Nine: Memoirs Of A Record Producer by Richard Perry
In The Rain 4K
(1952/MGM/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B-/B & C/B Sound: B-/B &
C+/B- Extras: C-/C/B Book: A- Main Programs: B/C+/A-
are four new releases celebrating classic music, musicals and more...
music acts who only have a few hits in the U.S. sometimes tend to be
much bigger overseas, including Cliff Richards, Split Enz, Crowded
House, Slade, Madness, T Rex, Kylie Minogue, Blur, Pulp, 10CC,
Sparks, Jamiroquai, The Jam and even Tina Turner and ABBA. Ahh, the
great music we miss out on, but one group that people still love in
'the states' despite not having many hits since the 1980s are still
riding on their biggest hit ever here.
Thomas Robsahm's a-ha
(2021) is an outstanding portrait of one of the overall best Pop/Rock
bands in the world, who offer even more and have survived the decades
since in their original formation.
Tim Finn and Split Enz in New Zealand, a-ha comes from Norway, where
successful bands worldwide usually are not know to originate despite
hundreds of talented singers and musicians that are more than capable
of turning out great work. The trio is made up of lead singer Morten
Harket, keyboardist Mange ''Mags'' Furuholmen and guitarist Pal
Waaktaar-Savoy, they definitely filled in the space worldwide the The
Police left as a Rock Trio when that band broke up and no matter how
many times they took breaks or broke up, save in the U.S. oddly and
never-long-enough 109 minutes starts with them working recently live
and in studio, as we discover they have their occasion conflicts, but
we also discover their instant chemistry and how quickly anything
they work on can meld well together, when they do not hit a personal
or creative snag. When things go well and it took forever for them
to get to where they became a worldwide success, then they are in
they have some personal things to deal with too, but under the
circumstances, I'd say they did very well and handled things a little
better than they might think. Still, they lived the pain and manage
to get the good and bad into their music. After an earlier hit
version of Take On Me, then the newly recorded international megahit
everyone now knows, they continued to have hits like The Sun
Always Shines On T.V., Blue Skies, Train Of Thought,
the title track from Hunting High and Low, I've Been Losing
You, Cry Wolf, Stay On These Roads, Touchy!, Crying
In The Rain, Dark Is The Night, Summer Moved On,
Minor Earth Major Sky, Forever Not Yours, Lifelines,
Foot Of The Mountain, Shadowside and the title song to
Timothy Dalton's first James Bond film, which also turned out to be
the last hit record John Barry would have from any of his many great
films, The Living Daylights!
is amazing is how many of these songs could and should have been U.S.
hits, but radio stations since the late 1980s seem too often clueless
in this big market, yet the band can still sing as well as they ever
did and they have only become better musicians over time, so to say a
comeback (one involving a new record) is long, long overdue and
cannot happen soon enough. Most people watching this will say the
also have to say I am amazed how open they were with their personal
thoughts and lives, yet it is an honesty that is as authentic as
their music and I love how they also are always willing to take
risks. In all this, they have private lies, side projects and in
many ways, really have not peaked yet.
they remain very beloved the world over including from other music
acts (Coldplay, plus Weezer just remade Take On Me complete
with their own rotoscoped video) and this documentary delivers all
that and much more. Definitely go out of your way for this one!
deleted scenes are the only extras.
you love music and hit records, you know they do not happen by
accident and some people are so good at it, they are giants in
thinking and the making of unforgettable works. For me, there is a
small handful of such artists and geniuses and one of them has penned
a terrific piece about his life's work. Cloud Nine: Memoirs Of A
Record Producer by Richard Perry (2020) is a autobiographic
portrait of one of music's most important producers ever, extremely
well written, detailed and revealing of its subject, sometimes
fearlessly. However, I would expect no less of someone whose work
always stuns and impresses me.
starts with his time growing up, trying to be in the music industry
as a singer, musician and hit song writer. It took a long time as
these things often do, but luckily for us, they di and boy, did they!
as a sample of his hits, think about how successful and
groundbreaking this man has been. The many works include the hit
Stoney End for Barbra Streisand, the song that launched her
into one of the biggest-selling and successful vocalists (especially
female) ever to the point that she is one of the only music artist in
the world whose albums go platinum (1 million copies) on her name the
day of release, he made Ringo Starr's first album Ringo, which
made him the most successful of the four Beatles commercially after
the band broke up (Paul was in retreat, John was doing Yoko's
experimental albums and George was doing his epic mega solo albums
while also doing priceless charity work) and managed to pick up where
Ringo left off with the band.
made the late, great Harry Nilsson's masterpiece solo album Nilsson
Schmillson, a massive critical and commercial success with
several all-time classic hits (Without You, Coconut, et
al) and is a peak work from the legendary singer/songwriter era of
music. He helped put the great Melissa Manchester on the map with
her triumphant solo album Melissa that included the all-time great
hit Midnight Blue, then turned around and did the same for the
underrated Leo Sayer on his Endless Flight album including
hits like You Make Me Feel Like Dancing and When I Need
Who lead singer Burton Cummings made his solid self-named solo album
with Perry that included his international solo smash Stand Tall,
while getting the great a Capella vocal group Manhattan Transfer into
the mainstream, making Diana Ross' Baby, It's Me one of her
greatest of many great albums and bringing back The Pointer Sisters
for his Planet Records label as a hard soul/funk/electronic/New Wave
vocal force for several albums and singles including Automatic,
I'm So Excited, Neutron Dance, Jump (For My Love),
Dare Me and He Turned Me Out from the film Action
making several great albums for Carly Simon, he persuaded the James
Bond producers to bring her in to sing the main titles song for the
1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, the first bond
totally produced by Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli after his co-producing
partner Harry Saltzman left the series, thinking it was finished.
Instead, the film managed to be a big hit and classic Bond film that
finally cemented Roger Moore as Bond, handled competition from a new
film called Star Wars that opened up the same day as it did
and Nobody Does It Better is considered not only one of the
greatest of all James Bond themes, but one of the greatest movie
theme songs of all time!
cannot even get into his work with Patti LaBelle, Rod Stewart, Ella
Fitzgerald, Percy Faith, Johnny Mathis, Art Garfunkle, Syretta, Fats
Domino, DeBarge, Bill Medley, Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Tom Jones,
Julio Iglesias, Randy Travis and Tiny Tim. Fortunately, Perry does
in this great must-read book. Once I picked it up, I could not put
it down and if you love music and music history, plus a rare inside
look at the music and entertainment industry, this is a must-read
Wright's Cyrano (2021) is not only a different take on the
classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac, but one that does away with the
overly-large nose (as Steve Martin's underrated Roxanne (1987)
may have had the last word on that approach) the story is known for
(something the opening shot addresses) and we have Game Of Thrones
star Peter Dinklage as the poet looking for love and wishing he could
attract the attention of the damsel he will ghost-write love letters
for a friend of his over.
bigger unexpected twist here is that this is a musical, so that's two
big risks and the results are mixed. The missing nose is not a
problem and the songs work at the time, but none of them really stuck
with me. The money is on the screen in the form of the production,
one of the best looking of the last few years no doubt, but it needed
just a few more something extras to really push this over ands it
does not quite get there. Granted the supporting cast including
Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Ben Mendelsohn fit together
and meld well with everyone and everything else. Still lensed better
than most of last year's big screen musicals that all seemed to be
box office misses, you'll really have to see this one yourself to see
if it works for you or not.
they were this ambitious and tried this hard, though.
Copy and a Making Of featurette entitled An Epic Adventure are
the only extras.
classic is back and better than ever. Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's
Singin' In The Rain 4K (1952) has been restored so well, I
have a feeling no one has seen it look this good in many, many years
or only very few have. My third time reviewing it, I originally
tale of Hollywood going from the silent to sound era, is a comedy and
includes many past classic MGM hit songs including the ever-present
tune that became the title of this film. Debbie Reynolds and Donald
O'Connor also have some prime moments co-starring, but everyone is
good here and for many, this has become the greatest musical ever
because it grasped the essence of what made the genre come alive to
begin with. I may not think it is the greatest, but it is up there
and has aged very well.
its done more than age well, but plays like a pristine, lost negative
of the film that somehow survived for seven decades. It is also one
of those rare films that has not only survived and become better with
age, but even I think it is more of a classic than even I thought.
Donald O'Connor is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this 4K
version because he was always great in this film, but this time, you
can see smart, ingenious little things he is doing here you miss in
the 4K edition in his comic timing and just his general spirit. It
is also great to see Debbie Reynolds at the top of her game here,
especially since we sadly lost her since we last covered the film.
in a changing world of technology, this tale of how sound and color
came to the movies and the movie musical (Cyd Charisse puts this
whole film over the top just when you don't know where it will go
next, looking like a million dollars, as usual!!!) has a new charm in
a world flooded with digital video, digital audio and technology that
dates much too quickly.
film within the film mocks the first full color musical, The
Dancing Pirate (1936) which just arrived on video; learn more
about it at this link:
Kelly would also make one of his most underrated films with Judy
Garland, simply called The Pirate, which we hope to see on
Blu-ray and 4K soon.
even with his amazing co-stars (yes, that's the actress who played
Aunt Harriett on the 1960s Adam West Batman series hosting the
premiere night in the beginning of this film) and the studio behind
this 100%, it is still Gene Kelly who goes all out and has to carry
the film to its final crescendo and being in peak form (despite
having a cold the day they filmed the musical number for the title
song!) all the time. That is why, only rivaled by Fred Astaire, he
is world cinema's greatest singer/dancer of all time and Singin'
In The Rain 4K proves this more than ever!
on the Blu-ray with its Original Theatrical Trailer, vintage
newsreels tied to the film, Singin' In The Rain: Raining On A New
Generation featurette and feature length audio commentary on the
film with many of participants in the film including scholar Rudy
Behlmer and a Jump-To-Sing feature.
for playback performance. The
2160p HECV/H.265, 1.33 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra
High Definition image on Rain
was a very painstaking restoration that took many elements that had
been produced over the years, some of which survived fortunately well
as some of the original three-strip 35mm Technicolor negatives were
lost in sections as they caught fire in 1976 and as you know, all
nitrate film is made with gun powder, so if they catch fire, its hard
to stop them from going up in flames.
one-time MGM catalog owner Ted Turner, then current owner Warner
Bros. themselves have been taking care of the film since and that has
all added and up pays off big time in this new 4K restoration that is
so amazing, even I was shocked, amazed and impressed how good this
film looked in its biggest, fanciest moments. You can see the color,
detail and money big time, looking so great, I never knew the film
looked this good and I have been seeing it, its best copies and best
images in books and magazines for decades since I was a little kid.
My jaw actually dropped when the musical numbers kicked it, looking
as good as the recent Wizard
Of Oz 4K
and certainly upping the ante in getting all great color film
musicals restored to their optimum best, like a very expensive 35mm
film print used for rare, special occasions, to say these moments are
demo shots for an 8K Ultra HDTV is an understatement!
has been restoring all the classic, brilliant Kelly musicals for a
while now, especially through an amazing series of Warner Archive
reissues on Blu-ray, but Rain
towers over all of them, one of the greatest films of all time,
musical or otherwise, can now more than speak for itself when it
looks this stunning in 4K. I cannot strongly recommend this for all
serious movie and 4K fans and those images have just stuck with me
the last few days in the best possible way.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the regular
Blu-ray seems to be a repeat of the older Blu-ray we reviewed a few
years ago, but it just seems a little less colorful and sharper than
that one, though both cannot compete with the 4K version by any
means, so any issues and differences are minimal and mute.
4K version is ultimately a total representation
of a dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of the film and
easily one of the best of a great year for such releases.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix from the older Blu-ray is
repeated here and might sound a tad better, so this is as good as the
film will ever sound.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on a-ha combines
new HD-shot interview footage with older film and sometimes older
digital and HD footage, plus plenty of NTSC and PAL analog video. In
those cases, flaws can include video
noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, staircasing,
cross color, faded color and tape damage, but they are rare.
Sometimes, the footage available is not the best (the video for their
James Bond title theme The
Living Daylights needs
upgraded) while the music videos look good, including (of course)
Take On Me.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes are fine
for a documentary with plenty of old and new interviews, but the 5.1
mix is a bit better and the music sound a little better that way as
well, so it was my preferred choice after comparisons. Wish all
their albums would be issued in 12-track, 5.1 and lossless sound!
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Cyrano
is the only all-digital and all-HD production here and it looks
pretty good here, enhancing the amazing production design, sets,
costumes, locales and cast, feeling period without ringing false.
Color, depth and detail make it one
of the better HD shoots of late. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1
lossless mix plays like a good mixdown of a 12-track soundmaster and
is fine for what it is, but I wished this were in DTS: X or Dolby
Atmos. It is well recorded and engineered, music numbers and all.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD version is a little
softer than it should be, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixdown
is passable at best, making me wish al the more for a 4K edition.