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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Jazz > Showtunes > Documentary > Music > Racism > Comedy > Anti-Semitism > BP Supershow: Ella Fitzgerald Live In Australia (1960s/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/The Pleasures Of Being Out Of Step: Notes On The Life Of Nat Hentoff (2013)/When Comedy Went To School (2013

BP Supershow: Ella Fitzgerald Live In Australia (1960s/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/The Pleasures Of Being Out Of Step: Notes On The Life Of Nat Hentoff (2013)/When Comedy Went To School (2013/First Run DVDs)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Ella Fitzgerald Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on DVD players that can the PAL format and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's three new releases worth your time that show us the arts and show business not that long ago and how great it was in work that continues to endure and influence...

BP Supershow: Ella Fitzgerald Live In Australia is a great performance from the TV series that is finally rolling out on DVD (in this case in Import DVDs) running a mere 51 minutes, but featuring the legend belting out classics like Give Me The Simple Life, Heart & Soul, Imagination, Caravan, Cheek To Cheek, Anything Goes, Sweet Georgia Brown, Mack The Knife, Misty, S'Wonderful and many more including a medley as her showmanship and power shine throughout. There can never be enough Ella on DVD or even Blu-ray, but here she is in a must-see performance and fans of her, Jazz, singing and music will love this one.

There are sadly no extras.

David L. Lewis' The Pleasures Of Being Out Of Step: Notes On The Life Of Nat Hentoff (2013) is a program that shows how giant Jazz fan and critic Hentoff became a major force in the growth of the genre by immediately grasping and understanding the music, artists and wrote many key liner notes for some of the most important music ever recorded on some of the most important albums ever made. Ahead of his time and controversial, he, his friends, some former friends and artists are interviewed throughout the maybe too-short 86 minutes that build and grow on you.

It also is a look as journalism at the time, America at the time, the arts at the time, publishing at the time and racism then and now. Andre Braugher narrates and we see rare sides of key artists like Miles Davis and Bob Dylan among many throughout. This one is definitely worth your time to go out of your way for.

Extras include a featurettes on WWII, The New Yorker & Critic To Fan, plus Bonus & Extended Scenes.

Finally, Ron Frank & Mevlut Akkaya have co-directed the very insightful When Comedy Went To School (2013), a documentary hosted by Robert Klein that shows key Jewish roots to American comedy and how vaudeville (among other places) gave way to the Catskills as the premiere place these comics learned their craft and how many of them became influential legends. Running a very funny, smart, pleasant and informative 77 minutes, I wished this one was especially longer and there was more to say, but it is solid for what it is and a must-see work.

Extras include a faux newsreel, Friar's Club Roundtable, The Future Of The Catskills and another featurette.

The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Ella is a bit rough off of older film that could use a little more restoration, but it is still watchable and even has some nice shots, while the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image Nat and School are newer, they have their share of older, rough footage and School is softer throughout than I would have liked. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Ella is also a little brittle and limited, but her singing is amazing and that comes through clearly enough just the same. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Nat is a little better than its lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo counterpart, but not good enough to overall outdo the same type Dolby Stereo mix on School.

To order the Ella Fitzgerald Umbrella import DVD, go to this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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