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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Pop > Industry > Biography > Biopic > Wild On The Beach (1965/Fox Cinema Archive DVD)

Eric Clapton: The 1970s Review (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD)/The Eddy Duchin Story (1956/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Freestyle: The Art Of Rhyme (2004/MVD Visual DVD)/Lou Reed Tribute (MVD DVD Set with Sacred Triangle/Velvet Underground Under Review/Punk Revolution NYC, Pt. 1)/The Strawberry Statement (1970/MGM)/What Price Hollywood? (1932/RKO/Warner Archive DVDs)/Wild On The Beach (1965/Fox Cinema Archive DVD)

Picture: C+/B-/C/C+/C+/C+/C Sound: C+/B-/C+/C+/C/C/C+ Extras: C/C+/B-/C/C-/D/C- Main Programs: B/C+/B-/B/C+ (B- for longer European cut)/B/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Eddy Duchin Story Blu-ray is limited to 3.000 copies, issued as a limited edition is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time and can be ordered from the link below., while The Strawberry Statement & What Price Hollywood? are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from their link below.

A really nice set of music and heavily-music related titles have arrived at once, so we've grouped them together so you can hear all about them...

Eric Clapton: The 1970s Review (presented in an anamorphic 1.78 X 1 aspect ratio) runs 2 hours, 31 minutes and joins a nice long line of Clapton-related releases we have covered over the years that you can find out more about at this link:


This one starts with Clapton trapped in Cream as the other members increasingly start to collide, a problem that had him leaving The Yardbirds to begin with. As it also covers his personal life, addition issues, relationship twists and industry work, it manages to get to his sadly single album as part of Derek & The Dominoes. Layla was just issued as a new all-audio Blu-ray version from Universal dubbed a Pure Music disc, but is it no a 5.1 sound mix release like the terrific 5.1 SA-CD we covered a few years ago at this link:


After that and some other highs and lows, the program deals with his sometimes controversial rise as a solo artist, experiencing the same critique that some other outright rockers were at the time for doing laid back music, no matter how good or popular it was. Well done, this includes some rare footage and is highly recommended.

Extras include contributor biographies, and the Inside The Layla Sessions featurette, running just over 11 minutes.

George Sidney's The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) is a big budget music biopic from a Columbia Pictures on the rise with Tyrone Power in the title role of a pianist trying to get work, respect and a better life with his piano-playing talents. Things lookup when he starts to fall for a socialite (an early star turn by Kim Novak) but no matter how much better the future looks, something happens to set him back. A melodrama with some smarts, James Whitmore has a nice early turn as his agent in a major supporting role and this film holds up better than you might expect.

Sidney (Annie Get Your Gun, the 1952 Show Boat remake, Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas) had a knack for seamlessly melding music and drama, which he proves here to most serious effect. This is a grand drama meant to be a big event picture and though it is not discussed as much as it ought to be, Sony and Twilight Time's Limited Edition Blu-ray more than does justice to an involving love story that goes beyond mere man/woman affairs.

Extras include the Original Theatrical Trailer and an Isolated Music & Sound Effects track that is not as bass-heavy as the film, but has clarity and depth the film can lack in its mixing.

D.J. Organic's Freestyle: The Art Of Rhyme (2004) has been reissued by MVD Visual on DVD, but we got to review it's earlier DVD edition at this link:


Rap may have been in steady decline since this documentary arrived, but it is holding in there due in part to a lack of new music genres or any music excitement. That makes watching this one again most interesting. Fans of the genre will want to put this in their must-see list if they managed to miss it all these years.

Extras are all repeated from the original DVD release include a few trailers, a late night rhyme session, four deleted/additional scenes, and a six-segment section of more freestyling and interviews. I said that some of the latter should have stayed in the main feature and stick with that all these years later.

With his death, Music Video Distributors has issued a 3 DVD set in a box dubbed the Lou Reed Tribute and includes The Velvet Underground: Under Review, Punk Revolution NYC, Pt. 1 (with limited overlap) and The Sacred Triangle, which we reviewed at this link:


The Velvet Underground: Under Review (letterboxed 1.78 X 1) runs a strong 84 minutes and as for extras, includes contributor biographies, a tough quiz on the band and featurette Velvet Reflections. It is very thorough about the early years of the people who became members of the band (not including Nico, who still gets enough of a background, but deserves her own program) and we see how Andy Warhol made them his house band and used his name power to get their roughly-themed debut album signed to a major record label. An all-time classic, The Velvet Underground & Nico (we recommend the Pure Audio all audio Blu-ray Universal just issued in the U.S. to hear it at its best) was a dud and took a while to even get released.

The band left Warhol and Nico behind, developing into their own entity and eventually, legends. Squeezing much into its short length, it has limited overlap with the also impressive Punk Revolution NYC, Pt. 1 (1.33 X 1) running a bit longer at 87 minutes and its extras also include contributor biographies, but add a nice featurette: Anarchy In The UK – The New Yorkers Cross The Atlantic. It points to the VU as they are known as eventual Punk giants, but also tells us about more obscure bands and makes us want to see the Pt. 2.

A fine box set worthy of Reed, it is worth getting as all three main programs alone are worth having.

Stuart Hagmann's The Strawberry Statement (1970) is here because of its relation to some of the other releases here in era and in politics, but seeing the returns on Altman's M*A*S*H and their own Antonioni hit Blow Up (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) MGM backed this film and Antonioni's Zabriskie Point expecting big returns, but despite their ambitions, neither performed at the box office as was hoped. Point has music by The Pink Floyd while Statement manages to have protesters sing the Lennon-McCartney classic Give Peace A Chance in a key scene while also sporting the original hit versions of Helpless and Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Long Time Gone by Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Loner and Down By The River by Neil Young and The Circle Game penned by Joni Mitchell and sung by Buffy Sainte-Marie. If Mike Nichols' The Graduate (1967) was the inspiration, the film is trying to take the music use into a more serious political direction.

Not that we have no comedy here. Bruce davidson is a college student more interested in being jokey, getting his degree, being part of the rowing team and chasing women than anything overtly political, but he pretends to get involved more when he wants to sleep with a protester (Kim Darby) and that eventually gets him involved in the more serious goings on. Arriving around the time of the Kent State Massacre, the film was timely and may not always work, but its attitude, sense of freedom, energy in ideas and ability of being a time capsule without being stale is remarkable, especially in the longer European Cut. The edited version cuts out some agit-prop and takes away from the story (and therefore humanity and character development) of the leads, their friends and why they were protesting to begin with.

Bud Cort, Bob Balaban, Murray MacLeod, Kristina Holland and David Dukes plays some of the many student protesters, while James Coco plays a grocer, Bert Remsen a police officer and historical figures show up in archival footage with some impact. Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler (Point Blank, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Up The Sandbox, Raging Bull, the Rocky films) made this one of their earliest and most ambitious film co-productions ever and the film may not always have major impact, but it is a key work everyone involved can be proud of and one that deserves serious rediscovery. Its honesty, especially in the longer version, is sometimes uncanny and as relevant as ever. If you have never seen the film, this DVD set has both cuts of the film.

A trailer is sadly the only extra.

George Cukor's What Price Hollywood? (1932) is the first and only black and white version of the film he would remake twice (in Technicolor!) as A Star Is Born, but this first version was made at RKO with Constance Bennett as the star on the rise, Neil Hamilton as her sober husband, Lowell Sherman as the big star who gives her her break as he becomes increasingly alcoholic (that role would be the husband in the 3 remakes (see elsewhere on this site) that have happened so far) in a slightly more comical version of the tale that more than holds its own after 82+ years and counting.

Even then, Cukor was a master filmmaker and storyteller, which more than shows in scene after scene and he also knew how to handle talent, juggle it and nurture it. There are some great twists here, some fine pieces of dialogue, a few laughs and more in the kind of film that helped put RKO on the map. This too is a gem everyone should see.

There are sadly no extras.

Finally we have Maury Dexter's Wild On The Beach (1965) trying to be hip by combining comedy and groovy music. The only music act most will recognize is the first appearance on the big screen of Sonny & Cher as themselves playing at a beach house, though The Astronauts are a riot here with their song Speedy Gonzales. That also gives you an idea of how slightly politically incorrect this all is. The story (what there is of it) has a college gal finding out guys are staying at the house she is about to inherit, which could get them all in trouble with the gatekeepers of the campus, so madness ensues until they can get things settled, but a slight battle of the sexes is on the way.

Most amusing about the film is that when it tires to be funny, it rarely works, yet between that, many unintentionally funny moments and its odd ideas about groovy music, there are more than enough howls and chuckles to go out of your way to catch this one. Frankie Randall and Sherry Jackson are the teen leads, while Cindy Malone (playing herself apparently) singing Run Away From Him while a record producer plans to hit on her is a camp classic all in itself.

A trailer is the only extra on this web-only release from Fox Cinema Archives.

Despite being the second oldest release on the list production wise, the 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Eddy may have a print that can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and being the only Blu-ray on this list is the best performer on the list. Originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of the film, you can see in many places how good it must have looked in such copies in this usually solid transfer. Director of Photography Harry Stradling Sr. (My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Johnny Guitar, Hitchcock’s Suspicion, Gypsy) as usual uses the very widescreen frame to its fullest extent, pushed the color to its limits without it ever looking overdone and makes this one of the finest earlier uses of the wider CinemaScope frame. Thanks to Blu-ray, you can see the full compositions and experience their impact.

On the other side, the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Freestyle and black & white 1.33 X 1 image on Beach (which has a note that the image is formatted to old 1.33 X 1 analog TV screens, but looks like a 1.33 X 1 shoot to me) that are just softer than they ought to be (Freestyle looks a little softer than the older DVD, but needs a Blu-ray release) though are watchable enough. Beach has some nice shots at its best. That leaves the rest of the documentary programs from Chrome Dreams with their various aspect ratios falling in between with usually decent picture quality along with the fine 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Price, which has some amazing shots for its time.

As for sound, Eddy offers a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix that has some of the traveling dialogue and sound effects the mix originally designed for 4-track magnetic sound would have had more explicitly had it been available for this release.

That leaves the older dramatic films with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and the newer documentary music releases with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Unfortunately, the sound on both versions of Strawberry and on Price are lower in volume and more compressed than I would have liked.

You can order The Eddy Duchin Story limited edition Blu-ray while supplies last at this link:


and to order either of the Warner Archive DVDs The Strawberry Statement and What Price Hollywood? at this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases, go to:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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