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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Art > Artist > Music > Rock > Pop > Concert > Politics > Musical > Broadway > Standard > Arcade Fire: The Reflector Tapes (2017/Universal Music/Eagle Blu-ray Set)/Bells Are Ringing (1960/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Gimme Danger (2016/Iggy Pop/Sony DVD)/Go Johnny Go! (1958/Sprocket Vault/V

Arcade Fire: The Reflector Tapes (2017/Universal Music/Eagle Blu-ray Set)/Bells Are Ringing (1960/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Gimme Danger (2016/Iggy Pop/Sony DVD)/Go Johnny Go! (1958/Sprocket Vault/VCI DVD)/Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2015/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Miss Sadie Thompson 3D (1953/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

3D Picture: B+ Picture: B-/B/C+/C+/B-/B Sound: B/B/C+/C/B-/B- Extras: B/C+/D/B-/B-/B Main Programs: C+/B-/B-/B-/B-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Miss Sadie Thompson 3D Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while Bells Are Ringing is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Here's a strong new set of music releases....

Arcade Fire: The Reflector Tapes (2017) is the new double Blu-ray set of the longtime Canadian band Eagle has issued for Universal Music. The band is getting new press as this comes out for their ''I Give You Power'' duet with singing legend Mavis Staples, so the set itself is an instant curio for the band that's been around since 2001, but only had so much success in the U.S. market. Tied in with the album of the same name, the documentary gives a good, if not always coherent look at the band now. They are at least ambitious and you can see why their distinctiveness has gained them a permanent Rock/Pop fanbase.

However, I think the concert actually makes the more powerful statement and left me with a fine impression about their talent, energy and that they are far from being any kind of legacy act anytime soon. Canadian musicians tends to be underrated when they even get identified as such and I thought the total portrait the set gives us is about as full and well rounded as it could be, save some abstractions. If you want to know about the band, this is a fine place to start.

Extras include the concert if you want to count it as that as we do and five bonus music performances.

Vincente Minnelli's Bells Are Ringing (1960) is a later MGM musical with the great Judy Holliday as a lone gal working for an answering service who lands up getting more involved with the clients' personal problems than she ought to. Her boss (a fine supporting performance by Jean Stapleton) tries to keep things as professional, but a music guy (Dean Martin in an unusual turn) lands up getting as interested in her and this leads to all kinds of problems... and subplots.

There is humor about class division, love, loneliness and the arts courtesy of Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jules Styne, making this a bit more modern (and slightly post-modern in its self-reflectivity) than the typical Hollywood Musical to that time, but the older forms had declined with several musical films actually acknowledging such. It takes Martin out of his 1950s mode, making him play more akin to a Gene Kelly, but in as good way, while Holliday can more than hold her own throughout. This has its down moments, while some sections have aged better than others, but the song's are not bad at all and ''The Party's Over'' is a classic in several ways, often referenced even today. I cannot imagine a better film version of the stage musical as MGM goes all out to their credit. In this well-restored Bu-ray with extras, now you can really see for yourself.

Extras include a Making Of featurette Bells Are Ringing: Just In Time, the Original Theatrical Trailer, alternate take of the song ''The Midas Touch'' and outtake songs ''Is It A Crime?'' and ''My Guiding Star'' with the film footage attached.

Jim Jarmusch's Gimme Danger: The Story Of The Stooges (2016) is not the first documentary look at the Punk Rock legend, but it is a fine interview-based look at their story with new insight, great stories, plenty of music and archive footage well paced and assembled throughout. Iggy Pop himself is honest often throughout and never holds back, but I also was surprised by the use of animation during some of the stories. This is usually awful in most such documentaries, but his one has animation that may be simple, but actually looks good and works for a change.

At 109 minutes-long, it could have gone on longer as I know there was more to say and show, but Jarmusch cuts off at the right time, though I bet even he knew this could have been a mini-series with the same approach. He also makes his point how Iggy & The Stooges are one of the most influential music acts of all time.

There are sadly no extras, but here's links to some of our Iggy coverage over the years, starting with this documentary on his work with and connection to David Bowie & Lou Reed...


Plus three great concerts starting with this one that has links to two others...


Paul Landres' Go Johnny Go! (1958) runs as a contrast to the big Hollywood Musicals of the same period as the rising Rock and Soul music if the time just was not getting the big budget, big screen treatment the studios were still giving to showtunes, et al. Nevertheless, this low-budget gem and time capsule has some amazing talent including Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, Jackie Wilson, Eddie Cochran, The Flamingos, Jimmy Clanton, Harvey (Fuqua), The Cadillacs and Jo-Ann Campbell. Soon-to-be Motown Records founder Berry Gordy was still writing for Wilson before starting his immortal record label and added a company Harvey started early on, so there are connections going on throughout all the way to co-star Alan Freed, the DJ who helped break Rock 'N Roll nationwide, followed by worldwide before getting caught up in his own scandal.

That all makes this a special film indeed with a simple, sometimes silly plot, but the music moments more than make up for it and seeing all these legends looking so good and in their element is a real treat. Definitely a film you need you see at least once, it is one of the better films in this cycle of Rock/Soul films that started in the mid-1950s and ended by the early 1960s.

Extras include a fine feature length audio commentary track by Richard M. Roberts, Randy Skretvedt & Brent Walker and the Original Theatrical Trailer.

Lian Lunson's Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2015) arrives on Blu-ray from Lionsgate just weeks after its subject sadly passed on, loaded with new interviews with Cohen, some vintage ones and a long line of fans and fine talent. They include huge fans who truly love the man and his music like Bono, The Edge, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright and others we should know of and hear more of more often. This one runs 103 minutes, but is densely filled with the music, including full-length performance by the artists who love him. They make their point.

It now stands as a timely tribute and great crash course on the underrated, yet influential artist who never got the full credit he deserved and as hard as it is to believe, never even had a huge hit (like he deserved) even during the peak of the singer/songwriter movement of the early 1970s he firmly & squarely was part of. I'm glad this got made because not enough has been said, shown, heard or explored of his work, proving how ahead of his time he was and still is.

Extras include a conversation with Cohen, a feature length audio commentary track by Director Lunson and bonus Cohen performances not in the documentary film.

Curtis Bernhardt's Miss Sadie Thompson 3D (1953) with Rita Hayworth has finally arrived on Blu-ray and in 3D, even if it is a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray. The Technicolor Musical (as discussed in our 2D DVD review of the release) has Hayworth in the title role as the title character, stuck on an island with Marines who are all more than interested in her. Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford played this role as well and Hayworth is also just right for it, trapped in a moral dilemma and between a Sergeant (Aldo Ray) and overly moralistic preacher (Jose Ferrer), this is an odd take on the story, but an interesting film worth revisiting.

Expanded extras in this release include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds a brand new feature length audio commentary track by David Del Valle & Steven Peros, Introduction by actress Patricia Clarkson, Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

As noted in the earlier DVD review, Bernhardt was best known for his Film Noir hit Possessed from 1947, which since then has been issued on Blu-ray which we reviewed at this link...


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Sadie was issued in 3D prints in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and it is likely that such a print or prints were partly used to reproduce this fine 3D transfer that really delivers all the fun intended by the film. The 2D 1080p digital High Definition version is also a fine, color-consistent improvement over the older DVD that was not bad for that format, but nice to see the film arrive in the best possible ways.

Tying the 2D Sadie for second place performance wise is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Bells, which only sometimes shows the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film in a new HD master that shows off the color (MetroColor via Eastman Kodak 35mm color negative film) and money on the screen, shot with CinemaScope lenses. There is not too much distortion either, so cheers to Warner for fixing the film up so nicely.

Tying for third place are the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Fire and Cohen, HD shoots that are not bad, but mixed and on purpose. Fire mixes up all kinds of HD footage, including fake black and white and some purposely degraded and shaky images more than it needed. Looks like there is also some old analog video, like Cohen, which also has archival film footage and some of it authentic black and white.

That leaves the anamorphically enhanced DVDs tying for fourth and last place, but still not bad at all, with the 1.78 X 1 image on the mostly HD-shot Danger better than it would have been in lesser hands than Jarmusch's and the fine black and white 1.85 X 1 image on Johnny from what looks like a fine new print. I doubt they could look much better in the format and look so good that they both deserve Blu-ray releases.

As for sound, Arcade and Bells both offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes (94/24 on the second Arcade Blu-ray, with traveling dialogue and sound effects form the original 4-track magnetic sound) sounding as good as they could possibly be. Arcade has a concert with a fidelity advantage, but the initial documentary is fine. Someone took care of the magnetic soundmaster on Bells and it really pays off here, but the same kind of mag masters on Sadie were not even available, so it is only here sadly in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless sound, but Cohen has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix. However, it jumps from silence, to simple stereo, to location audio to old monophonic archive audio, using its tracks best when we here a classic Cohen song by he or the many artists covering him here.

That leaves the DVDs with Danger offering a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with the same issues as Cohen and Johnny a clean-but-limited and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix that sounds lower than it should. Both would benefit from lossless transfers.

To order the Miss Sadie Thompson 3D limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




...and to order the Bells Are Ringing iWarner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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