Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Biography > BIopic > All That Jazz (Fox DVD)

All That Jazz


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Film: B



One of the boldest, darkest, autobiographical, self-character studies ever made is Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979); the choreography giants’ very hard look at life and himself.  Roy Scheider stars as a surrogate version of the man, whose drugs, smoking, womanizing, workaholic behavior, and uneven life slowly begin to take their toll.  It is time to put together a new Broadway musical, but will it be commercial enough, and what is the creators’ problem with wanting all that sex?  Why does he land up being so hard on all these dancers?


The film goes much further, very creatively using known songs, then twisting them into the narrative, but there are totally new numbers here too.  Several story points are plotted in while all this is going on, including his relationship to his family, his conflicts with produces about creative control and the ignorance towards anything innovative (if I is even recognized as that), the nature of show business in general, and a reckoning with death.  This is put together so smoothly and in what feels like such a happening, spontaneous way, that it is constantly mesmerizing.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is not bad, but the transfer looks like a later analog one, with some color trouble and the age of the print showing.  This is not always a problem, but does keep creeping up.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround does not offer much surround and is not very Stereo either.  Though this was a co-production between Fox and Columbia, money was only made available for old Dolby A-type analog was used for the film and at the last minute.  It is not on the credits, the trailer, and the Pro Logic makes the sound feel like 3.0 with a Mono spread.  Maybe we cal call that lightly stereo, but that’s it.  Playing it back in 2.0 gave it better base and warmth.  Finding the original Stereo music recordings and using them for a new remix would have been a better idea.


Extras include some scene-specific commentary by Scheider in the supplement, matched to scenes form the film.  The nice thing about this is that, since his commentary is not non-stop, you do not have to scan through the whole film, but it is still not enough to cover each scene completely.  There is also the original trailer, an at-the-time/on-film/on-camera Scheider interview split into three parts, and some clips of Fosse.


Fosse is one of the all-time giants in dance, stage, and was pretty good in film.  Another on-going joke is a mirror-image version of his film Lenny (1974), a stand-up picture featuring Lenny Bruce.  One in-joke is that the original was in black and white, while this version is in color.  Fox issues this on DVD as Miramax has its tremendous commercial and critical success with their film of Chicago that won the Best picture Academy Award.  Director Rob Marshall managed to capture Fosse’s style, but All That Jazz is even closer because it carries with it the weight of dread of its original creator and those who appreciate how well Chicago was done will be impressed with the adultness of this self-portrait.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com