expect.

It is also a portrait of how the arts can affect and even help those who need it, especially when they are able to be such an amazing part of them. Well done and not for everyone, it does take us places we have not been before and is worth a look for those interested and can handle the intimacy.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the main documentary including informative text, while the Blu-ray adds a new concert running 52 minutes.

Some of the same things can be said of Richard England's East End Babylon (2013) telling the story of the rise of the Punk band Cockney Rejects, how they amazingly became a band against many odds from the fall of their industrial town due to Thatcher-era dismantling of the UK's industrial base to managing to get signed to the now defunct EMI records and cutting some very important and influential music in their teens.

The band too is saved from the problems around them to a great extent by art, but they do not get the respect or money they should have initially, have problems with skinheads, they get banned from the BBC and as is apparent from this 104 minutes, were targeted by the Thatcher forces more than anyone interviewed seems to realize including being duped into a TV appearance designed to make them look like troublemakers they were not.

Despite all being in the dark about what exactly transpired (including the director?), this is a valuable chapter in music history that had to be told, is filled with its moments of irony and great music as all the members, relative and friends are interviewed throughout. It also echoes more than a few similar 1980s stories of rollback politics and the dark exploitation that resulted on both sides of the Atlantic. You should see this one at least once.

Extras include a booklet inside the DVD case, while the DVD adds ten featurette clips and an additional band performance.

Yosif Feyginberg's Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey (2002) in yet another documentary, this time telling how at 24 years old, the legendary pianist landed up playing in hr former Soviet Union as part of a cultural exchange that partly came out of the USSR trying to make its next move after the longtime reign and reign of terror of leader Josef Stalin had ended.

This only runs a mere 56 minutes and could have been much longer, especially because there is more to say o the events, but it tells a key story of history and not just of music and talent. That is why it is worth seeing.

Trailers for other Blu-ray concerts and an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text are the only extras, which is odd considering there was so much more room on the disc.

Laura Archibald's Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A Generation (2012) is the last of our documentaries, telling the story of how the Folk Music Movement that backed the Civil Rights Movement came out of that famous locale and not California as is often mistakenly assumed though it still led to what we now know as California Rock and the Singer/Songwriter movement. A series of great interviews, great archive footage, great music and Susan Sarandon narrating one author's work on the subject add up to expanding on this undertold story of art, politics, history and living.

Additional Interviews and and Original Theatrical Trailer are the only extras.

Billy Rose was a very talented writer, music writer and producer who put together many stage spectaculars and this included Jumbo back in 1935. A few decades later, after several attempts to get the rights, MGM landed the film rights and hired Charles Walters' to direct an elaborate version of the musical with original cast member Jimmy Durante as the old head of a circus trying to keep it afloat circa 1900. Released as Billy Rose's Jumbo in 1962, we get an elephant playing the title character, but he script focuses on co-stars Durante, Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Martha Raye and Dean Jagger.

The Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart score is not bad, but none of the songs stuck with me then or now, but at least we get the whole 127 minutes version of the film looking and sounding as good as it has in decades (see more below) and money is on the screen despite how stage bound it is, but there is something flat about how this turns out despite the best efforts of the cast, who seem to be having fun. At least this was an ambitious effort aimed at a family audience, but the Musical was in decline at this point and this film's various problems and limits show why.

Extras in the original overture added to the film where it belongs, an Original Theatrical Trailer, a 20 minutes short black and white film Yours Sincerely which is a mini-musical Warner issued itself with music by Rogers & Hart and in HD, the classic Tom & Jerry Technicolor cartoon short Jerry & Jumbo, which looks great

David Mamet's Phil Spector (2013) is a semi-speculative drama about whether the legendary composer, producer, engineer, songwriter, legend (played here by Al Pacino) killed a lady friend at his mansion. Eccentric and out of the business for most of his recent years, everyone seems willing to convict him in advance, but a lawyer (Helen Mirren) is not so sure and she is ready to defend him as she researches what really happened.

Though we get some Pacinoisms in his performance, Pacino is really good in the title role and Mirren is very convincing as a late arriver in the case who can see how he might not have done the crime. Jeffrey Tambor is the lead lawyer who brings her on the case and the cast is decent, while Mamet's script is thorough in covering the many sides of the case and Spector, giving Pacino some great lines about life, the world and the industry that speaks volumes about more than just this case.

Whether Spector is guilty or not, proven in court or not, Mamet and co-producer Barry Levinson are determined to frame this as a sort of character study while giving us a docudrama and though the result is not perfect, it is intriguing and gives us legitimate sides to consider on the case and the life of the man the media never did. Save being shorter than I would have liked, I very much recommend it.

The only extra is a 5 minute short where the leads and Mamet discuss the telefilm.

Stan Getz Quartet: Live At Montreux 1972 is only the second time we have ever covered a title from Getz in over a decade and runs 62 minutes, but it is a fine show with seven elongated performances including Captain Marvel, Day Waves, Lush Life, Windows, I Remember Clifford, La Fiesta and Time's Lie, but it also captures an exciting, sophisticated, great moment in time for the genre where it had become a sound that was especially fresh and about a better tomorrow with all the joy and energy that goes with that.

You can hear that sound very clearly that became a mainstream sound while still retaining something that made its arrival of a very important moment. I only wish this was longer and wish the disc offered more content.

A paper pullout is the only extras, but you can read more about Getz at this link:


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Bloody and Gould have a mix of old analog footage and new HD shooting, plus some film footage (especially in Gould's case) well edited and complied, but they have the flaws inherent with that and can be a mixed bag, plus some clips have motion blur. Otherwise, they look just fine.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Jumbo should be the visual champ here outright, but the print can show the age of the materials used and softness in more than a few places, yet this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film on home video and easily has the best color of anything on this list. Shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision, there are some fine shots throughout and it looks like some footage is newly printed because the sharpness and color are a little better in many shots than you would get from MetroColor of the time. No dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints of the film were struck as far as we know. Director of Photography William H. Daniels (Some Came Running, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Can-Can, Von Ryan's Express, In Like Flint) uses the very widescreen frame as much as he can, but the film I so stage bound that even an expert like himself could only do so much, yet the sets and use of color are superior.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image in East, Village and Spector look good, but all are a little softer than I would have liked and Spector has less of an excuse because it is an all new HD shoot while the rest are documentaries as well. That leaves the 1.33 X 1 image on Getz on the colorful side, but the analog taping shows detail limits and some halos.

Bloody and Jumbo both feature DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but both have issues. Bloody is a documentary that does feature some good music, but can collapse into monophonic sound, especially in its archive footage when it even has sound. Jumbo has been upgraded from its original 4-track magnetic stereo 35mm release and though the traveling dialogue and sound effects have been retained enough, too much of the non-music sequences were dubbed in post-production and that ages the film a good bit. Sound is also towards the front speakers, but that is the original design as well. Music does benefit from sounding much warmer and clearer than ever.

Getz has regular DTS 5.1 that has some compression to it, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 that is too lite and PCM 2.0 Stereo that is a little flat, so that is just the location audio recorded, but points to Eagle for the attempted upgrades. Gould only offers PCM 2.0 Stereo, but even the package admits some sections are monophonic.

That leaves lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 as the best mixes on East and Spector, plus lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Village which should have the weakest sound here, but it is Spector which is the problem with a serious playback issue as far as clarity and soundfield are concerned, so be careful of volume switching and high levels because it is just not mixed in an optimal way.

To order the Jumbo Blu-ray and Phil Spector DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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