Richard Pryor Collection Uncensored
(1965 - 2021/Time Life DVD Box Set)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Main Programs: B+
Richard Pryor was on a roll in the 1970s, no one knew what he would
say or do next, bold, unhinged in the best way and breaking ground
all over the entertainment industry, his influence and reign cannot
be overstated and yet, it all seemed so logical, natural, spontaneous
and he became one of the voices of the counterculture (and beyond) to
say what everyone was thinking or needed to be said. Many comics
were this smart and witty, but he was one of a kind. You can start
to get the idea of just how he did this with the new 13-DVD set The
Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection Uncensored.
of three volumes,
I want to modify the press release to really give you an idea of the
weight of the contents. You get all four of Richard's full-length
concert films - Live
on the Sunset Strip,
the last three of which were released by Columbia Pictures in a smart
move on their part. The first one is an indie production and the
most intimate of the four. They are all must-sees and hold up well
form the times I had seen the originals back in the day. You also
1977 NBC TV Special and all four controversial episodes of The
Richard Pryor Show,
featuring then-unknown Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Tim Reid,
Marsha Warfield, and more! They are remarkable often and were ahead
of their time.
most memorable TV appearances on The
Merv Griffin Show
(when he was first discovered in the mid-1960s), The
Dick Cavett Show,
Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,
though these copies cut some non-Pryor footage.
feature film, Jo
Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling,
written, produced, and directed by Pryor, another Columbia Pictures
footage from Richard's infamous first film, Uncle
Tom's Fairy Tales,
lost since 1968, hosted by Penelope Spheeris (Wayne's
an unknown filmmaker at the time helping him make this project on
16mm film. It's one of the best parts of this set.
footage of Richard's final performances and a tribute event at The
acclaimed documentary films - Richard
Pryor: Omit the Logic
Am Richard Pryor
including deleted scenes, outtakes, and a no-holds-barred interview
with Richard's widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor and the Logic disc adds
interview clips by Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Willie
Nelson, Quincy Jones, David Banks and David Steinberg
a Collector's Booklet with personal photos, diary entries, tour
notes and more!
as usual for Time Life, the booklet is printed on high quality thick
paper in a high quality way, including excellent picture
reproduction. For the record, here is my coverage of the Omit
is great to see some of this again, though the footage of Pryor in
declining health is painful to watch at times and this all reminds us
of what a key talent, icon and important voice we lost too soon, made
all the more profound by ugly events in recent years. All I could
think of is what he would say about today's political situations and
certain key figures making it worse.
for playback performance. Much of the material here was actually
shot on photochemical film, though many of the TV shows were analog
videotape. All look as good as they possibly can in this format,
though some (like Omit
as noted above) are out on Blu-ray separately from this set.
1.33 X 1 black & white image transfers for the Griffith
episodes look as good as you could expect from such a shot recorded
on analog videotape at the time, though sadly, so few such shows are
out on DVD today. A few original Twilight
episodes shot that way were even upscaled for that classic's Blu-ray
sets, while The
Judy Garland Show
remains the best-looking non-dramatic/scripted such production we've
seen on monochrome tape. Ironically, most Carson
black and white shows are lost and too many other such shows are also
gone. These look fine, especially for their age. Glad these shows
1.33 X 1 transfers of the rest of the talk shows and Pryor's scripted
shows, all in full color, look fine and someone took care of the
video masters in all these cases. Pryor's
his interesting attempt to do a child-friendly show (down to the
title song by Ray Parker, Jr.) looks even better than I expected.
the concert and feature films are here in anamorphically enhanced
1.85 X 1 transfers that look just fine for the format, but these all
deserve Blu-ray and even 4K release at some point. Again, the films
are likely in good shape archive-wise if these discs are any
leaves the new interviews in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1
framing, shot on HD and just fine.
for sound, all the talk shows, his 1977 TV special and series, first
three concert films are here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, the two
documentaries are in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes and the rest are
here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Here
even have old Dolby Pro Logic surround encoding) and maybe you could
get some better sound if these were in a lossless format, the older
programs to about the mid-1970s or so would also possibly show sonic
limits. Time Life have made sure these are as clean and clear as
possible and no major compression issues or flaws are present.
even if many of his other comedy feature films are not here and there
is definitely some footage of him out there in other archives
worldwide, this is a remarkable well-rounded collection and some of
it so vital, it needs to be seen again, rediscovered and relived.
That includes his films with Gene Wilder, with whom they made one of
the greatest comedy teams of all time.
be warned, The
Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection Uncensored
lives up to its name with some extensively graphic, brutal language,
graphic situations, crazy moments and zero room for anything
resembling political correctness... And he would have absolutely
wanted it that way!