Beatles: Made On Merseyside
(2019/Film Movement DVD)/Creating
Libre DVD)/Der Freischutz
(2015/Naxos/Unitel/CMajor 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Footlight
Archive Blu-ray)/The Peter
(2019/Umbrella Import Region Free PAL DVD Set)
Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: C/C/X/B/C+ Sound: C/C/B/C+/C+
Extras: D/C-/C/C+/C Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/C+/B+
Peter Allen Collection
Import DVD set is now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia and can only play on all Blu-ray, DVD and
4K players that can handle the PAL DVD format, while the Footlight
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
our new set of music releases for you to know...
start with two music documentaries that have hardly any original
music on the subjects they cover. The
Beatles: Made On Merseyside
(2019) that attempts to examine the 'origins;' of the and in 87
minutes and they do get some interviews in with people who were
there. I even liked some of the older stock footage, but the
unexpected oddity is Pete Best interviewed. He was the drummer
dropped for Ringo and we have heard many stories of why, including he
was too quiet, they needed someone else they got along with or snide
comments about his talent.
revelation here is that his mother kept calling the band's legendary
manage Brian Epstein and driving him crazy, asking him to death what
he'd do for the band (aka her son) next and when. That meant soon.
Thus we learn Best's mom being annoying may have been the final straw
in why they dropped him and recruited Ringo Starr. Sad.
are no extras.
(2019) interviews many of the people involved in the beginning and
even a musician or two about the legendary event a half-century later
and we learn the sponsors wanted to open a recording studio and also
landed up with a concert idea whose profits would pay for it.
Needless to say it did not work out that way, though the studio was
eventually built. That's the only new thing we really get after
seeing so much on this subject and it reminded me that the actual
concert movie (and its additional 16mm footage for that matter) are
overdue for a 4K release.
111 minutes, it covers much of what we already knew and not always
with the best stock footage, but its worth a look for diehard fans
and very curious. We get five additional clips as the only extras
including a good interview with Arlo Guthrie and how the posters were
(2015) is a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of what is one of the first 4K
classical stage recordings with the great Christian Thielemann
conducting this 143 minutes version of Weber's melodramatic opera
with the Dresden Staatskapelle in which no less that Satan himself
shows up to get anyone to sell their soul. The singing is fine, the
sets and lighting appropriate to the subject matter and the show
never drags much, but you still need to have some patience to get
through this one.
is the first time we've covered any version of this work and is as
high quality an introduction to it as is out there, especially with
Thielemann at the helm. Despite minor visual flaws (see below), it
is an early 4K program and worth seeing if you can handle the length.
An illustrated, multi-lingual booklet on the opera is the only extra
and is included in the 4K case.
(1933) was an early sound hit for Warner Bros. that people still talk
about, the the Backstage Musical has aged oddly and I was never a big
fan of Dick Powell, despite his talent. Here, the musical stage is
threatened by the huge success of talking pictures, which include
musicals, so James Cagney plans to make a live show so good, people
will skip movie palaces to see it. An amusing premise, he is joined
by Joan Blondell as the smart-alecy best with Ruby Keeler in more
Berkeley actually directs the musical numbers, so the film goes
between its comedy/drama and these more elaborate sequences, but the
transitions do not always go smoothly. Still, it is much easier to
enjoy in this new restoration form a new HD master and I have never
seen it look or sound this good.
include four classic cartoons, two vintage featurettes, an Original
Theatrical Trailer and more recent featurette on the film: Footlight
Parade: Music For The Decades.
we have the double DVD set The
Peter Allen Collection
that repeats The Boy From Oz documentary DVD we reviewed at this
Jackman (Wolverine/Logan from the now dead X-Men
films) had a huge run playing Allen on the stage musical of the same
name (and might do it again, he includes some numbers in his own
one-man show) and Allen is still admired to this day. Umbrella has
added a second DVD that is a rich compilation of his TV performances
over the years that runs about 2.5 hours (!) and includes some of his
appearances with his brother (they started out as a music duo before
he went solo in the 1970s) and we saw some of this from their
appearances on a Bandstand
with Brian Henderson episode
from 1967 with Peter's future wife Liza Minnelli:
divorced when Allen became more public about his sexuality, but the
Allen Brothers appeared on the Bandstand
show as far back as 1962/1963 and we get about 10 clips of this, then
the disc adds Allen solo on several appearances on the great Don
(reviewed extensively elsewhere on this site) and on the Midday
Show with Ray Martin
(1990, 1991) before his untimely death from AIDS. This is a great
DVD set for fans who have not seen much of him or those who saw the
stage musical and might only have some CDs, LPs or seen a few clips
online of his work. He also is interviewed in between some songs, so
serious fans should get this set. Nice work again from Umbrella.
are only extras on the first disc already reviewed.
2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.78 X 1 (no HDR; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra
High Definition image on the Freischutz
disc should be the runaway visual champ here and has some nice shots
with fine color, but it also comes up short in spots with motion blur
and a lack of detail, which is typical of the three 4K live releases
we have covered so far. Yes, this is better than just a plain 1080p
Blu-ray, but not overwhelmingly so. The sound is not 12-track, but
choices between a very good DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.0 lossless mix
and PCM 2.0 Stereo that is not bad, but not as good as the 5.0 mix
with its more detailed soundfield.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Parade
is a brand new HD master from the best 35mm materials in the vault
can can compete with anything on the list, looking good and rarely
showing its age. Fans will be impressed.
1.33 X 1 image on the two Allen
DVDs look pretty good, though the older footage from 1960s TV is
definitely not as sharp or clear. Otherwise, it all looks good down
to the color footage from 1990s TV video footage before his passing.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Beatles
documentaries is rougher throughout with footage (film and video0
often second generation or worse, tying for poorest performance on
the list. All three releases suffer the usual visual issues for such
programs such as analog videotape flaws including video noise, video
banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, PAL & NTSC cross
color, faded color and tape damage. Its just that the Allen footage
is first-generation and more professional throughout.
for sound on the rest of the releases, Parade
MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound that better than the DVDs
here, though the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and 2.0 Mono on the
DVDs can come close at times. The Beatles
documentaries have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound that is barely
stereo, has audio issues and location audio flaws where applicable.
Mixing sometimes has flaws that makes the music too loud or
interviews too soft, so beware.
Peter Allen Collection
Umbrella Import APL region free DVD set, go to this link for it and
other hard to find releases:
to order the Footlight
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: