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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Adventure > Action > Slapstick > Music > Biography > Music Industry > Crime > Scandal > S > Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 3 (1948 - 1949/Paramount/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me (2019/MVD Blu-ray)/Yesterday 4K (2019/Universal Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray

Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 3 (1948 - 1949/Paramount/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me (2019/MVD Blu-ray)/Yesterday 4K (2019/Universal Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B Sound: C+/B/B Extras: D/C/C+ Main Programs: C+/B/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Popeye Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

The next new releases offer past music from several eras and more...

The new Blu-ray release of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 3 (1948 - 1949) is the first time we have ever looked at any Popeye (animated or otherwise) in High Definition after covering him on a dozen DVD releases over the years. Outside of some good film prints I have been lucky enough to see over many years, this is the best I have seen the character on home video to date (need to catch up with those older sets, black and white classics included) and you can really enjoy them more when you can see them much more as originally intended.

At this point, it was Famous Studios (Paramount's successor to the Fleischer Studios) producing the shorts and though they had fallen into a safe, formula for children of all ages (some political incorrectness included), the quiet victory at this point is that he was still popular post-WWII and represented an Americana that was one of the inspirations for the Allies to win the war effort, so he remained popular for decades to come and these were among the shorts with color TV firmly in place by the early 1970s that syndication played to death, so seeing them looking so good restored is a plus.

Nothing stands out here including at least one song a short, but that was par for the course in so many animated shorts at the time and are fine for what they are, though we get three different color formats (see below) this group was produced in and it is great Warner Archive continues to issue these on Blu-ray. The animators and voice cast are up to the stories energy-wise and this is worth your time if interested.

There are sadly no extras.

Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me (2019) is a remarkable story of one of the great soul vocalists who used to front (but not get credit for) lead singing on all the hits of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, but was not getting his money or credit, despite being at the great record label Philadelphia International Records (aka PIR), so he went solo and had a great run until mysterious bad things started happening to him.

The hits kept on coming as he eventually surpassed his Blue Notes success (Melvin threatened his life not to leave, but he left just the same) and stayed at PIR. The albums and tours were selling big until 1982, when he was in a mysterious car accident where e became paralyzed after wrecking his huge Rolls Royce. Apparently, the brakes 'failed' but until then, he was having the kind of soul success previous encountered by Al Green (who found religion around that time) and Marvin Gaye (who had a falling out with Motown and was just about to make his comeback) so he was on such a roll, he would have been joining Prince and Michael Jackson on the charts.

Family members, band members, backup singers, industry people and the great, legendary writing team of Gamble and Huff are among the interviewees added to all the great vintage film and video footage from various archives that make this one of the must-see music documentaries of the year.

We also have the only recording (live) of Pendergrass singing a song that could have been a huge hit for him had he cut and released it as a single, Lionel Ritchie's ''Lady'', which became a big across the board hit for Ritchie's friend Kenny Rogers, though both could have had big hits at the same time on it. Too bad things ended sooner than they should have, though Pendergrass had a solo comeback and a few more hits before his injuries caught up with him fatally. No one has been charged with murder of any kind, though there are no statute of limitations on murder.

The only glaring omission is his hit duet with a new solo singer just starting out in the business: Whitney Houston. ''Hold Me'' did well and even had a music video, plus it was a remake of a solo song that Diana Ross had just cut for her 1982 album Silk Electric under the title ''In Your Arms'' and was not a hit single. It was his last pop chart triumph.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, additional interviews (including musicians who worked with Pendergrass), 5 deleted scenes and ''Wake Yup Everybody'' dance sequence.

Finally, we have Danny Boyle's Yesterday 4K (2019) which he made after his falling out with the James Bond producers (taking one big 1960s 'B' over another, but I doubt he'll be making a Batman film anytime soon) is a one-joke movie where an ambitious musician who loves music and The Beatles (Himesh Patel) and discovers when he wakes up one day that the band never existed. At first, he thinks it is an elaborate gag, but soon learns something else is going on. But what?

Suddenly, he can perform their songs and claim he created them, which starts to go over so well that a greedy music promoter (the great Kate McKinnon as funny as ever) wants to sign him and put him over the top. He is falling for his girlfriend (Lily James) and starts to wonder if this is going to all work out.

Well that can be amusing and if you love the band's music or go for the approach, you'll like this film more than I did, but instead, it is an alternate universe take on The Beatles like the spoof The Rutles (reviewed elsewhere on this site) that I liked better, but you still have to be in the mood for since it is not for everybody. Ed Sheenan, the U.K.'s top music writer and arguably biggest new act (save Adele) is here playing himself, but that did not add much to it except for being another gag. Now out in the 4K format, see it if you're really interested or skip it and I did not think it worked as a romantic comedy either.

Extras (from the press release in part) include an Alternate Opening, Playing for Real - The re-interpreting of the Beatles songs was a huge undertaking for newcomer Himesh Patel. Learn how he spent months learning to play the songs perfectly as the production decided to take the more challenging route of recording the musical numbers live on set. Soul Mates - Beyond the music and the laughs, the film is, of course, a love story. This piece looks at the relationship between Jack & Ellie and the actors playing them. A Conversation with Richard & Ed - Long-term friends Richard Curtis and Ed Sheeran have a funny and informal chat about the making of YESTERDAY, Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen - Acting in his first major role, Ed Sheeran reflects on his experiences making the movie, Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon - Kate McKinnon shares how eager she was to play the role of "Debra Hammer" while the cast and crew reflect on the fun and energy that the queen of improvisational comedy brought to the set and Gag Reel on the 4K disc, plus an Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Corden & Roxanne - Includes deleted performance by Himesh Patel ''Something'', Late for School, Nutters Italian Ice Cream, Sortisimus, Moscow Audience, Alexa, A Gonk, W Hotel, Jack Calls Ellie, Hilary in the Mirror, Nick and Carol and Hazel's Selfie. Live at Abbey Road Studios - Watch Himesh Patel perform "Yesterday", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", and "Let it Be" at Abbey Road Studios, "Yesterday", "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Let it Be". A Talented Duo - Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle, two of the most successful British filmmakers, team up for the first time and a Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, HDR (10+; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the HD-shot Yesterday is the best performer here, if not by a huge margin, with better color and more warmth than the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray, which is a little duller by comparison.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Teddy can show the age of the vintage materials used, like old analog NTSC videotape and some film clips that could use some work, but other footage looks better and new interviews and footage are HD-shot.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Popeye can also show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the short animated films. The ones that were originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor have the best color and an edge in color range, but we get some older 2-strip Cinecolor shorts (sometimes these were issued to save money while the actual short was produced in better color, but apparently not here) and the rarely used but interesting Polacolor by Polaroid (different from their later Polavision home movie film format, in its Super 8 size), the latter two less expensive than Technicolor.

This is the best I have ever seen non-Fleischer Popeye cartoons look, though high quality, these late 1940s shorts are no match for the originals, yet have more money in them than the underrated 1960s TV color shorts. Its great these films have been restored as best as possible and I hope all the theatrical animated shorts series get the same respect and treatment, especially since they tend to look better than most people have seen them in decades.

As for sound, both discs of Yesterday offer Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) which works best for the music, of course, but also arena scenes, though as usual, Boyle does dialogue-based work and we get plenty of that here.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Teddy is loaded with interviews and vintage audio, but when the music kicks in, this sounds good. I should add that sometimes, the music sounds exceptionally strong and made me wonder where the lossless audio releases 0of his work is digitally.

Popeye has DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes for all 17 shorts offered, but they are older theatrical optical monophonic sound and show their age, yet this is the smoothest, cleanest and clearest we are ever likely to hear them. I cannot imagine them sounding much better.

To order the Warner Archive Popeye Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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