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 > Comedy > Skits > Stage > Music > Broadway > Gilda Live (1980/Warner Archive DVD)

Gilda Live (1980/Warner Archive DVD)


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



Gilda Radner is a great comic talent who has been forgotten more than I and other fans might like.  Her feature film career did not work very well and her Saturday Night Live work cannot be available enough, but one film she made that is inarguably good (maybe he best) is only just now coming out on DVD many years later than it should.  Making it odder, the film was directed by no less than Mike Nichols (The Graduate) and is one of his least-seen films.  Now, Warner Archive, the on-line exclusive arm of Warner Home Video has issued Gilda Live from 1980.


A nicely-filmed version of her Broadway show of the same name directed on stage by Producer Lorne Michaels, it is a solid filmed record (versus analog videotape from TV) of some of her best characters from the original SNL and is a terrific show that holds up very well for its age.  Of course, Miss Radner is joined by some other familiar faces (even a pre-David Letterman Paul Schaffer) and the in-between segments are of Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci.


But it is Radner who shines as the center of just about every skit and though it was not the big hit it should have been in theaters at the time, it is a priceless records of a dynamic, ingenious talent lost far too soon.  Her Roseanna Roseannadanna was iconic, while Candy Slice, a constantly drinking & drugging punk rock singer practically straight out of the original CBGB’s is ahead of its time.  That’s Paul Schaffer announcing her, future film music composer Howard Shore and one-time boyfriend and great guitarist G.E. Smith (also an SNL alumni) in her backing band.  Then here is her “girl group” Rhonda & The Rhondettes; a real riot and many others.  If you have the SNL sets, this is a must-own DVD.  If you have never seen it, it is a must-see for anyone serious about comedy.


The show had a long list of great writers including Radner, Shafer, Alan Zweibel and the late Michael O’Donoghue (Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video is reviewed elsewhere on this site) who also died too soon from that bas%#$! cancer.  It is an event that should be rediscovered when some of the most important comic talents of all time came together and created a golden moment for everyone to see.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image was shot all on stage in 35mm film and looks pretty good here in what seems to be a new transfer.  I would have liked it to be sharper and I did see this back in the day in 35mm in theaters, so I know how good this can look.  Maybe a Blu-ray will eventually be issued.  Director of Photography Ted Churchill eventually moved onto becoming one of the early and most prominent Steadicam operators in the business on films like The Shining, The Right Stuff, Ghostbusters, Scrooged (O’Donoghue’s last major scripted film) & Scorsese’s The King Of Comedy and panaglide operator on the likes of Risky Business and Purple Rain.  This was a very talented man and here, he makes what could have been a bad-looking film of a stage show come alive and really capture the energy all around.  His record and his knack with the camera speaks for itself.


The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono is a little weaker and more disappointing than I expected, especially since music is a prominent feature of the film.  There are sadly no extras.



You can order this and other Archive releases at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com