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    $20.97 $18.95 list($29.95)
    1. The Phantom of the Opera (2-Disc
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    2. The Phantom of the Opera (Full
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    3. The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen
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    4. The Quick & Dirty Guide to
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    20. The Unanswered Question - Six

    1. The Phantom of the Opera (2-Disc Special Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $20.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNL0
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 10
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    2. The Phantom of the Opera (Full Screen Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $19.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNIS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 57
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    3. The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $20.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNII
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 241
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Amazon.com

    Although it's not as bold as Oscar darling Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera continues the resuscitation of the movie musical with a faithful adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster stage musical. Emmy Rossum glows in a breakout role as opera ingénue Christine Daae, and if phantom Gerard Butler isn't Rossum's match vocally, he does convey menace and sensuality in such numbers as "The Music of the Night." The most experienced musical theater veteran in the cast, romantic lead Patrick Wilson, sings sweetly but seems wooden. The biggest name in the cast, Minnie Driver, hams it up as diva Carlotta, and she's the only principal whose voice was dubbed (though she does sing the closing-credit number, "Learn to Be Lonely," which is also the only new song).

    Director Joel Schumacher, no stranger to visual spectacle, seems to have found a good match in Lloyd Webber's larger-than-life vision of Gaston LeRoux's Gothic horror-romance. His weakness is cuing too many audience-reaction shots and showing too much of the lurking Phantom, but when he calms down and lets Rossum sings "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" alone in a silent graveyard, it's exquisite.

    Read our CD buying guide
    Those who consider the stage musical shallow and overblown probably won't have their minds changed by the movie, and devotees will forever rue that the movie took the better part of two decades to develop, which prevented the casting of original principals Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Still, The Phantom of the Opera is a welcome exception to the long line of ill-conceived Broadway-to-movie travesties.

    DVD Features
    The two-disc edition of The Phantom of the Opera has two major extras. "Behind the Mask: The Story of The Phantom of the Opera" is an hourlong documentary tracing the genesis of the stage show, with interviews by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Harold Prince, producer Cameron Macintosh, lyricists Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart, choreographer Gillian Lynne, and others. Conspicuously absent are stars Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. Both do appear in video clips, including Brightman performing with Colm Wilkinson at an early workshop, and Crawford is the subject of a casting segment. Other brief scenes from the show are represented by a 2001 production. The other major feature is the 45-minute making-of focusing on the movie, including casting and the selection of director Joel Schumacher. Both are well-done productions by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group.

    The deleted scene is a new song written by Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, "No One Would Listen," sung by the Phantom toward the end of the movie. It's a beautiful song that, along with Madame Giry's story, makes him a more sympathetic character. But because that bit of backstory already slowed down the ending, it was probably a good move to cut the song. --David Horiuchi

    More on The Phantom of the Opera


    The Phantom of the Opera (Special Extended Edition Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack) (CD)

    The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast) (CD)

    Evita (DVD)

    Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration (DVD)

    Visit the Andrew Lloyd Webber Store
    ... Read more

    Reviews (659)

    5-0 out of 5 stars RJ from Blacksburg, VA
    Excellent!!The movie is much better than the Broadway production - better character development, better acting, better singing.Madame Giry is a much more intriguing character in the film.Christine's attraction to the Phantom is more understandable and believable. Plus, we get to see the Phantom's past and why he is the way he is.

    In response to the comment about the sword fight:The Phantom would know very little about fencing because he's lived alone beneath an opera house all his life.You must practice fencing to become good at it.

    All of my family members (ages from 10 to 47) highly recommend the film version of The Phantom of the Opera.(good music, comedy, suspense, romance, lavish costumes and sets)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, great transfer to DVD
    I am not going into a long detailed explination of the script, acting, or performances, they are all what the producers wanted, and it all works very well, the film is gorgeous to look at, and the transfer to DVD is the best I have seen so far, it even surpasses the Lord of he Rings trilogy, and that is saying something, the effect is so good it's three dimentional (an almost impossible task when viewed on a 73" screen), my one gripe, and it's a big one, is intelligibility. or rather the lack of it, there was a time when film studios and record companies went to great lengths to make sure every word could be understood, in recent years this is a rarity, this film has far to much of the massed voices recorded so that way to much of it can't be understood, considering the quality of todays recording equipment, I find this to be a disapointment, if not downright disgraceful, but at least there is an english subtitle track, which of course most likely means they know it's the only way to be sure that all the dialog is understood, complaints based upon seeing the stage production just don't fly with me, what works on stage rarely if ever work on film, if it did, Producers could save millions and just film the stage production, view stage productions filmed for PBS, of the many I have seen the only two that have been successful at it are The Merry Widow, and Oklahoma

    4-0 out of 5 stars Film rivals book!
    *gasp*

    Dare I say it?

    Yes, Webber's production is much better than Leroux's novel.

    Will everyone agree with what seems to be my very deluded opinion?Of course not!

    Perhaps I think like this because while reading Leroux's novel, I couldn't imagine a horrifying, stenchy Erik aka phantom...
    forgive me but I just couldn't.I tried, and I shed a couple of tears when Daae ripped off his mask and he taunted her with his ugliness, but that's because I felt sorry for him.

    The kidnapping part in the film ROCKED! it had so much action and suspense! while in the book the lights simply go out...*yawn* The chandelier falls in the movie! it also does in the book but while Carlotta is belting out her toad voice.

    He horrifies Daae in the book, while in the film he seduces her.Both make sense, and I really can't argue on behalf.

    The ring Daae wears as a gift from the phantom should have been included in the film.This makes Erik less of a lunatic.
    He actually gave her permission to leave him so long as she didn't take the ring off or lose it.

    The sword fighting scene was awesome! it totally makes sense how the phantom would lose to the viscount Raoul de Chagny.
    This guy was trained to swordfight, while the phantom's department is music.Yeah it probably makes him look like a sore loser but it makes sense...he loses christine what's losing to a swordfight right?

    Now for what I thought about the casting.

    Emmy Rossum did a very sweet and innocent Christine. She has a very sweet voice!no complaints except for 2 major details.
    1)While Rossums voice could charm a bird out of its nest, it's hard to believe that with such a voice you're expected to believe this girl to be visited by the so-called angel of music who gives her free voice lessons.Don't get me wrong, Rossum has an exquisite voice, but to say that it sounds inhuman is impossible.
    There are MANY women out there who are privileged to posess inhuman pipes.I expected something ethereal, haunting, beautiful, jawdropping, INHUMAN, as the book mentions.
    2) Perhaps it's because she was only 16 when she filmed the movie, or perhaps she does need to improve on her acting.
    I didn't believe for a second that she was hypnotized at the sound of Erik's voice (but then again, who would be listening to Gerard sing right?) I really wasn't convinced that she was Christine Daae, I merely saw her as Emmy Rossum.I think she did good, but I expected for the second star of the movie to be more believable, real.

    Patrick Wilson may have the voice, but the guy needs to relax those shoulders and ACT.You'd think he'd know since he's done broadway but then again stage isn't the same as camera.
    I forgive him.

    *sings* As for our star Mr. Gerard Butler...lol
    Let's just say that in my opinion, he BECAME the phantom.
    He became Erik.I would've never guessed it!
    While his singing leaves much to desire, his acting is among the best around!I was impressed! He delivers presence, emotion, mystery, charisma, sensuality, menacy...
    The man is spell-binding in this film.He manages to seduce both Daae and most of the female audience! At the same time, he manages to inspire compassion and a tear here and there.
    He's very real!

    Webber failed to clue us in on the name! so what's the phantom of the opera's name? As if murdering cold bloodedly and having a disfigured complexion weren't enough to subtract from his humanity.Now he's nameless? he's not an IT you know.

    Regardless, it's a very dark and seductive film.
    I recommend it any day at any time.Now if you're like my buds who've turned it down for seeming too lovey dovey, weird, or just because it's a musical...you're missing out BIG TIME!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and sad!!
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie probably doesn't like much of anything.It is visually beautiful and full of emotion.I have the soundtrack of the original play with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; I also saw the play on Broadway with other actors.Frankly, I think the movie is better.Emmy Rossum sings like the innocent she is portraying and her voice is clear and sweet.Patrick Wilson has a nice tenor and is believable as her young suitor, ready to conquer the world for her. (Loved the hair!!)However, it is Gerald Butler who steals the show; he should be called the "Man of a thousand faces" and looks different in every movie I've seen him in.He freely admitted in an interview that he's not a singer; in fact, he had to take a crash course in vocalizing to sing the part.Given that bit of information, I think he did a fine job and his acting is superb. The only complaint is that it must have been hard to make him look bad, given his Scottish good looks. I was rooting for the Phantom for most of the movie, and I wouldn't mind if he wanted to lock me up in his dungeon. He is extremely seductive in the part, and I can't think of anyone in Hollywood who could have done a better job. With his mask, the Phantom is powerful, commanding, fearsome and magical.Without it, he is like most of the rest of us in the world--weak, vulnerable, and emotionally fragile.Minnie Driver was a bit of comic relief, as were the 2 owners of the opera, who made a fortune in "scrap metal" (junk). So far, I have watched the DVD 5 times since I got it, and I reach for the tissues at the end every time.I loved this movie!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Yes, I know the last exclamation mark is a 1

    This film has taken its place among my top 3 favorite movies, the first 2 being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first Pirates of the Carribean movie (they're making a sequel).

    First, let's talk about the music. The music is brought to the grand scale that Andrew Lloyd Webber had always dreamed of, now that it is being played by a full orchestra and not a pit band.

    The production design is extraordinary. I was rooting for the art department to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction. The grand scale of the stage show has been elevated to new heights.

    The treatment of the show itself is excellent. I loved the added touches of backstory and action and mystery. I personally preferred the sword fight in the cemetary because it works better on film than what actually happens on stage (the Phantom throws fireballs.) I also love how Schumacher gave the characters of Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet so much more to do than in the stage version. Frankly, they're just throwaway characters in the stage version but in the movie, we realize what Buquet is all about and we get to see that Madame Giry had a more vital role to play in the Phantom's life.

    Now for the cast:

    Emmy Rossum has the voice of an angel and is perfect for the part. She's the right age and has a young, crystalline voice.

    Gerard Butler as the Phantom. I don't agree that his singing voice is the best in the world. I know he's not really a trained singer but they could have trained him just a tad harder. Then again, Schumacher did not want a pretty voice for the Phantom. So, I forgive him. To tell the truth, his voice isn't that bad.

    Patrick Wilson has vocal chords made of gold, which is only right since he has done Broadway. He is perfect as the dashing, romantic, swashbuckling, and somewhat wimpy Raoul.

    Minnie Driver is hysterical as La Carlotta (I 'ATE MY 'AT!!!!)It's a pity that she's not really an opera singer.

    Miranda Richardson has an ok singing voice. She also puts on a convincing French accent. I've noticed that Madame Giry is normally the only member of the cast who has to do a French accent. She's less of a throwaway in the movie than in the stage version and more of a driving force. We see that she truly cares about Meg and Christine. So when the new managers are checking the two out, she's like, "Don't even think about it!"

    Simon Callow and Ciaran Hinds (pronounced KEE-ran HINDS; long I) are hysterical as the two managers (this never happened in the junk business; scrap metal!)I feel that Simon Callow's singing voice rivals Ciaran Hinds by far.

    Jennifer Ellison is a little delight as Meg Giry. And she's the first Meg I've ever heard who can sing. She's so petite and adorable that I thought Kristen Chenoweth was playing the part!

    Victor McGuire as Piangi is wonderfully hammy and henpecked. He has a wonderfully exaggerated tenor which gets crappy in all the right places. (Sad to return to find the la-a-a-and we love).

    I still don't understand why that midget was there all the time.

    Kevin McNally as Buquet. Well, he's better than the stage Buquet, who was a total throwaway character. At least he has more to do (like trying to catch the Ballet Girls getting dressed)

    The makeup on the Phantom was somewhat of a let down. It looked more like he had an encounter with acid as a young child. Then again, in the movie, it's never established that he was deformed from birth, so that may be what happened.

    The guy who played Monsuier Reyer was also funny (UNDERSTUDY!? There is no understudy for La Carlotta!)

    Just for the record, the horse in the title song is a homage to the original novel. The Phantom takes Christine to his lair on a horse.

    And now the special features:

    The featurette on the history of the musical was really cool. I especially liked the film clips of the Sydmonton production, the current production in England and clips from the music videos (the British DVD has the full, unedited music videos. Lucky dogs! Oh, well, they've had this show and Andrew Lloyd Webber longer.)

    The deleted song, No One Would Listen, is lovely even if it is really the first draft of Learn to Be Lonely.

    It's an awesome film and if the upcoming movie versions of Rent, The Producers, and Dreamgirls once again kill the movie musical which has barely been resurrected by Chicago and Moulin Rouge, this will be a reminder that this generation had its share of movie musicals. What can I say? I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I even liked Man of La Mancha. ... Read more


    4. The Quick & Dirty Guide to Salsa - Part 1, Beginners
    Director: Debdoot Das
    list price: $26.98
    our price: $26.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002804HY
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2361
    Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Description

    Digifilm Inc is the first company to produce mainstream true multi-angle DVDs. Theyare an young independent and innovative media production and distribution company based in Astoria, New York city. They have produced several films, DVDs, CD-ROMs and websites for major clients. The Quick & Dirty Guides To Salsa is their first offering to the public under their own label. ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Quick and Dirty way to learn salsa!
    The sexy Quick and Dirty Guide is a great DVD that after learning a few steps through the innovative different angles, I feel like I am ready to hit the dance floor!

    Gigi, the instructor, is clear and easy to follow. The 26 lessons are easy and as they progress, challenging enough for beginners like me. Moreover, the set has a classy and old world feel that makes me think of Cuba, as well as the music.

    I never thought that learning to dance salsa could be this fun and easy. I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars At Last: Real Three Angle DVD!
    As founder and developer of the All-Music Guide (allmusic.com) and the All-Movie Guide (allmovie.com), I have had the opportunity to review a great deal of music and film. I have been following dance music and videos for years, and Latin music in particular. And that is what moves me to write something about this amazing dance DVD.

    Being a little bit of a DVD fanatic, I just have to say: FINALLY we have a high-quality DVD with true multi-angle shots! Even if I didn't want to dance to salsa music, I would keep this DVD just to show off my player. This entire DVD, from start to finish, is seamlessly viewable from three angles, which I choose at any time at the touch of a button, viewing everything from the back, the front, and from above. Why have we not seen the likes of this before?

    And what a great way to learn to dance! This is the best dance video I have yet to see. The three angles give me a 360-degree view of what is going on. If I can't quite get the steps from one angle, I just look at it from another angle and there there they are. This is the way all dance videos should work.

    The 26 lessons (I am at lesson 7) are clear and easy to follow. The steps are elegant and each lesson is broken out, so I can follow them, taking me from the very beginning (which is where I am at) to quite complex maneuvers. Did I mention that I can see them from any angle I choose? And the music is state-of-the art salsa.

    Michael Erlewine, founder of All-Music Guide (allmusic.com) and All-Movie Guide (allmovie.com)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Cuban Miami Salsa style
    This dvd has set a new standard for dance instructional dvd's with the 3 angles you can view of all the moves. You can view the whole dvd from the front, back, above angles or just a move.
    You can rewind a move & watch it from a different angle.
    I also like the memory feature that you can rewind as much of a chapter as you like.
    The instruction is from the absolute beginners level through to the most common Miami Cuban Salsa moves.
    This is a very enjoyable video to watch.
    This has got to be the must buy Salsa instructional video for 2004.
    Well worth buying.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Quick & Dirty Guide to Salsa - Part 1, Beginners
    This is the coolest! I was going to Miami & I've never salsa danced before & this taught me some hot moves.

    Being able to change the angle I could really see how the dancers moved their feet...among other things. I can actually dance now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quick and elegant
    For me the best thing about this DVD is it teaches you how to dance salsa in the same way most of the people do. It starts with basic steps and quickly moves to combinations that look great. It's quick but you don't feel that they run over details. You can change the camera and see how things look from a diferent perspective. 'Quick' but I wouldn't say 'dirty', salsa it's also 'elegance' and it's shown in this DVD. ... Read more


    5. Doris Day Collection (Billy Rose's Jumbo / Calamity Jane / The Glass Bottom Boat / Love Me or Leave Me / Lullaby of Broadway / The Pajama Game / Please Don't Eat the Daisies / Young Man with a Horn)
    list price: $88.92
    our price: $66.69
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007QS2YS
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 832
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Description

    The Doris Day Collection features six new-to-DVD titles -- Young Man With a Horn, Lullaby of Broadway, Love Me or Leave Me, Billy Rose's "Jumbo", Please Don't Eat the Daisies, The Glass Bottom Boat -- along with two of Ms. Day's all-time favorite musicals, Calamity Jane and Pajama Game which have been repackaged for the Collection. All DVDs are packed with bonus features including vintage shorts and featurettes, cartoons, trailers and more.

    Young Man with a Horn (1950)
    With a second-hand trumpet and the loving guidance of a brilliant bluesman, a lonely boy grows into manhood as a superb musician whose talent carries him from honky-tonks to posh supper clubs. But his desperate search for the elusive high note, trapped in his mind but impossible to play, starts him on a boozy downward slide. Charged with dynamic performances by Kirk Douglas (the title role), Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael and pitch-perfect direction by Michael Curtiz, the film is a feast of hot, cool, moody jazz. Legendary Harry James dubbed Douglas' horn work.

    Lullaby of Broadway (1951)
    Day danced divinely and sang in this musical delight about a singer newly arrived in New York and destined for Great White Way fame in the capable company of co-stars Gene Nelson, S.Z. Sakall, Billy DeWolfe, Gladys George and Florence Bates. Highlights are the inclusion of the OscarR -winning title tune, Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things", "Somebody Loves Me" and six more songs.

    Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
    Laced with Doris Day's vibrant performances of songs from the era, this 1955 Academy AwardR winner (Best Motion Picture Story) is the tough-minded true tale of Ruth Etting's life with the man who boosted her career with strong-arm tactics yet smothered her in an obsessive grip she escaped at great peril. As Martin "The Gimp" Snyder, James Cagney earned one of the film's six OscarR nominations. Ms. Day's Etting was a career-best dramatic performance, bringing acclaim from critics and protest letters from fans unprepared for the departure from her traditionally sunny roles.DVD special features include: Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, Three vintage shorts, the first two with Ruth Etting (A Modern Cinderella, Roseland, A Salute to the Theatres)

    Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)
    Radiant Doris Day sings beloved Rodgers and Hart tunes and does her own horseback riding tricks in this razzle-dazzle musical based on Billy Rose's stage spectacular and featuring circus sequences directed by Busby Berkeley. The story revolves around a circus owner (Jimmy Durante, star of the 1935 Broadway original) with only two real attractions: his daughter (Day) and popular pachyderm Jumbo. Three-ring pandemonium breaks out when a handsome rival (Stephen Boyd) infiltrates the circus, and father, daughter and Dad's wisecracking fiancie (Martha Raye) are suddenly at risk of losing the greatest show on earth. o DVD Special Features include: Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, Musical short Yours Sincerely, Tom and Jerry cartoon Jerry and Jumbo, Original overture rejoined to the film for the first time in more than 40 years.

    Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1962)
    o Ms. Day brings her trademark radiance to this jovial comedy from the bestseller by playwright Jean Kerr. With Janis Paige, Spring Byington and Richard Haydn on hand for snappy comic support, Please Don't Eat the Daisies is breezy family fun with popular songs "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and "Anyway the Wind Blows."

    The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)
    Doris Day entered her eighth consecutive year as a Top-10 Box-Office Star when she boarded The Glass Bottom Boat, a blending of romantic comedy and the era's burgeoning spy-movie genre. Frank Tashlin directs with a cartoonist's sensibility, embracing everything from spy guises to push-button chaos in a futuristic kitchen. The film also stars top comedians Arthur Godfrey, Paul Lynde, Edward Andrews, John McGiver, Dom DeLuise and Dick Martin. o DVD special features include: Three vintage featurettes (Catalina Island, Every Girl's Dream, NASA), Oscar-winning cartoon The Dot and the Line. ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT DAWN OF A BRILLIANT DAY
    Doris! The perky big band singer of whom Oscar Levant once quipped "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin." I thought back to my visit to Carmel, California, a few years ago, where I dropped by the golf course to glimpse her house ... briefly visible from hole three. (Listen real carefully and you can hear her dogs barking.) I thought back to my beloved Great Dane, she with the baby blue eyes --- was named in honor of Doris, though Dory (for short) was actually named by the breeder from whom I purchased the 186-pound beauty.
    And I thought back to the first (and only time) I had chatted with Doris Day. It was the January 28, 1986 --- the day the Challenger had exploded, killing her seven crew members (including Sharon Christa McAuliffe, America's first teacher in space), 73 seconds after launch.
    I called Doris at her Carmel, California, home, and was in tears.
    "Can you believe what happened," she asked her voice muffled and mournful. "I am so shocked. Those poor men and women. Their families ... the children ..." The tears flowed freely for several minutes. She cried. I cried. We both cried. This, I thought between tears, is going to be some challenge.
    After a few minutes, she sniffled one last time. And so we began to chat about her life and loves and long career --- Doris was starting a new talk show, and Rock Hudson --- then so deadly sick with the AIDS virus --- was the first guest), her films, her music and of course, her animals. She told me how she cooked her own dog food, steaming rice and boiling chopped beef, then skimming off the fat, before blending in freshly cooked vegetables and a hint of spice. At the end of the conversation, I was salivating and ready to drop to all fours and beg for a taste.
    As luck would have it, I am not the only one thinking about Doris Day these days. Paramount Home Video has just released Teacher's Pet, the 1958 comedy in which Clark Gable stars as a hard-nosed newspaperman who's smitten with journalism teacher DD. Not a great film --- gee, did Gable really so badly? --- though the title song is super, as is Mamie van Doren, as Gable's galpal who sings "The Girl Who Invented Rock and Roll." A better flick is Day's last one: With Six You Get Eggroll, also from Paramount Home Video,the 1968 blended family comedy, with Day solidly supported by the Cape's own Pat Carroll, as well as Alice Ghostley, George Carlin, Barbara Hershey, Jamie Farr and the once-hot rock group, The Grass Roots.
    Warner Home Video has just released the box set, Doris Day Collection, a slipcased collectible featuring six new-to-DVD titles: Young Man With a Horn (1950), Lullaby of Broadway (1951), Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1962), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) and newly restored versions of Love Me Or Leave Me (1955) and Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)--- both of which feature new Dolby Digital soundtracks making Doris seem as fresh as, well, a new Day; along with Calamity Jane (1953) and The Pajama Game (1957), both of which have been repackaged for this collection. All the discs are packed with bonus features, including vintage shorts (including two starring Ruth Etting, whom Day portrays in Love Me or Leave Me), featurettes, cartoons and trailers.
    But the best is saved for last. On June 28, MPI Media Group unveils the long-awaited The Doris Day Show: Season 1, the heart-warming comedy series that ran on CBS from 1968-1973. This was Day's TV series debut, and she proved that her big-screen likeability transferred, quite well thank you, to the small screen ... even if some of closer-ups seem a bit too gauzy for our tastes. Day played Doris Martin, a widowed mother who leaves the city to raise her two young sons on the Mill Valley, California farm of her father Buck, played by Dukes of Hazzard icon Denver Pyle. The four-disc box set includes all 28 original episodes from the show's first season, as well as never-before-seen bonus material.The bonuses offer additional insight into Day's warm, off-screen persona: there are TV promos and messages to network affiliates, as well as her two appearances as the "mystery guest" on What's My Line --- the first spot, from 1954, marked Day's TV debut, and her attempts to disguise her voice through a series of hi-pitched squeaks is a sheer delight.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!!!!!!!!!I MISS DORIS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!
    Part one of my review(I looked at the moviesin order of the oldest date on the back).....Looked at Young man with a Horn(B&W)...if for anything get this movie for the spectacular shots of New York City....with the (trains running above ground)...but this was my first timeseeing this movie & it's a great script...not a big fan of Douglas but he was great in this part......and Doris can't do no wrong in any part....here she plays a very good friend of Douglas & gets to sing about three songs...great movie & you get Lauren Bacall thrown in as the viper
    ......then I looked at Lullaby of Broadway.i had seen this before but on my new flat screen TV...it's so amazing.love it

    ....then i looked at Calamity...I have over the years seen bits & pieces of this movie..I sat & watched it in it's entierty.....Doris is SO amazing in this role

    got Love me or leave me in the DVD player now(but have seen this one....it's one of my favorite Dorismovies

    I lived long enough to see these movies..I guess i was very young to actually see them in the movie(the earlier ones)...but you look at Doris Day & she's utterly amazing in her talent.she dances, she sings,she acts......but she can do just one ofthose things andshe would be a star..but that voice of hers is heavenly!!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Set
    I can only rave about the care taken by WB Home Video to ensure that this set had wonderful picture and sound quality. The newly restored "Love Me Or Leave Me", and "Jumbo" not only have spotless picture quality with stunning colors but also have restored sound that will have you thinking you are watching a current movie rather than films made so many years ago. "Lullabye of Broadway" and "Young Man With A Horn" are excellent as well (but don't have the full fidelity sound of the other two). "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and "Glass Bottom Boat" are gorgeous on the screen (and we project an eight foot picture!). "Calamity Jane" and "Pajama Game" are identical to the previous releases of these titles. They are very, very good if a tad lesser in picture quality. I had hoped that they would have received the first rate sound restoration of the first two mentioned above, but this would have required more expense and I feel this set is a bargain. There are many nice extras, too. Here's hoping other musical stars...like Mario Lanza...will receive this top notch treatment in DVD releases from WB.

    5-0 out of 5 stars HAPPY "DAYS" ARE HERE AGAIN
    If there is any question in anyone's mind as to why Doris Day is ranked by the distinguished annual Quigley Poll of top ten box-office stars, as the number one female star of all time, it will be put to rest by this great collection.
    There is something for everyone contained in this beautiful set, complete with a nice array of extras.
    Contained herein are films produced over a 16 year period and clearly showing that Miss Day could do it all - sing, dance, act in dramas or show a comic skill that few if any have come close to rivaling.
    "Young Man With a Horn" featuring Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall gives Miss Day a great chance to emote skillfully and to render perfect renditions of several great band tunes. It's a well-made drama and her first film to play New York's famous Radio City Music Hall. In "Lullaby of Broadway" she sings, dances and dazzles as only Doris can with a wonderful cast of great character performers. She also gives the best rendition of the title tune ever recorded.
    "Calamity Jane" allows Miss Day to let loose with a brilliantly executed performance as the famed woman of the wild west. She makes it her own, singing the Oscar winning "Secret Love" as well as delivering a powerhouse portrayal in a near perfect film co-starring Howard Keel, on loan from MGM. It's as good as anything Metro put out during their "Golden Age".
    "Love Me or Leave Me", opposite James Cagney, is one of the most raw, real and no-holds barred biographical films ever turned out. Miss Day should have not only been nominated for an Oscar for her unforgettable performance as 20's singer Ruth Etting but should have won the prize. Her first film at MGM enabled her to dazzle the critics and the public with a first-rate acting job by any standard as well as rendering more than a dozen songs as only she can.
    "The Pajama Game" is a near perfect screen version of a Broadway hit and Miss Day and much of the original Broadway cast perform at a breathless rate, breathing new life into some well-loved tunes. A great couple of hours of sheer entertainment.
    Direct from her Oscar-nominated turn in "Pillow Talk", Miss Day played a mother of 4 in the screen version of Jean Kerr's hit, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies". How many other actresses of the time at the peak of their game would have played a mother role times 4? Miss Day and co-star David Niven are completely believable in this delightful, heartwarming and completing winning romp. "Billy Rose's Jumbo" took 27 years to reach the screen but it was worth the wait.The 1962 musical featuring some of Rodgers and Hart's best tunes is given the lavish MGM treatment. Miss Day, Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante and Martha Raye etch memorable performances in one of the last of the great MGM musicals. Finally, Miss Day had one of her biggest hits with the 1966 "Glass Bottom Boat". It's a wonderful slapstick comedy featuring an amazing cast of actors and comics, all set aside the background of California's Catalina Island. There are non-stop laughs and Miss Day secures her place as one of the funniest lady in film history, all the while maintaining her femininity and the endearing qualitiea that have made her an American Icon. "The Doris Day Collection" is a value at any price. It'll make your "Day"!

    5-0 out of 5 stars NOW - Now That's Entertainment
    Wow this is great.Thanks for the release, but why has it been so long in coming?AND where are the others, On Moolnight Bay, I'll See you in My Dreams, just to name a few. There is and will never be another Doris, what an actress, singer and comedian she is.Thank you Doris for bringing joy, smiles and laughter into this world.You cannot go wrong with this set.Buy this and show the kids today what they missed by not growing up in the innocent times of the 50's and 60's.These are classics in every sense of the word. This will keep me entertained for days, weeks and years to come.And thank you Amazon. ... Read more


    6. Leonard Bernstein - Young People's Concerts / New York Philharmonic
    list price: $149.95
    our price: $112.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002S641O
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 824
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    Amazon.com

    Leonard Bernstein earned glory as a composer, conductor, and pianist(classical and jazz), but nothing gave him more pleasure than the joy of teaching.He presented the unique blend of spoken words and music known as the "Young People's Concerts" throughout his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic and for several years after. His enjoyment, and his audience's, can be seen vividly captured by the video cameras. He is an intensely interactive teacher, getting his audience to sing, springing a quiz full of trick questions, and singing a Beatles song to demonstrate a point.

    Bernstein is completely at ease talking to his audience. He can takethe most abstruse subject - the meaning and function of intervals,tonality and atonality, the links between Gustav Mahler's troubled life and his music - and present them to a young audience with clarity,without condescension, and with a clear sense of the material'svalue. His subject-matter is enormously varied. For IgorStravinsky's 80th birthday, he simply tells his audience thestory of Petrouchka while conducting a dazzlingperformance of the colorful ballet. For a program on "FolkMusic in the Concert Hall," he plays some of Canteloube'sfolk song arrangements and the boisterous finale of Ives'sSymphony No. 2, full of borrowed pop and folk melodies.The influence of folk music is shown in folk song imitations byMozart and Carlos Chavez.

    The sound and images, taped over a 15-year span when theart of recording was rapidly advancing, are varied in quality;the series begins in black-and-white and ends in vivid color. Not all of the programs are equally compelling, but all areworth close and repeated attention. --Joe McLellan ... Read more


    7. Jazz - A Film by Ken Burns
    list price: $199.92
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004XQOU
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 2279
    Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com essential video

    Accompanied by a menagerie of products, Ken Burns's expansive 10-episode paean, Jazz, completes his trilogy on American culture, following The Civil War and Baseball. Spanning more than 19 hours, Jazz is, of course, about a lot more than what many have called America's classical music--especially in episodes 1 through 7. It's here that Burns unearths precious visual images of jazz musicians and hangs historical narratives around the music with convincing authority. Time can stand still as images float past to the sound of grainy vintage jazz, and the drama of a phonograph needle being placed on Louis Armstrong's celestial "West End Blues" is nearly sublime.

    The film is also potent in arguing that the history of race in the 20th-century U.S. is at jazz's heart. But a few problems arise. First is Burns's reliance on Wynton Marsalis as his chief musical commentator. Marsalis might be charming and musically expert, but he's no historian. For the film to devote three of its episodes to the 1930s, one expects a bit more historical substance. Also, Jazz condenses the period of 1961 to the present into one episode, glossing over some of the music's giant steps. Burns has said repeatedly that he didn't know much about jazz when he began this project. So perhaps Jazz, for all its glory, would better be called Jazz: What I've Learned Since I Started Listening (And I Haven't Gotten Much Past 1961). For those who are already passionate about jazz, the film will stoke debate (and some derision, together with some reluctant praise). But for everyone else, it will amaze and entertain and kindle a flame for some of the greatest music ever dreamed. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

    Reviews (118)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Series on Jazz, Despite Its Flaws
    I am a jazz musician, son of a jazz musician, am conservatory trained, and this series stands toe to toe with the best lectures by the best music historians and music theory experts I have studied with. If Ken Burns chose to follow a the pillars of jazz in depth rather than give ten minutes to every musician to come along in the past hundred years, we are better for it. If you want ten minutes on each musician, read liner notes. Mr. Burns series will be remembered precisely because it does go into such depth. Bird, Duke, Pops and Dizzie do not come clear to you without much study. We should be grateful for the fact that this series is anything but shallow. It is true to the art. If this series, because of such depth, asks more of viewers than they want to give, then let such viewers only seeking entertainment seek that. Americans, everything is not entertainment.

    Jazz itself, from its outset and to this very day, asks more of you than any other music. A series about it should do no less.

    This series is not perfect. Jazz is also imperfect. As Thelonius Monk said, there are no wrong notes. So are there no bad jazz documentaries, as long as they are unflinching, whole, and about the forces that shaped the music. This one is. It's only real flaw is that it is too in love with its own story and the music. That is entirely forgiveable.

    If you have any interest in jazz, buy or rent this series and watch each one like a student, and learn in wonder at the extraordinary music brought to us by African Americans. It is one of the glories of American culture, and of the world, and we should join Ken Burns, his historians, critics and musicians in joyously celebrating the collective creation of the geniuses that graced our land in the past 100 years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "History," "Documentary," "Theory of" are not in the title.
    The negative reviews of this series assume that Burns is compiling a documentary, writing a historical survey, or undertaking some theoretical analysis of jazz. Burns is above all a biographer. His primary interest is in the life of a particular artist, solider, athlete, explorer, etc.: the overall trajectory of their lives--the choices they make, the risks they are or aren't willing to take, their sufferings in the face of prejudice, misunderstanding, and failure--and how the individual life fits within the larger social context. Hence his emphasis on annecdote, personal letter and photograph, character analysis, and why he has baseball players and actors and club owners as well as scholars and musicians commenting on these people. And why he traces the entire career of someone like Louis Armstrong or Billy Holiday, rather than devoting more time to contemporary muscians whose story it is still too young to be told. Everything else is secondary to this main concern, and to miss this focus is to miss the point of all Ken Burns' documentaries. To grasp it is to experience life within a wider, wiser, almost epic, context. The so-called jazz expert who is miffed over some apparent omission, or overemphasis, or seeming bias, is like the librarian who has all the books catalogued and all the facts at their fingertips but can't see that they might refer to something outside the four walls of their narrow expertise.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Provides a very useful orientation
    Jazz is a relatively recent interest for me--maybe half a dozen years. I'd learned about scattered fragments of jazz, but never developed a systematic understanding, a clear orientation--though a couple of times I'd tried: I bought Gary Giddons' "Visions of Jazz," for instance, which is very good but just didn't capture my imagination.

    Ken Burns' "Jazz" gave me what I've been wanting for years--a clear, evocative, comprehensive way into the genre as a whole.

    Okay, it may not be the last word on the history of jazz. Yeah, some things really irritated me--like the slighting, mentioned by many, of Bill Evans, and the excessive excision of many white musicians to make the generally accurate point that jazz springs more from the experience of Black Americans. (Hint to Burns: You make your argument stronger by showing how apparently contrary data fit, not by leaving them out.) But over all, I found this a very helpful overview. And I enjoyed getting to know the biographies of, and the personal relations among, the players.

    You won't likely get such an orientation from buying a few of the original CDs *instead* of the "Jazz" series. Few of us have the ears or training to discern what's taught in this series. You'd be highly unlikely to realize that, for instance, what was new with Be-Bop is improvising on the underlying chord changes rather than the melody. You'd really have to be perceptive and paying attention to notice what distinguishes Kansas City jazz from New Orleans jazz from New York jazz from West Coast jazz. And *no* album can place *itself* in history. For instance, you cannot learn from listening to an album featuring Coleman Hawkins-or Charlie Christian or Kenny Clarke--that *before* that album people played very differently. In short, you'd have to be far better trained musically and far more observant than most of us are, and listen to dozens (if not hundreds) of albums, to learn what this series teaches.

    As I watched over a period of a couple of weeks, I bought several of the CDs that Burns produced to survey the music, and I found them very instructive. No, as listening experiences, they're not as good as some of the various albums on which the cuts originated. But that's not the point: They are very good ways to get an overview, to get oriented, to know where to go next.

    After seeing this series and studying the accompanying CDs, when I go into the music store and start perusing the jazz disks, I find that I recognize a whole lot more and can surmise a whole lot better what's what and what would interest me. For instance, tonight I saw "From Spirituals to Swing," a three CD set of Carnegie Hall jazz concerts in 1938 and 1939. A month ago, the list of personnel would have meant near-nothing to me--I probably wouldn't have even known what I was looking at, and I doubt I would have looked at the thing for more than thirty seconds. Now, though, I studied and comprehended the personnel and got all excited--"This I gotta hear." So I bought it, and it's great.

    Now, isn't that reason enough to recommend this series?

    That the overall interpretive framework of the series may need correction is not a trenchant criticism, in my opinion. To get a comprehensive understanding of anything, you have to start with *some* systematic framework, which you can then modify, maybe even refute, as you encounter further data. Logically, the first such framework you acquire has to come from someone else, unless you are a genius of extremely wide learning.

    No, Ken Burns' "Jazz" isn't the only guide to jazz you'll ever need--as others have noted, some of the omissions are glaring. But it's fine place to start.

    If you really want to get a sense of jazz, this is an excellent investment, in my opinion. Yeah, it's pricey--but cheaper than, say, an adult education course on jazz appreciation at your local community college (if you include texts and other supporting material). And if you don't want to spend the money--well, you can hint real hard to your significant other that you'd like it for your birthday or Valentine or some such thing.

    Postscript: I almost didn't buy this because of the characterization of Wynton Marsalis's role by several other reviewers here. I'd never much liked his music--it always seemed too cerebral, almost architectural, for my tastes--chilly, not very visceral. (That's just my personal taste--I also find most of Ella Fitzgerald--except her duo wok with Armstrong--a bit emotionally distant, unlike Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday or Carmen McRae or many others.)

    I was skeptical about any documentary that made Marsalis the central story teller.

    Well, two things: (1) He just isn't the central story teller here. He does not have anything approaching the majority of commentator air time. It is certainly true that he plays a role analogous to Shelby Foote's in "The Civil War"--he is a unifying presence, especially in the early going and toward the end. This is just good film making--to establish "characters" whose presence throughout helps give unity to the piece. (2) I really liked Wynton in this documentary. He came off as much earthier, more laid back, mischievous, funnier and more fun, than I ever would have imagined. And he is really quite illuminating, especially when he explains various musical concepts--like the "Big 4." (I went back and listened to "Thick in the South," thinking maybe I'd like his music more now. Nope. Still feels too thought-out, too chilly, to me. Oh, well.)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better
    I guess it says something that I have gone back and watched Burns' "Civil War" documentary more than a dozen times since I first saw it, and have only watch "Jazz" once since the first time. The Civil War documentary certainly is rife with factual inaccuracies but by & large gets the essential story of the conflict right. "Jazz," on the other hand, treats its subject as though the last 40-50 years never happened. It is as though the Civil War documentary would have lingered over the years 1861-1863 incessantly, then sped through the last two years ("Oh yeah, there were a couple of battles, Atlanta burned, Lee surrendered, the war was over. The end." Something like that) as though they didn't matter.

    As I found the documentary going into its umpteenth hour and we STILL weren't out of the 1930's yet, I had a bad feeling about where this was going. You would have thought that Louis Armstrong had been annointed as the Jazz Pope and he ruled over the world of jazz for 40 years. In his proper context, Armstrong is very important, but Burns seems positively fixated on him. He dwells on every facet of Armstrong's upbringing & early career. Unless he planned on making a 60-hour documentary, there was no way Burns could hope to do justice to the more recent history of the genre, and sure enough he basically hits the fast forward button once the be-bop era is coming to a close.

    Personally, I cannot stand fushion jazz, but nonetheless some mention needs to made of a style that was dominant in jazz for almost as long as the swing style, for crying out loud. Also, relying almost exculsively on Wynton Marsalis (doing his best impression of a crochety old man on his front porch, railing at a world that has passed him by) really was not a good idea & imbues the entire documentary with a hopelessly retrograde flavor.

    I watched it once, and came away disappointed. I watched it a second time, hoping that I could find more to appreciate, but only found that it continued to disappoint. I don't know if it merits any future viewings, and that is indeed a shame, because it is a subject that deserves better treatment than this.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for what it is
    It's surprizing how vociferously some "snobs" condemn "Jazz" simply because it's not as comprehensive as they seem to think it should be. From reading these reviews you would think Ken Burns is a half-step above a holocaust-denier for not including Roland Kirk or Eric Dolphy. "Jazz" is a wonderful, inspiring and, yes, traditional look at the art form. Newcomers shouldn't be dissuaded because it's not as complete as it should be. ... Read more


    8. Learn to Salsa Dance Video Series, Vol 1: Salsa Dancing Guide for Beginners
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $39.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001ZJQ6I
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 4308
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    Never danced? No problem! Join us on the dance floor with this fantastic 2 hour salsa dance DVD. The instruction is clear & concise. The productions values are stellar, and the quality is amazing. Yes, you will be salsa dancing, with your partners, by the end of this video! It's a step-by-step approach, tailored and refined by teaching thousands upon thousands of students how to dance salsa. This video covers the very basic steps, the foundation of leading and following, and a couple of nice salsa patterns. This stellar 2 hour DVD provides everything you need to know to get yourself dancing! Purchase it today, and be dancing tomorrow. ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and comprehensive
    I was highly recommended to buy this DVD by a friend who also owns one. In fact, I thought this video was very helpful to me since I'm a little shy in the public (stage fright). But it helped me practice my steps at home before I took any actual salsa classes or dancing on the dance floor. The instructor breaks down the beginning steps in details making it quite easy to do the beginning steps. It is wonderful to be able to take classes or dance with others having some of the background introduced on this DVD. It gave me more confidence to dance in the clubs. I especially liked the tips of what not to do by the instructor. I thought it was quite entertaining. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning salsa.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Salsa DVD is awesome!
    For the first time ever, there is a separate window that displays the actual footwork up close while the moves are being shown! There is no possible way to misunderstand or be confused. The teachers have eliminated all of the typical intimidation that comes with learning any new dance. The pace is perfect; not too fast nor too slow.

    The teacher's sense of humor is constant and made me laugh over and over again (especially during the etiquette sequence) and relaxed me and took out any nervousness I had. I felt as if I was right there in the actual lesson!

    The written tips (after each segment) are a constant reminder to focus on the important points. So, it's impossible to forget what you've just learned.

    The etiquette section is something I've never seen any teacher explain on any video, and is very helpful when I am ready to delve into social dancing.

    If one is a beginner, there is no better DVD video one can get. It's simple, yet interesting. You receive a tremendous amount of material for your money, yet it is very easy to understand.

    And the best part of this is you don't need a partner to practice. Because no matter what you are, a lead or follow, both teachers teach the steps you need to know.

    Very easily the greatest dance video I have ever seen! I highly recommend this SalsaCrazy Salsa DVD Video for anyone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars SalsaCrazy teaches Salsa
    This is one of the best Salsa videos I have seen in a long time. The video is well produced, clear and enjoyable to watch. There is information for all levels of dancers. Beginners will really be able to understand the basic rhythm and Footwork of the basic step. All dancers will get important tips about leading and following techniques. I am particularly impressed with the section on dance ettiquette. Everybody needs to know how to gracefully deal with mishaps on crowded dance floors. Finally the section on salsa history has been neglected in most videos but this video presents a good introduction to the Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican roots of Salsa dance and music. A definite winner.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
    I got this video because I've been wanting to salsa dance for awhile, but have always been intimidated by the scene and always shied away from the idea of being the klutzy beginner around people who already danced. I was pleasantly surprised by the length of this video (and hour and a half long!) which is longer than any other i've looked at. Let's just say the video gave me a great foundation and armed me with enough skill to finally go out- I've since started going to some of the clubs and love it! I've even been asked who I've taken lessons with. I credit the clear and complete teaching on the DVD. It's also funny, and both the guy and girl instructors do a great job of explaining everything thoroughly. I'm already improving, and I can't wait for volume 2, which is supposed to come out soon? Def. going to get it! I think I'm going to send it to my sister, who's been wanting to learn too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT for beginners
    I loved this video. If you don't know how to dance yet, you soon will!! Try it out! ... Read more


    9. The Chorus (Les Choristes)
    Director: Christophe Barratier
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007NMJPO
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 183
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    By getting nominated for Academy Awards in both the Foreign Language Film and Best Song categories, Les Choristes (The Chorus) made a rare (for a European film) double impression at the 2004 Oscars. This sentimental tale follows the arrival of a new teacher at a remote boys school in 1949 France (the war is a largely unspoken but ghostly presence). With disciplinary problems rampant, and the policies of the old-fashioned headmaster not helping, Monsieur Mathieu decides to introduce choral singing as a way to bridge the gap with his students. You don't need a crystal ball to figure out where this will go, although the movie uses its atmospheric location and lush vocal arrangements well. Bald, dumpy Gerard Jugnot provides a refreshingly offbeat hero (though securely in the traditions of the My Most Memorable Teacher movie); he's sort of a younger Philippe Noiret. Director Christophe Barratier works in the winsome-cute mode that makes a certain kind of French movie into an overly sweet bon bon, although at least this bon bon sings. --Robert Horton ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 'Music that soothes the savage beast...'
    LES CHORISTES (THE CHORUS) is director Christophe Berratier's first foray into the realm of full-length films and his adaptation of the 1945 film LA CAGE AUX ROSSINGNOLS written by Georges Chaperot and René Wheeler serves to introduce his talents as a master storyteller well.This tale of how music can alter the lives of even most renegade of boys is warm, sensitive, and satisfying on every level.

    The story opens with the reunion of two men who were classmates at Fond de l'Etang, a boarding school for troubled boys in France in 1949.Pepinot (Didier Flammand) arrives at the door of consummate symphony conductor Pierre Morhange (Jacques Perrin) with a journal written by their beloved teacher Clement Mathieu , now dead, and the two read the journal, recalling their shared childhood experiences at Fond de l'Etang.

    1949 and the Fond de l'Etang is a dreary jail-like, rundown place run by the cruel disciplinarian headmaster Rachin (François Berléand).Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) is an older, bald, failed musician who seeks employment as a prefect in the school and immediately is forced to confront the rigors of the school's harsh discipline with the still flagrantly wild boys.Mathieu slowly wins the confidence of his boys by standing up to the cruel Rachin and when he is near his wits' end as to how to transform his class, he hears a boy sing and decides to use his musical talent to change these boys' lives.Two of the chief problem children are the angry but vocally gifted Pierre Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier) and Leclerc (Théodul Carré-Cassaigne) and Mathieu coaxes them into the inner circle of his newly developing chorus.The other child who is without talent but for whom Mathieu empathizes when the child waits every Saturday for someone to claim him at the gates is Pepinot (Maxence Perrin) who Mathieu assigns as his assistant chorus master!

    Through a series of incidents including the cruelty of Rachin, the appearance of Violette Morhange (Pierre's poor working mother who cannot afford to feed him), the success of the chorus in the eyes of the Countess (Carol Weiss) who acts as benefactor to the school, andsome evil doings of the more difficult children, Mathieu's Chorus becomes a symbol for how problem children can bond in mutual need to the enrichment music provides.Rachin cannot tolerate Mathieu's success and fires him without allowing him to say a farewell to his beloved choristers.The manner in which this is portrayed is most touching and spiritually enriching and serves to resolve the mystery of Mathieu's departure to the adult Morhange and Pepinot as they finish the journal.

    Simple story, told before, but superbly acted and performed.The music is by Jean-Philippe Rameau with original songs by director Barratier and Bruno Coulais, all beautifully sung by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc with young actor Jean-Baptiste Maunier singing his own solos.The cinematography is in the capable hands of Jean-Jacques Bouhon, Dominique Gentil, and Carlo Varini.In French with English subtitles. Highly recommended little jewel of a film!Grady Harp, May 05

    5-0 out of 5 stars Touching French Drama: Beautifully Told and Beautifully Sung
    'The Chorus' became a huge hit in France in 2004, and there's a good reason for that.Despite some obvious flaws, the film is moving and uplifting as any good music is, and anyone who likes films like 'Dead Poets Society' will surely love this one too.

    The theme of the film is nothing new, but quite universal.A middle-aged music teacher Matthew is sent to a school.The setting is post-war France, and we find the educational environment there is worse than Matthew expected -- the pupils are rebellious and the headmaster is strict.To adjust to the new situation, Matthew, himself a failed musician, thinks of organizing the kids into a chorus group.

    That's it, and the story of the film is certainly predictable.The boys at first make a fool of the new teacher, and then starts to listen, revealing their brilliant singing voices.Among them, one handsome and quiet boy Morhange (newcomer Jean-Baptiste Maunier who really sings here) turns out the best singer, who is given the solo part.

    The film (written and directed by first-timer Christophe Barratier) goes smooth, and for some critics, goes too smoothly.In fact, some accused the film of being too sentimental.Maybe so.But I for one think that the film is made with honest heart, with humanities enough to convince the sincerity of the filmmakers and actors.Sentimental or not, what really counts is good acting, good story, good characters, and good music.And the good music is as moving as the story itself.What else do you want?

    Jacques Perrin appears as grown-up Morhange (in the same way he did in 'Cinema Paradiso'), and he is also one of the producers of the film.The little boy 'Pepinot' (waiting for Saturdays to come) is played by Maxence Perrin, his real-life son.The chorus part is supplied by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc.

    So you want to see a good film?Here's the one for you.I don't say it's perfect.But I can assure you that you will be won over and immensely moved in the end.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever!
    Fact is that this is a truly incredible, moving film.
    I am not a fan of European movies, however, this movie is extremely well done. Is never boring, it is sentimentally rich and the music is fantastic.

    It is certainly not a new topic: The music teacher that changes the lives of bad students. We have seen that with Mr. Holland Opus or Sister Act. But the truth is that this movie makes the others so secondary, that you really have to see it yourself. I saw it today while on vacation in Mexico city and decided to order the DVD immediately.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most uplifting, you can't help but be moved.
    I was fortunate to catch this film this past weekend and was enthralled. The reviews were mixed and I'm glad that I ignored the so-called 'Critics' who were less than flattering in their reviews of this wonderful film. From the start of the film to it's uplifting ending, the acting was superb. But the main highlight was the music, and the emerging joy and hope in the children as they discover something so wonderful within themselves. By all means, get the film and also the wonderful soundtrack. You won't be sorry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yes! Choral music cures the soul!
    Well, I'm a choral conductor myself and I specialized in children's choirs so this film touched the deepest fibers in my soul. I watched it (cried it) the first time a week ago and I've seen it 3 more times since that. Yes, as a choral conductorI've witnessed, I've promotedI`ve seen the miracle of choral music doing what many other aspects of "education" just can't do today. Why would that be? It may sound harsh, but many schools and many fields of "education" have turned into plain business all around, just preocupied with "manufacturing" consumers for the market world, as John Holt once said, no matter how this is acieved. Obviously, we're talking here about 1949: the post war times of this story, we all know,were very hard, sick with so many missconceptions about "discipline" and "order". But this globalized times with new nazis like Mr. Bush, Blair or Berlusconi are not so different. Children feel all that violence and , deep within them, they resent it. Art, on the contrary,and choral music in particular, was then and still is nowa deep language of the soul and no kid is alien to it as long as a true artist helps him discover it. This is obviously, the very foundation behind Europe's old and solid choral culture. So, this is what Mr. Mathew does with this group of lonely and abandoned kids so abused by the hard, stupid ways of Mr. Rachin. They come to discover their true souls through the power of music. As an artist, Mr Mathew knows this and goes for it with love and faith.
    The story is beautifully put to screen, somehow reminding us of the classic films by Truffaut. The Saint Marc kids chorus is an A-1 group with a lovely head voice sound and, not only Rameaus piece, but all selections by Bruno Coulais are lovely.
    It goes without saying that as a musician I'm really pleased to know that today's kids may have a chance of enjoying a film such as this one. Our actual choristers will remain with us, strongly motivated. And we may receive new ones!
    I give this picture, and the sound track 6 stars each!
    Don't miss it. ... Read more


    10. Broadway - The American Musical (PBS Series)
    list price: $59.99
    our price: $44.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002V7THY
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 127
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    Amazon.com

    Like its fellow PBS series Ken Burns' Jazz, Broadway: The American Musical is an ambitious and absorbing exploration of a unique American art form that has always been best experienced in live performance. Hosted and narrated by Julie Andrews, the six-part, six-hour documentary traces the history of musical theater from its roots in vaudeville, operetta, and minstrel shows, to the dawn of what would become the modern American musical, Show Boat, and on through many changes that seemed to reflect those in American culture itself.Significant creators discussed include Florenz Ziegfeld, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Fosse, and David Merrick, and notable shows (Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Company, Cats, and recent hit Wicked, among others) are analyzed through performance clips and interviews with songwriters, stars, directors, producers, critics, and historians.

    The series' most obvious weakness is its use of only brief excerpts of the performances--no song is heard in full. The sheer scope of the series no doubt played a part in that, as well as complicated rights issues, but the core problem is that musical theater has always been a live medium, rarely documented and even more rarely released to the general public.The documentary's producers make do with audio recordings, still photographs, and bits of footage, often in grainy black and white.Thankfully, they resist over-relying on feature-film musicals--which look much better and are sometimes excellent (but more often mediocre) translations--and when used such footage is clearly identified.That makes it all the more frustrating, however, that almost all of the other footage is not identified, because that is what fans are less familiar with and would be most interested in.The 1950s footage looks to be mostly from TV programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show; by the 1960s we have live footage from the Tony Awards (easily identifiable by the backdrops); and the newest shows might have been shot on stage.But early Ethel Merman and other random clips are mysteries, perhaps even to the producers themselves.

    Because the series is designed to appeal to a general audience (again like Jazz), a lot of the information won't be new to diehard Broadway fans, but they should be especially pleased by the DVDs' bonus features, which include additional performances and about four more hours of interviews.Stephen Sondheim fans should be fascinated by footage of the composer-lyricist discussing "Someone in a Tree" at the piano, and then running through the song with original cast members of Pacific Overtures, as well as interviews of him talking about his own shows and songs (e.g., listing the songwriters he pastiched in Follies) and reminiscing about mentor Oscar Hammerstein II.Other bonus performances include vaudeville films from the Library of Congress, original-cast television performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "If I Loved You" (from Carousel, unfolding over 12 minutes) and "Some Enchanted Evening" (the reprise version from South Pacific), Rent's Jonathan Larson spoofing Sondheim, and two behind-the-scenes looks at Wicked. --David Horiuchi ... Read more


    11. Breakdance Step-by-Step
    Director: Tane Langton
    list price: $27.00
    our price: $27.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0001EK9VK
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3487
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    This DVD offers step-by-step instructions for all the foundation breakdance moves and makes it easy for beginners to get started. Each basic move is broken down into simple steps. Once you've mastered the basics, Disc 2 will show you how to perform more advanced moves.

    You will be learning from master bboy instructors, Break Easy and Zulu Gremlin.

    Basic Moves features detailed instructions by Break Easy for the foundation moves such as Toprock, Footwork, Spins and Freezes.Bonus features include a live Master Class taught by Zulu Gremlin, interviews with old skool legends Kid Freeze, Lucky Strike, King Uprock and more.

    Power Moves features instructions for more advanced moves such as Flares, Headspins and 1990’s. Bonus features include interviews and over 4 hours battle footage from the Chico Got to Have His Share and Braggin' Rites events in New York City.

    If you want to get started in breakdancing, this is the DVD you've been looking for.

    Disc 1: Top Rock, Footwork, Drops, Freezes, Spins, Threading, Swipes, Tornadoes, Hand Glide, Floats, Windmills Kip Ups, Rubber Band, Broncos, Head Hollows. Plus an intro to popping and locking.

    Disc 2:Stars, UFO's, Jackhammers, L-Kicks, Hollowbacks, Air Swipes, Munch Mills, Flares, Headspins, 1990s, 2000s, Trax. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Insturctional Video!
    This video was great. It is really good for beginners. It shows different breakin moves from different angles. I would recommed you to buy this DVD because its worth the money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars bgirl Hermosa
    At first I didn't know if spending the 27.00 was gonna be worth the dvd, but when I watched it, I was impressed with it. It's a two disc set that names and shows you the basic moves, and advanced moves, and it even includes battles from different bboy crews. I was disappointed because there were not very many bgirls that were shown, but its still alright.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tightness
    This DVD Comes with 2 DVDs (Beginner) & (Advanced)
    Both disc r DVDs meaning DVD quality very good to watch on a wide screen HD TV with your friends practicing.

    DVD 1 (Basic Moves (Beginner))

    0 Warp Up (Watch this, I thought it was stupid but it is not)
    1. Top Rock
    2. Drops
    3. Freezes
    4. Spins (Backspin)
    5. Threading
    6. Swipes
    7. Tornadoes
    8. Hand Glide
    9. Footwork (Six-Step)
    10. Floats
    11. Windmills
    12. Kip Ups
    13. Rubber Band
    14. Broncos
    15. Head Hollows

    Disc 2 (Power Moves (Advanced))
    0. Warp Up
    1. Stars
    2. U.F.O
    3. Jackhammer
    4. Hollowback
    5. L - Kick
    6. Air Swipes
    7. Munch Mills (Nicest Move)
    8. Flares (Not Air Flares)
    9. HeadSpin
    10. 1990
    12. 2000
    13. Trax (Halos)

    Good: This is the best thing I have ever bought it teaches u pretty plain and simple but yet very detailed and clean, I learned the moves pretty fast. I'm 15 years old, showing off at school gets u so much attention. I would say the guy teaching u talks at about a medium pace, not too slow, not too fast. U learn like 30+ moves on this DVD. Its only 27$ free shipping, I would say that's cheap as hell, a lot better than going to a dance school (very very few teach bboying). Impress your friends, maybe even get some girls (I did), hell, do it for a hobby incase u have no life like I used have. This is the Shiz.

    Bad: My only gripe about this DVD is that they don't teach 1 move, the Air Flare (it's a power move, pretty much the hardest move, the god of all moves) the only reason I'm saying this is because the DVD has 30+ moves spread across 2 DVDs, why not include just one more move. THIS should definitely not stop u from buying this DVD. U can see what air flares look like on a video clip, if u get as good as me u can just see the move on your screen then go on the floor and do it perfectly. It looks like starting a headspin, put while on a handstand, and flipping off each arm. To see clips of breakdanceing see www.style2ouf.com, very nice website, you'll know what air flares r when u see them, trust me.

    Peace Yall BuY ThiS,........Latur iwould give this a 12/10 if i could

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tight
    Yo from the clips i have seen this bboy(breakdance)film is off the hook. Its good for begginer or intermidiate dancers. The first disc gives you the basic moves like the six step. Well anyways i dont want to tell you everything because i could be here forever. But anyway get this video its tight. Later bboys bgirls keep dancin. ... Read more


    12. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Single Disc Edition)
    Director: Jim Sharman
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $11.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00006D295
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 733
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (291)

    4-0 out of 5 stars 'The Rocky Horror Show' Movie
    There is one reason why everyone should see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show": it is the best cult film ever made. There are also three reasons why everyone should want to watch it: 1) It is one of the only 'R' rated musicals in existence. 2) It has strong science-fiction overtones. 3) It is very funny. The movie starts Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon (before they were stars) as the recently engaged Brad and Janet. However, they are upstaged in nearly every scene by Tim Curry who plays Frank N. Furter, the mad doctor. The cast delightfully performs many memorable songs including "Over at the Frankenstein Place" and, of course, the "Time Warp". To fully enjoy RHPS, one must not be closed minded or the picture could prove to be quite offensive. Don't think it's gratuitously violent- it isn't. Merely, the situations the characters find themselves in could shock or appall overly sensitive viewers. If you think you won't enjoy RHPS, going to a midnight screening might be your best bet. The live audience participation will guarantee you a good time, despite your opinion of the actual film. So overall, RHPS is quite a good adaptation of Richard O'Brien's original concept, which always honors its roots on the stage.

    5-0 out of 5 stars DVD = Perfect format to truly experience "Rocky" at home
    I loved going to "Rocky Horror" when I was in college, but watching on home video just wasn't the same. I'm probably committing heresy but there's a reason why this sci-fi, horror, B-movie satire, rock musical didn't really make it big until theaters started showing it as a midnight movie and fans started attending in costume and talking back to the screen. The 25th anniversary DVD, with several audience participation options, really is the next best thing to being there.

    For the uninitiated, "Rocky Horror" tells the story of two clean-cut American youths, uptight Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick of "Spin City") and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon of "Dead Man Walking") whose car breaks down on a dark, deserted road in the middle of a storm--the classic beginning to many horror movies--and who seek help at a nearby castle. Castles, as Rocky fans know, don't have phones! What this castle has instead is a cross-dressing mad scientist Frank-N-Furter Tim Curry, in perhaps his finest performance), two very creepy servants, Riff-Raff (Richard O'Brien, who wrote the musical) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and various other hangers-on, including lovers Columbia (Little Nell) and biker Eddie (Meat Loaf). Brad and Janet walk in on a party celebrating the creation of Frank-N-Furter's muscle-bound boy-toy "Rocky." Bed-hopping chaos soon ensues, until the servants reveal their true identities and take control.

    Punctuating this wacky plot are some of the wildest rock-musical songs ever written. In addition to the classic "Time Warp," there's O'Brien's salute to cult-classic B-movies, "Science Fiction Double Feature," Meat Loaf's "Hot Patootie," and Sarandon ode to sexual self-discovery, "Toucha Toucha Touch Me!"

    So much for the "Rocky virgin" portion of the review... What makes the DVD so exceptional is the chance to experience "Rocky Horror" at home nearly like you would in the theater. The DVD has the option of turning on the audience screen comments as well as another option for viewing members of the Rocky Horror Fan Club performing select scenes before returning to the main movie. For those less familiar with audience participation, the DVD can prompt when to throw toast, toilet paper, rice, etc., light a match, put your newspaper on your head, etc.

    The second disc contains fascinating interviews with cast members, where fans can find out about their reaction to starring in this cult classic. Meat Loaf's description of not realizing what "Rocky Horror" was going to be about and running out of the theater when Tim Curry entered wearing fishnet stockings, spiked heels, a merry widow, and a leather jacket and singing "Sweet Transvestite" is hysterical. Patricia Quinn talks about how her fondness for the opening song, "Science Fiction Double Feature" made her want to take the role even though she hadn't read the rest of the script. What? Don't remember Quinn singing that number? In the stage versions she did, but the song got reassigned in the film version--and Quinn makes her feelings about that QUITE clear. Sarandon makes the interesting observation that "Rocky Horror" probably kept a lot of art house theaters in business over the years, since they could count on good revenue from the midnight movie, even if the latest regular-hours offering flopped. In Bostwick's interview, however, the actor sounds a bit like William Shatner giving his anti-Trekkie diatribe on "Saturday Night Live."

    The only disappointments on the DVD are that the outtakes really aren't that interesting and actor bios aren't provided. I would have liked to see what else the "minor" cast members did after Rocky, but that information is limited to a few lines in the companion booklet. Also, some of the audience-participation comments are nearly impossible to understand because fans are talking over each other. But then that's part of the modern-day theater experience. Even Sarandon noted in her interview that talking back to the screen has gone from the more unison catechism approach to a loud free-for-all.

    What seemed so risqué and shocking a few decades ago seems much more innocent today, but it was great when it all began and it's still great! If you've never ventured into the theater to experience "Rocky Horror," this is the best way to experience it at home.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing film.
    This is a very outrageous movie. The rock is the background to tell us a horror movie but also spiced with sex , ransvestism and above all a splendid tribute to the movies specially King Kong .
    One couple strands in an old house full of weirdos . This movie (here between you and me)could have inspired for Tim Burton in Beetle juice .
    In this decade there were great visuals films too . Sherman built a magnificent story absolutely free , intelligent and sarcastic, irreverent and bitter . You might state that Fellini's influence (dressed of english manners and clothes) is present all along the film .
    Inmediatly after its release this one acquired the status of cult movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The original is still the best!
    Don't bother with the play, or the music from the play. The original is still the best. Nobody can fill the shoes of Sarandon, Curry, etc. They originated the roles and have been associated with them for far too long for anyone else to come in try to change them so many years later and attempt to redo them. Stay with the best.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Those Gold Shorts!
    Ahhhhh...Rocky had such a lovely outline showing in his gold lame shorts. ... Read more


    13. Ray (Widescreen Edition)
    Director: Taylor Hackford
    list price: $29.98
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00005JND5
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 7481
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    14. Leonard Bernstein's Candide (Live at Lincoln Center)
    Director: Fritz Zeilinger
    list price: $24.99
    our price: $17.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007WFXZI
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 273
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    When a show's pit band is the New York Philharmonic, youcan expect something special, and that's what this all-star Candide delivers. It is a concert performance, without scenery but withcostumes, makeup, a bit of dancing, and a lot of acting. Musically,it sounds like the best of all possible Candides. Besides an unusually talented cast, its strong points include thepacing and accentuation of Marin Alsop, one of the brightestindividuals in the younger generation of conductors; the polishedpresence of Thomas Allen, who doubles as the narrator and Dr.Pangloss, and the spirited participation of the brilliantWestminster Symphonic Choir.

    Taught in childhood to believe they live in "the best of allpossible worlds," the young characters struggle to preserve theiroptimism through a harrowing sequence of war, famine,shipwreck, piracy, slavery, rape, and disease with a sparkle intheir eyes and a tune on their lips, until, with difficulty,they finally reach a sense of reality.

    Candide spans the traditional division between operaand Broadway. The soloists, all headliners, are recruited fromboth worlds. Broadway is represented by Patti LuPone, whobecame a legend in Evita, and Tony award winner KristinChenoweth. Paul Groves and Stanford Olsen have distinguishedoperatic backgrounds. They all sing Leonard Bernstein's catchytunes and the show's clever lyrics with gorgeous voices, a lot ofacting skill and a witty, flippant response to Voltaire's cynical (or, rather, realistic) philosophy.--Joe McLellan ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Appalling !!!
    I was so excited at hearing thata concert version of Candide was to be released on DVD. I saw a diferent concert production in London in February 2005 and it was outstanding. The one I watched today from New York is appalling beyond words. Kristin Chenoweth and Patti Lupone are dreadful. Glitter and be Gay is ruined by Kristin (SREECH) Chenoweth and Patti is vile as The Old Lady. I love Patti, but she ruined this. Why make the concert so pathetic? Too comic, the choir holding up placards!!!
    Avoid this at all cost. Watch the video of the Barbican concert, if you have it and listen to the Scottish Opera version on CD. The worst DVD I have ever seen!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding version of Candide...one to keep and treasure
    This is a splendid performance of Candide. But before you go any further, you should realise that this is a concert performance, not a full scale operatic staging of the work. That said, the singing is glorious and the acting, despite this being a concert performance is outstanding. It is driven to milk all the comic elements out of the play. It all works delightfully. It is so brimful of joie de vivre, it leaves you smiling and humming all day. I must disagree with a previous reviewer who said, Bernstein wouldn't be amused. This is precisely what he would have wanted to achieve.

    Sir Thomas Allen is superb as Dr. Pangloss who doubles as the narrator of the concert. Paul Groves and Patti LuPone are both excellent. But the star of this Candide is surely the lovely Kristin Chenoweth as Cunegonde, who in addition to having a magnificient voice shows that she is a natural comedienne and actress. This recording of Candide immediately goes to the top of the list. Now, if only we could have Bernstein's own production of Candide recorded live at the Barbican Theatre in London. That recording under the Deutsche Grammophon label is yet to appear on DVD.

    I should comment on the camerawork which received criticism from a previous reviewer. It is a mark of the electric quality of this bravura performance that most viewers don't even notice the almost amateurish shakiness of the camera. But the cameraman was decidedly shaky. At times I had the distinct impression he had stumbled or knocked over something. Maybe he was as enthralled as the audience was. Truth to tell it didn't detract one bit from my enjoyment of the show.

    The DVD by Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen (anamorphic enhancement). Picture quality is very good, clear, sharp and with rich natural colors. It comes with 3 audio tracks, DTS 5.1, Dolby Surround 5.1 and Dolby Stereo. Excellent immersive sound. It would have been good if they had included an uncompressed PCM track as well but I suppose that's asking a bit much. All in all, an outstanding concert and one to be forever treasured.


    Technical note: I noticed a strange problem with this particular DVD. It seems to play quite flawlessly on certain systems, yet throw up irritating problems on others. On one set-up I noticed numerous motion artifacts and lots of combing issues. I'm not quite sure why they should be there but I attibute it to faulty encoding. No other DVD exhibits these errors on this particular system. I believe what one of the previous reviewers complained about could be due to this. But the problem goes away when switching to an alternate system with a better deinterlacer / video processor.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Adequate for those who have never seen Candide before
    Unfortunately the new DVD of "Candide" is the worst production I've ever seen. (I've seen five, in Los Angeles and New York.)Kristen Chenowith is the only bright spot and is a perfect Cunegonde, possibly the best since Barbara Cook originated the role.The woman can do no wrong. But the director, Lonny Price, should never be allowed to direct again.Over all, most of the other performances are ultra-hammy - Patti LuPone as the Old Lady - or miscast - the actor who plays Maximilian looks like a geek (the director had the "bright" idea to cast someone unattractive on the grounds that his excessive self-love would be somehow humorous. Hah-hah).The production is also filled with topical updates that wouldn't be funny in a TV sitcom, including one that refers to Donald Trump in "The Apprentice."In short, the production is frenetic -- it certainly moves along -- but is unabashedly devoid of any taste.But at least, it has the music and Ms Chenowith, a role she was born to play.(I sincerely hope she plays it again, but in a full production and with a competent director.) Other than that, I think Leonard Bernstein would not be amused.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Candide
    I have been listening to Candide recordings since seeing the original in the 50'sThe Cunangonda role has belonged to Barbara Cook until now and she is at least tied by Kristen Chenoweth, who is unbelievable in this performance.So are Paul Groves, Patti LuPone and all the others.Sir Thomas Allen does a wonderful job as Dr. Pangloss and the Narrator.

    So, perfect singing with a particularly stunning performance by Ms. Chenoweth (look out Ms. Cook and Ms. Masterson).Let's not forget conductor Marin Alsop who has been a favorite of mine for years.

    I don't know what the person who said the DVD was bad was talking about.I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to all as a must-have.

    Bill

    4-0 out of 5 stars Better on DVD
    As mentioned in other reviews, this production is fabulous! Even if you recorded it when it aired on PBS stations, consider buying the DVD. (no pledge breaks, no cuts!) Also, the DVD has DTS 5.1 and Dolby 5.1 surround audio tracks. With surround on, you feel you are sitting in the audience! The reason I gave it 4 stars, rather than 5-- one disappointment. There is no captioning option. Not even the closed-captions from the broadcast. Having the "libretto" displayed, made it more enjoyable. ... Read more


    15. The Wiz
    Director: Sidney Lumet
    list price: $14.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0783233493
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 1503
    Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico) and penned by Joel Schumacher (Batman and Robin), this lavish 1978 adaptation of the Broadway hit The Wiz was the biggest production filmed in New York City up to that point, utilizing the newly revamped Astoria Studios and locations around the city. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross (reprising his Tony-winning role as the Lion) star in this Academy Award-nominated musical for the whole family.

    The Wiz is probably the grandest take on L. Frank Baum's classictale The Wizard of Oz.Theproduction team created sets with a sense of urban magic and spectacle: a New York subway station literally comes to life, and the massive plaza between the World Trade Center towers is transformed into the Emerald City, featuring nearly 400 dancers with three costume changes. Like all good musicals, the Quincy Jones arrangements are highly hummable long after viewing (especially the funky "Ease On Down the Road" and the inspirational "Brand New Day"). In an era before MTV, the camera stays nearly stationary as Ross and Lena Horne vocally soar through their numbers. Their stage-like performances successfully make the leap to film, making The Wiz a testament to their singing talents and star presence. The then-thirtysomething Ross raised some eyebrows playing the traditionally teenaged Dorothy, but she and her supporting cast (including Richard Pryor as the Wiz) carry the tunes with an infectious verve that will appeal to folks of all ages. --Shannon Gee ... Read more

    Reviews (120)

    3-0 out of 5 stars What Can I Say.....
    Oh boy, where to start? This seems to be one of those movies where you either hate it or love it. This update of The Wizard of Oz, while for years vilified, has seemed to have gathered a cult classic-like following in recent years. It bears little resemblance to the 1939 Judy Garland masterpiece, or even for that matter, to the Broadway musical upon which it was based. The original musical was light and entertaining, inspirational and fun. This 1978 motion picture is a pretentious adaptation tht simply tries too hard. the film-makers turned the simplistic story of a young girl lost in a strange land into an overly glitzy, glamorous, and gaudy film. Despite this, there are some awesome moments in this movie, most notably: the stunning New York City visuals, great performances by Mabel King as the Wicked Witch and Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion, wonderful music, and impressive and incredibly choreographed dances. However even that can't save the movie. It still manages to fall flat, not living up to the promise, vision, or scope of the simple story upon which it is based.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Fun
    Boo, hiss to all the naysayers of the one and only 'Wiz'. A few of my friends got together at the DVD store the other night and out of all the available titles settled on this one, primarily for nostaligic reasons. Once we got home and popped it in, well, it was more than just simple sentimentality that carried us off to another world. This musical is awesome. The story is timeless, the songs are unforgettable and the widescreen transfer is excellent. One only wishes for more goodies on the disc.

    I often scratch my head at why Sidney Lumet directed this, but knowing that he is one of the top five directors ever who understands New York City, it now makes perfect sense. The location shots are amazing, especially with the massive Albert Whitlock visuals. And as hard as it may be to watch Diana Ross play a 24 year old single woman, she achieves it with simple gestures and that pure, honey voice.

    It's a huge treat to watch this movie and I look forward to repeat viewings.

    3-0 out of 5 stars THE WIZ....HAS SOUL!!!
    The Wiz music will always be a classic. This is my only reason for buying this movie. It was definetly a 70's show. I was confused about certain scenes in the movie. For example, why did Aunt Em start singing "The Feeling We Once Had" to her daughter instead of Dorothy. And how did the Scarecrow know to signal Dorothy to destroy Evilene. The choreography and the music was great. Good for children to see!

    5-0 out of 5 stars BLACK PEOPLE, BUY THIS FOR YOUR KIDS!!!!
    A MUST for every black child to see!! This is OUR classic production. Many great actors/actresses were young budding talents when they performed in the Wiz. It's great to see them then & know them now. My kids enjoyed the music & loved the dancing.

    3-0 out of 5 stars You should see the Whiz all over my tape!
    this movie was okay, but all admit it was a disapointment. lookit dorothy with this afro, and this obese aunt em, god! you people have distoryed this tape! well hey the lion-- is lioney, the scarecrow dosen't sound like a girl and the tin mans chipper. except for the fact that they had good songs, and singers and all that other junk. the effects were sort of lacking, but hey-- it is not bad. its okay, but it is not that great, seriously people. this 3 star rating suits it. ... Read more


    16. Beauty and the Beast (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
    Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
    list price: $29.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CX8Y
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 443
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (332)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent job Disney.
    I saw this when it first came out in theaters back in 1992. I was only 7 or 8 at the time, and it just didn't appeal to me as much as The Little Mermaid or The Rescuers Down Under. I don't really know why, but having just getting the DVD in the mail, my view of the movie is completely different.

    Beauty and the Beast really is one of Disney's top 4 animated films. How they managed to combine a massive cast of characters into the main plot is amazing. Beast is one of my favorite Disney characters after re-watching this. There's so much emotion inside of him. Anger, rage, pity, ambition, and love. You'll really care for him from the moment he appears on screen. Belle is possibly the most humble heroine to date. She doesn't see that she's beautiful, but just cares for helping others and reading books. The supporting cast is just as good. Gaston, the villain, is just a....well I can't use the word. You can bet your money you'll feel the same way. But the characters are just the icing on the cake. The story is what the strong point's always been. Disney did a great job adding so much more to it, whereas the original didn't focus on anyone but Belle and the Beast really. But I'm sure you all know the story, so I'll just get into the features on this DVD.

    On the first disc, you get 3 different versions of the film- theatrical, work in progress, and special edition. The theatrical is what you saw in theaters or on the home video release. Work in progress is mostly drawings in black and white while the voices and everything else is put in. The special edition has a few lines changed here and there, and the added musical "Human Again" into the film. Personally, I hated "Human Again". It comes right after and before other songs in the film, making you want them to just get on with the story. Plus the animation in it really stands out since it's newer and has those annoying shadows on every character that you see in so many made for video animated movies. There's also a commentary track that adds a lot of depth and information, and a game that unlocks another game. People complain about the picture quality of the movie, but it's not that bad. On a scale of one to ten, I'd give it a 7.5.

    The second disc has a well done documentary on the making of Beauty and the Beast, story origins of a few other Disney movies, art galleries, music videos, more games, and much more. Amazon lists that the Broadway Musical is on this, but it isn't. It's mentioned in the documentary, that's all. This sets the standard for extras on Disney special editions of their movies. It's too bad The Lion King has nothing compared to this. Either way, if you like Disney at all...or just movies, you should go for this while you can. It's a masterpiece, and getting harder to find.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A thinking girl's heroine
    When I saw "Beauty and the Beast" in the theater, I had a rare and magical experience: I felt like a child again watching an enchanting Disney movie. In fact, "Beauty and the Beast" seemed even better than the Disney classics like "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty" that were such a wonderful part of my childhood. The animation is absolutely gorgeous--particularly the waltz scene, which feels incredibly three-dimensional. The songs are beautiful, singable instant classics.

    Despite the animated characters, I felt like I was watching an old musical. The movie opens with a scene reminiscent of "The Sound of Music," with our heroine, Belle, singing on a hilltop about wanting more out of life. The "Be Our Guest" scene, featuring a Lumiere (the Maurice Chevalier-inspired singing candlestick), dancing dishes and champagne corks popping like fireworks, reminded me of the Busby Berkely musical extravaganzas of the '30s.

    A big appeal for me is that Belle is a much different heroine than the Disney princesses of my childhood. Belle isn't looking for a man to rescue her from her life of drudgery. She loves to read and longs for a more interesting life. She already has the "town catch," Gaston, wanting to court her, but she's having none of it.

    Belle's escape from "her provincial life" begins when her father, a kooky inventor, doesn't return from his travels. (He has sought shelter from a snow storm in a spooky enchanted castle and is being held prisoner by the Beast.) Belle tracks down her father and, out of concern for his ailing health, takes his place in captivity. The Beast, who has been placed under a spell, wonders if Belle might be "the one"--the young woman whose love will return him to his original human form.

    The enchanted furniture, candlestick, clock and dishes added lots of fun characters to the traditional story. Cogsworth, a stuffy clock, and Lumiere, the match-making candlestick are a great comic duo. Cogsworth's romantic advice to Beast about wooing Belle is especially funny: Give her "flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep."

    Gaston, meanwhile, wants to woo and wed Belle himself. He sings about his he-man attributes in one of the funniest ode to a redneck that I've ever heard: "I use antlers in all of my decorating," Gaston sings about himself.

    When Gaston realizes that Belle loves the Beast instead of him, he stirs up an angry mob to head to the castle. In another twist on the traditional fairy tale ending, Belle ultimately rescues the Beast--not the other way around.

    "Beauty and the Beast" is a delightful classic whether you are a child or a grownup who knows how to feel like a child at times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Magic!
    Bringing this classic fairy tail to life is one of the best things that Disney has ever done. Every second of this film is full to the brim with wonder and magic. More than ten years after first seeing it, there are still some scenes that make me gasp at their beauty.
    The movie provides all of the usual Disney elements of gorgeous animation, skilled voice actors, awesome original songs, and non-stop entertainment, but there's something special in the mix. We get one of the most believable and heart felt romances to ever grace the animated world. As a child every time I read a picture book of this Fairy Tail I found it impossible to believe that a woman could love a beast, but Disney found a way to make it happen. You truly believe that it's possible, and feel her pain when she thinks she's lost him.
    In the classic Disney fashion, Beauty and the Beast brings along a message for the kids to learn. We see the value of intelligence and compassion, learn to look beyond the superficial, and discover that love knows no boundaries.

    5-0 out of 5 stars After A While One Doesn't Notice It Is Animated
    It is quite rare for any animated film to be treated with the same respect as any other honored non-animated one. In BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale take the time-worn fairy tale of the outwardly loathsome beast who impossibly enough allows his inner nobility to shine forth sufficiently to cause the beauty to fall in love with him. Robby Benson is the voice of the Beast and Paige O'Hara is Beauty. Even for those readers familiar with the spoken tale or the revamped music video with Meatloaf as the Beast cannot help but allow themselves to be entranced with the seamless melding of sight to sound. The plot is simplicity itself with the Beast as the archetypal symbol of the rebirth of nobility long hidden by the evil spell of a unnamed wizard. There is nothing childish is the unfolding of the tale of Belle the Beauty who chooses to sacrifice herself in marriage to save the life of her doddering inventor father. Enter the Beast who is initially presented as the roaring brute that his tormenting wizard clearly intended him to be. Yet, as Belle ministers to his psychic wounds of self-loathing and his physical wounds incurred in defending her against a pack of wolves, the viewer can see a competing spell at work, one that is older than time itself--the power of love that the film's many songs allude to and function as as subtext that imbues it with timeless energy. There is, of course, some needed plot complications of unwanted attention heaped on Belle by the handsome but warped Gaston, who plots to snare Belle in marriage as firmly as he would stalk a reindeer for its antlers. As Gaston leads the villagers in an assault on the Beast's manor, one is reminded in reverse of the cliched villagers pounding at the walls of Doctor Frankenstein's castle, but in this case the attack in presented in comic tones that keep the real world of harm at bay.

    BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has no down moments, with each fresh plot advancement heralded by stunningly effective animation and song. This film was a deserved nominee for Best Picture in 1991, and with repeated viewings, one may rest assured that the alternately gloomy and resplendent halls of the Beast will eternally resonate with the same cachet that gives Tara, Oz, or Rick's Cafe a ticket that allows the bearer to see just how awesome the human spirit can be.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Beauty
    This is a beautiful movie and is in a wonderful set. It has two discs with great behind the scenes stuff for Beauty and the Beast that you definitely wont want to miss out on.
    The colors in this movie is beautiful and the music is lovely.
    I really wouldn't miss out on this movie because it's a great film and a wonderful set. ... Read more


    17. A Hard Day's Night
    Director: Richard Lester
    list price: $29.99
    our price: $22.49
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    Asin: B0000542D2
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 702
    Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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    Description

    In 1964, the Beatles had just recently exploded onto the American scene with their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The group's first feature, the Academy Award-nominated "A Hard Day's Night," offered fans their first peek into a day in the life of the Beatles and served to establish the Fab Four on the silver screen, as well as to inspire the music video format.Songs: I'll Cry Instead, A Hard Day's Night, I Should've Known Better, Can't Buy Me Love, If I Fell, And I Love Her, I'm Happy Just to Dance with You, Ringo's Theme (This Boy), Tell Me Why, Don't Bother Me, I Wanna Be Your Man, All My Lovin', She Loves You. ... Read more

    Reviews (264)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Film with FABulous Extras
    This is one of the great films from the 1960s and should be seen by everyone at least once during their lifetime.

    The film has held up very well and the editing still looks innovative nearly 40 years later. One thing that is very noticeable with this set is that the music has been digitally remastered and the sonic quality of the songs is markedly different from the dialogue in the rest of the movie.

    The extra disc provides a lot of insight into the making of the film and the whole Beatles scene. Everyone from Richard Lester to the tailor and hairdresser on the film talk about their memories. Klaus Voorman gives an interesting interview where he shows drawings that he made during the early years of Beatlemania. There is also a documentary on the first disc that repeats clips from some of the interviews on disc 2 but most of the insights are unique to this special.

    Despite the fact that there is a lot of bonus content, even more would have been appreciated. While there is an interview with the man who designed the film's movie poster, an actual gallery of posters and lobby cards would have been appreciated. It would have also been appropriate to include theatrical trailers for the film. This set does include DVD-ROM content but I did not have access to it so perhaps these things are located there.

    Other things that could've been added to disc 2 include deleted scenes shown in "You Can't Do That! The Making of 'A Hard Day's Night'" and the "I'll Cry Instead" intro that was added to the film when it was re-released in the 1980s. Richard Lester's "Running Jumping Standing Still" film should have also been included since it's mentioned so much on the DVD.

    For fans of 1960s cinema or the Beatles, this set is a keeper. Here's hoping "Help!" gets similar treatment someday.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fab -- A very clean old movie
    "A Hard Day's Night" makes most critics' best-ever lists. It's widely considered an electrifying mix of great music and hip comedy, both a time capsule of the swinging '60s and a timeless entertainment. Roger Ebert calls it "one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies."

    Respect hasn't led to respectful treatment. Legal wrangling followed "A Hard Day's Night" throughout its home video life, resulting in oddities like the "tribute to John Lennon" musical prologue tacked on for VHS. The first DVD version, from MPI in 1997, disappeared after a few months of distribution.

    Here, finally, is an up-to-date rendition worthy of the film.

    "A Hard Day's Night" looks and sounds about as good as could be expected. The carefully lit black-and-white images should please most viewers -- even though they're on the flat side, with persistent minor speckling. The stereophonic songs swing as they must, smoking the tracks on Capitol's (shamefully outdated) soundtrack CD. (The MPI video had significantly worse sound but deeper contrasts.) Try this: Put on the Capitol version of "Tell Me Why" and then play the movie version. Perhaps Capitol can tell us why they continue to sell 15 year old Beatles CDs.

    The film, shot in 35mm, is presented in widescreen, letterboxed with a ratio of about 1.66:1, enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The spiffed-up audio comes via Dolby Digital, with the musical numbers in stereo.

    The first disc contains the movie as well as "Things They Said Today," a new promo film that gives the big picture. The second disc is all interviews, arranged by category (cast, crew, etc.).

    Martin Lewis, a Beatles historian and pal to most of the filmmakers, conducted 30 video interviews for the package. They include key players -- Martin, director Richard Lester, United Artists exec David Picker, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor ("Star Wars") and Beatles publicist Tony Barrow -- as well as those who were just lucky to find themselves working on a film project "at the center of the universe."

    The reminiscences get infusions of energy from upbeat clips, some amplifying the talkers' points and others making Beatle-esque visual jokes. The production was extensively filmed and photographed, with hours of that material first seen in this collection. The interviews are tightly edited, surprisingly focused and often a great deal of fun. It becomes clear that contributing to the film profoundly changed the lives of most of these people.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Seriously Lacks Originality
    An overrated band starring in an overrated documentary. I was under the impression that the goal of a film such as this was to convey a sense of time and place, and realism, but apparently the cliched "flop tops" couldn't be bothered for that. In 90 minutes, these third-rate musicians skip a television rehearsal almost ruining the entire program, neglect responding to fan mail, harass their manager, harass young women, harass old women, harass the police, encourage school drop-out, endanger the elderly, and let's not forget play horrible generic pop music (which is obviously lip-synched, completely destroying any realism the director might have been going for). I'm surprised they weren't arrested, seeing as how all of their deeds were caught on film. If anyone had a Hard Day's Night from this film, it was me from the nightmares I had after seeing it. God bless Aaron Carter - now there's a candidate for a documentary!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Original
    This could have been a "B" movie exploitation film of a short lived pop group. Instead, it turned out to be the precursor to MTV and music videos, shows what made the Beatles so much fun and manages to play a few of their great tunes at the same time. The plot is minimal, consisting of the Beatles entourage getting the Beatles to a live television show on which the Beatles are to perform. Nearly from the beginning to the end, the Beatles are chased by pimple faced young teens, the police, their handlers, and everyone else. And throughout the film, Paul's grandfather, played by William Brambell (a very clean old man), keeps stirring up problems.

    The nominal plot allows the Beatles natural likeability to shine. This film established the personas of the individual Beatles (as portrayed to the media) -- Paul -- straightforward and good natured, John -- incessantly sarcastic, George -- subtle with a dry sense of humor, and Ringo -- quiet, shy and introspective. The movie is irreverent, inventive, funny, droll, deadpan, filled with non-stop movement, and some great, if dated, rock-n-roll! A wonderful film showing the exuberance of youth, the innocence of an earlier time, and Beatlemania in all its glory!

    The DVD's extras include interviews with about everyone still living who participated in the film except the surviving Beatles. While it is nice to have all of the insiders reminiscing about the film, it would have been nice to hear from some of the Fab Four.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Movie is great but extra features aren't that spectacular
    A Hard Day's Night is a GREAT movie and the DVD does help with the quality of the film. However when i bought this i thought possibly some of the extra features would contain interviews with the Beatles and so on. THERE WERE NONE..But since the movie is great and so is the quality i would still recommend buying it. ... Read more


    18. Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition)
    Director: Norman Jewison
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $14.99
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    Asin: B00005N7YZ
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 256
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (90)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best contextual musical ever
    Norman Jewison's "Fiddler On the Roof" is the story of a poor milkman living in tsarist Russia, which in the outskirts of Russia. This is one of the most original musicals, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem. Played by Chaim Topol and Norma Crane as Tevye and Golde, the acting of this role of parents of five daughters in an orthodox Jewish family is done brilliantly. Tevye's misquotings of the bible is hilarious. The songs in the movie are outstanding and poignant. Starting from the beginning with "Tradition", with violinist Isaac Stern doing his magic, every song has its uniqueness.

    Each of his three older daughters choose a different path. The first one refuses to marry the person chosen by the father as she in love with the tailer Motel. The way Tevye cons his wife into agreeing for this wedding is one of the funniest pieces of the movie. The characters chosen are unique and beautifully portrayed. The song before this, "Matchmaker, matchmaker" is beautiful. The way Yente, the matchmaker looks at the youngest daughters as though they were caravans wares is extremely funny. The second daughter Tseitel chooses the revolutionary who is against the Tsar and wishes communism. The song in the bar "To life, Le Chaim" is unusual and shows the way the Jews and the Christians can get along in a limited manner. The third daughter chooses a gentile.

    Though this is a musical, the acting, story and the character portrayal is deep. Songs range from comic like "If I were a rich man", to haunting, "Sunrise, sunset", to sad and lonely, "Little bird". Though being Jewish will help one understand this movie better, it is not a necessity. The screenplay is wonderful. The particular one that I like is when Avraham comes and tells that there are bad things going on in the world. Another person says, "Why should I break my head about the outside world, let the outside world break its own head". Here Tevye says, "He is right, if you spit in the air, it lands in your face." Then the revolutionary says, "Nonsense, you cannot be blind to what happens outside." Then Tevye says, "You know, he is also right." At this time Avraham points to the revolutionary and the other person and says, "He is right and he is right, they can't both be right." Now Tevye looks at Avraham and says, "You know, you are also right."

    When the Jews are evicted, it is extremely sad. They console themselves saying that their village Anatevka was not exactly the garden of Eden. This song, "Anatevka", is sad and heartbreaking. They have so little but still love it. It reminds one that happiness is something of the inside and has nothing to do with material possessions. This movie is a classic and a timeless masterpiece. It might be difficult for some people to understand due to the history of Tsarist Russia and its pogroms and the context, otherwise, to date it is my favorite musical.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest musicals of all time...
    Fiddler on the Roof is a cinematic masterpiece. Originally a musical, this movie is an amazing adaptation that remains faithful to the original, while at the same time not making it seem "theatrical" to the point where it looks contrived. The characters are played perfectly with Topol (who plays Tevye, the poor village milkman) taking the highest honors.

    Fiddler on the Roof is simply a timeless story, even if it finds itself placed in czarist Russia. The story revolves around Tevye, a poor Jew living in Russia and his struggle to stay true to his faith (and ideals) in a world that is rapidly changing. This film follows Tevye in his journey to meld his rich Jewish past with the modern world that surrounds him. His arguments with himself ("On the other hand,...") are priceless and allow us to relate with Tevye as he struggles with his heritage (the pogroms), his financial status ("If I Were a Rich Man") and his family (his daughters are entering marrying age).

    Ths music is wonderful. The songs are poignant and easily remembered. I guarantee that you'll wind up singing/humming "Tradition" or "If I Were a Rich Man" days after watching the movie. The movie itself is humourous at times, and sorrowful the next and the storyline is deep, but is not a damning social commentary. The cinematics are also extraordinary, with the film being shot "on location" in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.

    This is an ideal family movie, and I can remember watching (and loving) this movie at an early age. I'm glad I purchased this movie for my DVD collection, as it will become one of my most watched (and sung to) films. The box comes with only a single DVD, but is double-sided and contains additional footage, an additional song (cut at production) and a commentary on the movie itself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fiddler on the Roof
    IT was absolutely amazing. Everything about it! The backround and effects were amaxing and it was a very touching story with absolutely wonderful actors and unforgetable songs. SPECTACULAR!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent film, except for the cover art
    I love this movie, but was highly dissaponted with the ugly cover art design. They should have stuck to the original poster art. Anyways, the music is great, and it is good to see such movies being restored on DVD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of all musicals.
    I agree with HeadbangerDuh in every sense. This is the best of musicals. While some other musicals amy be corny, boring, and downright dumb, Fiddler shows humor, interest, and is educational. Although part one is funnier, part two I feel is richer, and more full, not as goofy. This is probably the best film of the century. ... Read more


    19. The Last Waltz
    Director: Martin Scorsese
    list price: $24.98
    our price: $18.74
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00003CXB1
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 236
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (144)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest Rock N' Roll Film of all time.
    From start to finish this film captures everything that is, or was, rock n' roll.You have Blues with Muddy Waters, Eric clapton and Paul Butterfield.You have Rockabilly with Ronnie Hawkins. You have Countryfied rock with Neil Young ,Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris. Then there is the soul of The Staple Singers and Van Morrison.The singer/songwriting of Neil Diamond.Last but not least, Bob Dylan.Who shows up at the end of the movie to put it all together with the stars of the show, THE BAND.All the styles mentioned above can be found in any given BAND song. I highly doubt that if you are reading this that you are unfamiller with the music of The Band. MArtin Scorsese does a great job of capturing the raw emotion that could take place at a real rock n' roll show. I could go on forever, but I won't. The main reason I'm writng this is to say that Robbie and Mr. Scorsese are finally getting together to work on the DVD Version of this fantastic document. No word on when it is to be released, but I will be one of the first persons to buy a copy and you should be too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ONE WORD - AWESOME
    This film's music has had a lasting effect on me from when I first saw it with my father at the movie theater as a young teenager, through the time I could not wait to get back to the states from my summer vacation to listen to the LP again, to this day as I order the DVD.

    A few highlights; 1. Rick Danko's soulful and honest singing of "It Makes No Difference", "Stagefright" and many others. God bless his soul. 2. Levon Helm's "americana personified" singing on "The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down" and his perfect drumming. 3. Dylan's God-like presence and powerful performance. 4. Vann Morrison's deep and electrifying performance that raised the hair on my arms. 5. Neil Young's sincerity with a haunting behind the scenes Joni Mitchell singing "Helpless, Helpless". 6. Clapton showing his usual class by letting Robbie outduel him in their guitar solos. 7. Robbie Robertson's guitar on Van's song "Caravan" and many others. 8. Garth Hudson's unique keyboards and Richard Manuel's spirited piano and singing.

    [Forget] the imperfections, this is a musical masterpiece, showcasing many of the greatest musical talents of the last 40 years. The Band are simply one of the greats of all time. John X. Condos

    2-0 out of 5 stars Presentation overshadows music
    I must say I'm not a huge fan of The Band, but I like "Before the Flood". However, I was amazed at how poorly The Band played, and sang even worse, in this, their farewell concert. It is hard to believe they had played together for 17 years.

    Even the guests, such as Bob Dylan, seemed to use their worst voice. Only Eric Clapton was really any good, though Van Morrison was acceptable. Otherwise, fairly embarrassing musical performances. At the end, *everybody* is onstage singing "I Shall Be Released" - killing an otherwise nice song.

    Obviously Scorsese got all the good film people and photographers to work on the project, and it was well done. So well done that the presentation outshines the music.

    There are some nice extras, including multiple commentaries. Hard to recommend it unless you are truly a Band fan.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad for a fiver
    I got this DVD at my brother's recommendation for a fiver in Heathrow Airport, and it was good value at that. Good American music and a very well shot concert movie (well, it is Scorsese!) The interview sequences are intersting and as a Chaucer fan I delighted at the intro to the Canterbury Tales being read out. I was unfamiliar with the group's music before seeing this, and whilst they aren't a patch on Creedence Clearwater Revival I still admire their music. An interesting insight to a little segment of rock history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars when the best rock band and movie director collide ...
    It's a worn-out formula nowadays. Bob Dylan did it, Chuck Berry did it, and Luciano Pavarotti does it all the time. They also do it every time somebody dies, and in this case you don't even have to be a musician. Yeah, I'm talking about that dreary event, the celebration concert with guest musician buddies. But there are exceptions to the rule, and this is definitely the case here.

    To celebrate that they were quitting the 'god---n impossible' life on the road after 16 years, The Band gave a farewell concert in San Francisco, on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. To join them, they invited artists who represented the rich and varied array of styles that went into their musical melting pot: Rock'n' Roll, Blues, Folk, New Orleans R'n'B, Country, Gospel, Rockabilly ... who would sing their own numbers backed up by them. They, noblesse oblige, brought in their first mentor, Ronnie Hawkings, a man who sure knows how to entice a teenager into joining a rock'n'roll band, and Bob Dylan, of course, (who had just released Blood on the Tracks and Desire), Joni Mitchell (The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira her most recent albums), Neil Young (Tonight's the Night and Zuma were his latest solo efforts), Muddy Waters (who would release Hard Again, his best late day work the following year), and many, many more I have no space here to mention. All top-notch and in their musical prime. Well, and Neil Diamond.

    The result was a concert that can only be described as dazzling and magical. The Band do ecstatic versions of some of their best songs and the guest appereances are also amazing, Van Morrison does what's probably the best version ever of Caravan, Muddy Waters proves why he is the M-A-N, chile, The Staple Singers send a shiver up your spine that can rend you comatose for life, and Robbie Robertson and Eric Clapton bring the house down with their scorching six-strings and then they burn the ruins to ashes. All this just to quote a few. But I have a minor complaint here, the movie only features one song (The Shape I'm in) sung by Richard Manuel, one of the most soulful and moving singers that ever walked the face of the earth. This gives the newcomer a somewhat off-balanced account of how vocal duties were shared in The Band, as one can deduct that Levon Helm sang almost everything with a little help from his friends Rick and Richard. And Levon is darn good, but Richard is the shhh ....sheer top of the heap.

    Casting these trifles aside, the movie is a masterpiece. Direcrted by a Martin Scorsese in a state of grace (those were the days of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull), and beautifully darkly photographed by Michael Chapman (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), Michael W. Watkins (later X-Files direcror and producer), and Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate), this was to be more than your average rock concert documentary.

    The filmmakers were set on an ambitious goal, to show what it is and what does it feel to play great music. And they achieved it in such a way that we mere mortals get to feel what it is to be up there on the stage, enraptured, playing that great music to an enthusiastic and receptive crowd. The featurette that is one of the DVD bonus add-ons shows how Scorsese had these sheets of paper with the lyrics of each song to be played written down in one column, the main moments of each performance in another (when a singer would join in the chorus, or the guitar solo was to begin, or a special part of the lyric would be sung, etc), and the camera shots and movements for each moment in a third column. This is called making the best of the means of your art instead of just doing anything that would do, and it shows on the screen in a way that leaves you breathless. Watching Scorsese frantically directing the movie like a tightrope walker with no net to fall down on must've been worth another documentary. They had only one take for everything, mind that, and I guess that's what might have attracted such a brave and audacious director as Scorsese: Jumping into the unstopping swirling midst of life and trying to extract art out of it with just spotlights and cameras. Souns enticing, isnt't it? And for no money nor any promises of getting more you-know-what than Frank Sinatra. ... Read more


    20. The Unanswered Question - Six Talks at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein
    list price: $99.95
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    Asin: B00005TPL8
    Catlog: DVD
    Sales Rank: 3713
    Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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    Always absorbing and frequently brilliant, Leonard Bernstein's TheUnanswered Question is a very lucid and convincing discussion of music'shistory and forms, with particular emphasis on modern music. It addresses theaverage intelligent listener who is not musically trained but wants to know whatmakes music work--what is meant, for example, by "tonal" and "atonal." Itrequires some concentration, but Bernstein, a superb teacher, keeps technicaljargon to a minimum, illustrates what he means with musical examples andgraphics, and repeats key points.

    Delivered in 1973, the talks were transcribed for a book, but in it Bernstein insists"The pages that follow were written not to be read, but listened to," really anendorsement of the video edition. The talks are, in fact, performances.Television was always kind to Bernstein; he had magnetism and knew how to useit. To illustrate various points in his analyses, he plays the piano frequently,sings occasionally, and conducts significant works of key composers: Mozart,Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner, Ravel, Debussy, Ives, Mahler, and Stravinsky.

    Bernstein traces the development of music from its origins to the 20th-centurystruggle between tonality (championed notably by Stravinsky) and atonalism(represented mainly by Schoenberg). The last two talks, devoted to thesecomposers, are particularly enlightening, but all six are outstanding. He arguespersuasively that humans are born with an ability to grasp musical forms, andthat rules of musical syntax are rooted in nature--in mathematically measurablerelations between tones and overtones.

    These talks are a key document. They coincide chronologically, as cause and/orsymptom, with the movement of America's leading composers back fromSchoenbergian forms toward a tonal orientation. Bernstein predicts and promotesthis movement, which is still in progress. He is clearly an advocate oftonality, but he discusses atonal music with sympathy and understanding. --Joe McLellan ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm glued to the screen
    All technical and musical matters have been discussed by other reviewers, so I'm just going to say that this collection of lectures is a delight to watch and listen. Some of them run nearly 3 hours, but I never become bored of them. Bernstein, with his contageous energy, enthusiasm and excellent communication skills, shares his views and thoughts with such pleasant ways; it is just irresistible. Just to prove my point, my husband, who has no musical background and had no idea what the maestro was talking about when he watched the first lecture with me, gave a delightful cry of amazement each time Bernstein demonstrated on the piano. Needless to say, he was glued to the screen and watched it till the end without a hint of boredom.
    The lectures are highly intellectual, and to understand what he's talking about, you need musical background, but even if you don't understand at all, it is still very enjoyable.
    Humphrey Burton writes in his Bernstein's biography that Bernstein was having such good time being with young people at Harvard, he kept on delaying and delaying to complete these lectures. You can see that the maestro enjoys so much sharing what he knows with not only Harvard students but with all the world. His theme is universality of music and brotherhood of human kind through music. Some of his thoughts and ideas are so very unique and different; they amuse me at the same time make me think.

    Even though the questions are not all answered (the more he talks, the more questions arise, I have to admit), his spirit is well delivered, and that alone makes this DVD a treasure worth having.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The theory of everything
    Its quite interesting that in the late 20th century, there was a progresive tendency to look for a number of grand schemes, many of which would be familiar to you guys, perhaps some of which would not be. One obvious example is that tremendous effort to find an underlying theory of physics which would combine relativity and quantum mechanics - another are more obscure attempts to reconcile set theory with certain models within category theory which had been giving trouble to a certain set of number theoretians - etc, etc.

    But the human dimension to this appeared, almost as one man in the form of Chomsky. His book, "Aspects of the theory of Syntax" was the tip of the iceberg of a huge number of papers published on the deep structure of language while he was working at MIT. This appeared to offer clues as to aspects of the structure of ANY human language, an utterly amazing claim. Some of his later works give clues to the possible existence of a universal paradigm for language which has massive implications for people in so many disciplines, I couldn't begin to enumerate.

    This all started, by the way, on the route to attempting the final cataloguing of the North American indian languages, some of which had only one remaining speaker. The task was huge and unapproachable until Chomsky evolved a system for abbreviating certain grammatic structures, which, to his surprise, evolved into a powerful predictive theory.

    Anyone exposed to this at the time would have been impressed, but what was to follow was even more amazing. Chomsky's ideas swiftly melded with other theories of semantics and syntax transformations in different fields, and became de-rigeour for many PhDs in computer science and anthropology, uniting what was up until that time two very, very different disciplines. Citations to his work began to appear everywhere, and in the most amazing places.

    An illustration of what was to follow THAT is basically contained here. no less, a unified theory of language and music!

    [You ought to get this - it is undoubtedly a brilliant scholarly work in any case, even if you don't concur with Bernstein on all points - and few would exactly agree with him on all, nor, importantly, would you need to, to benefit from this.]

    The argument presented is quite intuitive, but is nontheless compelling. Music is shown as being a byproduct of our humanity, extended from need in whatever form, as an infant, or an adult, from utility into sophisticaion, and finally inspiration. Bernstein makes sure the listener is in no doubt that there is something way, way beyond necessity in our provision for the experience of music. His explanation of the physics of music is flawless, and ... awe inspiring. And, watching the man traverse this enormous gap between logic, physics, liguistics, and the unnameable majesty of Beethoven and Debussy (both of which he performs as a conductor, and is moved greatly and visibly) is utterly breathtaking. I would doubt that anyone watching his exposition of the 6th would be any less moved in this way.

    Apart from any of this, Bernstein entertains enormously. There are parts of his explantions that truly defy you not to laugh. He has an honesty and self effacement that is quite unusual, this comes out particularly in his efforts to sing, which he pokes quite a bit of fun at. It's obvious how passionately his audience is involved. (He describes at length a discussion with a student after one lecture in the next one - and its clear that both student and teacher really have learned quite a bit but have obviously been a little combatative, at least, at first)

    From there on, you might care to differ a bit. The history of the 20th Century is described rather neatly as the showdown between Schoenburg and Stravinsky, two schools of thought, two very different philosophies. He enters this very complex consideration fairly gently. I agree with his approach - and understanding of the environment of the early 20th century is essential if one is to understand its music - and so he described Debussy, who is ... sort of.. at the end of the Waagnerian era, stretching ambiguity and tonal resources to the uttermost. Can one go further? Yes indeed, and here we have the entry of the Viennese school of 12 tone technique, illustrated with Schoenburgs six little piano pieces. But oddly enough, Bernstein shows very clearly that the appearance of 12 tone technique is not unequivically Schoenburgs' alone, but appears in the guise of mists and mirages in Chopin, Wagner, even Beethoven, but grasped once and for all by Schoenburg.

    Given another five or so lectures, one might imagine that one could explore the use of bitonality, not just in the context of the Rite of Spring (which is most EXCELLENTLY explained), but the mid century English composers, who use this technique. Such people as Holst, Grainger, Williams, Strauss, and of course, Britten. But there isn't time. The end point of these complications is the resolution into a robust defence of neo-classicism, such as the ebony concerto, and of course, Oedipux Rex. But I think that this is a sad way to end - Rex is a sombre, hard work, and doesn't quite illustrate the end that either Schoenburg or Stravinsky seem to have unknowingly appointed for that part of the 20th century. In this, Bernstein may have overlooked that really recent developoments in Europe, that of an emerging new impressionism (even, perhaps, Romanticism), exemplified by Xenakis, Maderna, Berio, and others, who in some sense share some parts of both ends of the bipolar world which was the basis for all this in the middle part of that century.

    All this is debatable. For instance, not a mention is given to either those very radical spirits like Varese, who seemed to eschew both ends equaly - or those, like Sibelius, Delius or Neilson, who didn't seem to mind either way, and continued to write what is now known as the mid century symphonic repertoire.

    That is a long, long story, and could form the basis of a lot of commentary. Where, for instance, is Shostakovich in all this? Or Bartok, for that matter? I think this is all dealt with elsewhere, but I would have given a great deal to have seen these composers discussed at length.

    But this set of lectures is so valuable as a signpost, I would never do anything other than highly, highly recommend it.It's absolutely magnificent.

    3-0 out of 5 stars In some ways brilliant, yet the sum isn't up to the parts
    This series of talks presented by Leonard Bernstein at Harvard in 1973 has many fascinating components, but the overall thesis seems like an argument in search of a point. Bernstein is always interesting and enthusiastic in these sorts of things, but he also tends to ramble and drag in everything but the kitchen sink in order to buttress his points. He attempts to connect his musical theory of "innateness" to the development of speech patterns--unnecessarily in my view, and the connection is never really fully explained. In the end he concludes the 20th century characteristics in art--of irony, existentialism, and self-reference--are a result of the horrors of modern times, of the Holocaust, the two world wars, and the nuclear age. It's a premise put forth in his "Age of Anxiety" Symphony and I didn't buy it then either. Never does he explain *why* one leads to the other, he just seems to assume the relationship is evident. And, I hate to appear to be upstaging Bernstein, but I think I have a simpler and easier-to-defend thesis (and it's not my original idea, either).

    I agree the modern artistic age is characterized by irony, references (self and other) and a revisiting of the old in new clothes. However, I don't see any link to the "horrors of the 20th century" as to why we can't directly say "I love you" when we mean "I love you." Rather, I think the reason irony and assorted deconstructionist techniques sprang up in the 20th century is because we finally had the history and the heritage for them to exist and make sense. Musical language was direct in Mozart's time, in Bach's time, in Beethoven's time, because they were inventing it. By the time we reach Mahler, it is fully developed and we find ourselves in the process of "deconstructing" it (or he did). Before that time, there wasn't the heritage and history *to* deconstruct. To make my point, jazz, despite coming of age in the ashes of World War I, didn't become ironic and deconstructionist through the first half of the 20th century, until the 1950s. Its deconstruction was borne not from any of the horrors of the Holocaust or the atom bomb, but from its own accumulation of tradition and technique. Ditto the cinema. In short, you can't deconstruct until the construction is complete.

    So Bernstein's argument, in my view, doesn't hold water, but is the very sort of Romantic and poetic vision that appeals to him. (On another documentary I have, he waxes poetic on the anguish and turmoil trapped in the person of Gustav Mahler while never bothing to back up his thesis with a shred of documentary evidence.) However, while I don't agree with his conclusion, the journey he takes to get there is fascinating, filled with analyses of such landmark works as Mozart's Symphony No. 40, Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, Berg's Violin Concerto, and Stravinsky's Le Sacre, just to name a few. Also, his discussions of tonality, the "Circle of Fifths" and the evolution of Western harmony are fascinating. There's a certain amount of annoying preening--there are times when he's really milking his little Harvard audience for applause, and you'd think that by that point in his career he wouldn't need it--but this is easy to overlook. The video is clean and the audio is quite good for the time. Overall this is a set worth getting, despite my reservations about Bernstein's overall argument and his attempts to strengthen it by linking it to linguistics, a melding I think is artificial and unnecessary. (It reminds me of early jazz scholars trying to make their work appear more solid by forcing analogies between jazz and classical music.) I do recommend this set, but beware Lenny's excessive Romanticisms!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is awesome...
    This lecture series is great for all levels of music lovers, from the beginner to the expert, because of the broadness of material covered. Bernstein is captivating, the lectures are wonderful. It is a delight. You will want to have been there, that is for sure. Recommended highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow.
    I originally viewed these lectures on vhs, and found the content very interesting, and the resolution adequate, but the dvd version is very crisp, visually.

    Content - 5
    Video/Audio - 5 ... Read more


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