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Category:    Home > Reviews > Music > Politics > Cyberpunk > Japan > Punk Rock > Musical > Comedy > Romance > Standards > Pop > Country > Dram > Burst City (1982/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Iggy and the Stooges: From KO to Chaos (1972 - 2004/Jungle/Skydog 7 CD w/DVD Set/*both MVD)/The Harvey Girls (1945/MGM**)/The White Stripes Greatest Hits (2020/Sony CD

Burst City (1982/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Iggy and the Stooges: From KO to Chaos (1972 - 2004/Jungle/Skydog 7 CD w/DVD Set/*both MVD)/The Harvey Girls (1945/MGM**)/The White Stripes Greatest Hits (2020/Sony CD)/Yellow Rose (2020/Sony DVD)/Young Man With A Horn (1950/**both Warner Archive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Harvey Girls and Young Man With A Horn Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the links below.

Next up are a wide-ranging variety of music releases...

An interesting piece on early cyberpunk and Japanese punk bands of the '80s era, Burst City (1982) gets a new life on disc thanks to Arrow video. Set in Tokyo, rival punk bands end up at a Battle of the Bands to protest the construction of a nuclear plant in a futuristic wasteland. Interestingly made from a filmmaking perspective, the film is directed by Sogo Ishii.

Coming from a time when music still had political power (yes, the 1960s lasted into the later 1980s before it all fell apart) and the music industry had its original power together, this was beyond just U.S. record labels and companies, which this film reminds us of as both a time capsule and the power music once had. Even with the film's flaws, it is worth a look and it is great to have it in print.

Special Features:

Brand new audio commentary by Japanese film expert Tom Mes

Brand new interview with director Sogo Ishii

Interview with academic Yoshiharu Tezuka

Original Trailer

Image Gallery

and a Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon.

Next is a 7-CD/1-DVD box set: Iggy and the Stooges: From KO to Chaos (1972 - 2004) has the classic punk band in action over the decades and is the complete Skydog works, an extensive collection of rarities, concerts and other studio acoustic works that fans will want to get immediately, though non-fans might feel a little of this goes a long way. There is overlap with songs like Raw Power, I Wanna Be Your Dog and their cover of Louie, Louie, a song in its original hit version, that was investigated by the FBI.

No matter, there are surprises and other unexpected moments throughout, including a remake of the 1960s Batman theme song you would not likely hear of today. What is impressive is that without any major mainstream hits or pop culture presence, the band and Iggy himself (now showing up in figurine form and on red carpets, as well as in zombie films) never sold out their audience and remained popular enough to still sell records and sell out plenty of concert venues.

The sound is raw and unpolished, but more on that later. It captures things as authentically as possible and is a solid release set overall. The DVD has two shows from two different eras we're lucky were recorded and the only extra is a thick, illustrated booklet with some tech info and fine essays. Glad releases like this keep happening for all kinds of name artists.

George Sidney's The Harvey Girls (1945) is one of the greatest musicals you never heard of, a peak of the MGM machine (led by Arthur Freed' legendary unit) as the title women get involved in food services in restaurants and on trains, led by Judy Garland in one of her greatest moments as one of the sisters. Backed by big money, a great cast and Technicolor cinematography, the films builds into its big highlight number: ''On The Atchison, Topeka and The Santa Fe'' that runs 9 minutes and is one of the most technically complex such sequences in film history.

Loosely based on a true story, it is a comedy romance film with some moments that are a little silly, but it holds up very well for the most part and the supporting cast includes Garland's Oz co-star Ray Bolger, John Hodiak, Preston Foster, Marjorie Main, Kenny Baker, Virginia O'Brien and Angela Lansbury as a protagonist. It is always interesting to watch and now restored, worth visiting and revisiting in this new Blu-ray release.

Extras include three deleted musical numbers (''My Intuition'' and the original and reprise versions of ''March of The Doagies''), Director Sidney's fine feature-length audio commentary track, Scoring Stage Sessions, Original Theatrical Trailer and a stereo version of ''On The Atchison, Topeka and The Santa Fe'' that is authentic, sounds great and was possible because, despite stereo not being fully developed yet, MGM recorded their sound with several sources to make the music sound great in the final mono mixdown. Those tracks were so good, they could get true stereo out of it and it is remarkable to see and hear.

Duos in music used to be a major staple and were so into the 1980s with Eurythmics, Tears For Fears and Hall & Oates, but not so much since. However, a few fine ones did emerge and the one formed by Meg White and Jack White was as exciting as any of them. The White Stripes Greatest Hits (2020) has arrived, including on CD which we are reviewing here and include al their hits and fan favorites. This includes:

1. Let's Shake Hands

2. The Big Three Killed My Baby

3. Fell In Love With A Girl

4. Hello Operator

5. I'm Slowly Turning Into You

6. The Hardest Button To Button

7. The Nurse

8. Screwdriver

9. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground

10. Death Letter

11. We're Going To Be Friends

12. The Denial Twist

13. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

14. Astro

15. Conquest

16. Jolene

17. Hotel Yorba

18. Apple Blossom

19. Blue Orchid

20. Ball And Biscuit

21. I Fought Piranhas

22. I Think I Smell A Rat

23. Icky Thump

24. My Doorbell

25. You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)

26. Seven Nation Army

Like any such set from a great music act, the songs are great, they show the growth of the artists and make you realize when they are as good as they were here, they did not have all the commercial success they deserved. Jack White has turned out to be one of the Rock Music's most important artists since proving the genre is not dead by any means and this makes me miss Meg.

As accomplished as musicians as they are singers, the chemistry is terrific and the cover songs (Jack White dares to cover the Bacharach/David classic ''I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself'' as originally sung best by Dionne Warwick and skips changing any gender concerns on Dolly Parton's classic ''Jolene'') while Jack's originals are often remarkable in themselves. The world has not totally caught up with them and having loved their music, music videos and concerts that I have seen (including a Blu-ray that is still out there and highly recommended as well), this is a must-have set if you do not already own the individual albums with these songs.

A paper slip with a few photos and limited text is the only extra.

Diane Paragas' Yellow Rose (2020) is a drama about a young Filipino American lady (Eva Noblezada) who lives in one of many small Texas towns and loves music. More interesting, she loves Country Music and wants to be a performer in the honestly still white-dominated (and potentially white nationalist) genre. The details and debate on that are a separate essay, but it obviously looms over the narrative, no matter who likes it or not, unavoidable, but there.

Unfortunately, the script is a bit formulaic and though the lead tries to carry all of this, I was not convinced of this all the way through and did not think it added up as much as it could have in its 84 minutes. The makers are sincerely trying, but at least it was ambitious and to=ok both itself and its audience seriously.

Trailers are the only extra.

Finally, we have Michael Curtiz's Young Man With A Horn (1950) which is a melodrama, enough of a dark film to be a Film Noir, a film that dares to deal with racism in the midst of everything else and is still a backstage musical. Kirk Douglas is a musician whose life is affected by alcoholism ultimately in a script that tells us his whole life story from childhood!

With only a few conventions and a little predictability, it is a music film, but also wants to deal with class division to its credit. Part of this is achieved by the two women in his life. There is the singer played by Doris Day in one of the grittiest films she ever made and then he falls for Laurel Bacall in one of her boldest performances. Having them on the screen together is always interesting here, especially because you would never expect such a pairing, then their work with Douglas has all kinds of chemistry (sexual included) and is also something to see.

If you accept it as a musical, then it is one of the darkest of all time and I would not be surprised if it influenced Scorsese's epic, underrated, deconstructionist musical New York, New York (1977) on some level. This is some of the best work of all involved and is now restored and looking great on this new Blu-ray. It is a known film, but deserves a larger audience and this is a great chance for that to happen.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, March 3, 1952 Lux Radio Theater hour-long radio drama adaptation and three classic Warner cartoons: Hillbilly Hare, Homeless Hare and Hurdy Gurdy Hare.

Now for playback quality. Burst City is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a Japanese LPCM Mono mix and English subtitles. The restoration on Blu-ray is top notch as is the norm for Arrow Video and is a great way to experience this obscure movie.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image on Harvey Girls looks as good as anything here, with its exceptional use of dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor is among the best you will ever see and Warner (who owns all MGM films to 1985) has scanned and restored all the remaining original camera materials (including the original three negatives that make the color, we hope they survived, as this looks so good) to create and restore the film to as much of its original glory as possible. Outside of a mint dye-transfer 35mm or 16mm print, you cannot do much better than this.

Though the big musical sequence is in the extras as a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless track, the main film is in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound and it shows its age and sonic limits. Also sounding as good as the film likely ever will, it is warm and clear enough to enjoy. Just don't watch that stereo extra until you see the film.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Horn looks great too, with Warner's lab producing a monochrome that had some gloss to it, but also some grit in a way no other studio did. Considering the mix of genres and ideas in the film, that fits visually well here and this restoration is also first rate. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix makes me wish this was in stereo as well, but the recording is still good, warm, clear and has its vivid moments.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Yellow Rose is a new HD shoot that is not bad, if not particularly memorable or distinct, but composition is not bad and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix can be quiet in nature and dialogue-based, but the music does not sound bad.

The PCM 2.0 16/44.1 sound on the seven Iggy CDs are rough (as expected) and monophonic, or barely stereo throughout, though 1973 and 1974 shows on CDs 2 & 3 were retimed to be sound-correct, but be careful of volume switching and high playback levels just in case. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 DVD has the two shows looking as good as they can in the format and for being low def sources. The sound can also be rough here, but the newer show sounds the best.

And the PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo on The White Stripes CD sounds about as good as anything on this list and the tracks just keep picking up in fidelity as they get newer. Jack White produced all the songs and has an excellent sonic sense we used to hear in music all the time, so it is as good as it can be for the format and is very enjoyable. There is no video in this release.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The Harvey Girls and Young Man With A Horn, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Burst City)



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