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    $40.78 $37.29 list($50.97)
    1. The Phantom of the Opera
    $8.93 $7.94
    2. The Wizard of Oz
    $19.98 $14.98
    3. The Pirates of Penzance
    $14.98 list($26.99)
    4. The Jungle Book
    $6.98 $6.48
    5. The Sound of Music
    $17.95 list($24.99)
    6. The Jungle Book
    $49.95 list($26.99)
    7. Little Mermaid
    $69.99 list($9.95)
    8. White Nights
    $25.49 list($21.96)
    9. Riverdance - The Show
    $13.46 $9.51 list($14.95)
    10. Lady Sings the Blues
    11. The Jazz Singer
    $33.50 list($19.98)
    12. Maytime
    $78.88 list($14.94)
    13. A Star Is Born
    $54.99 list($9.95)
    14. Tap
    $9.95 list($14.95)
    15. Fiddler on the Roof
    $23.95 list($24.99)
    16. Fantasia
    17. Stomp Out Loud
    $13.99 $10.29 list($14.99)
    18. Chicago
    $8.98 $7.94
    19. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate
    $17.99 $16.99 list($19.98)
    20. The Music Man

    1. The Phantom of the Opera
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    list price: $50.97
    our price: $40.78
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TKNI8
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 10
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    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 (665)

    2-0 out of 5 stars ...I don't get it
    Seriously...what's the big deal?
    I've never seen the stage show, but I bet it was a whole lot better than the film. I expected to be treated to a fabulous musical, much on the scale of 'Chicago' and 'Moulin Rouge.' Instead, I was treated to an ameatur technical filming of a fabulous set.
    There are plenty of shots where you can actually see the shadow of the camera, and the editing and photography of certain shots left me confused and dissapointed.
    The actors are too young, too bland for their roles. The music was overbearing and somewhat annoying. The plot seemed to draw out endlessly, the corpses of the actors didn't help. All of these actors are EXCELLENT actors, but their talent has been wasted on this film.
    Joel Schumacher too is an excellent director, he just seemed to get lost on this one.
    The sets and costumes are brilliant, I will say that. They're the only aspect that saved the production.
    Meanwhile, I respect those that enjoy it so wonderfully, I just don't understand why.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Phantastic!!!
    I did not get the chance to see the Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford version, so I can not comment on which one was better. I loved this version though, the music, the plot, the acting, everything was "phantastic". Although if you don't like musicals don't even try watching this film most of it is sung. I loved the entire movie and I don't think one part of it was out-of-step or wrong. Although I have never been a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber I was surprisingly pleased with this movie.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Horrendous
    I was appalled by the general quality of the film. However, I was more flabbergasted by the ratings given. The jumping scenes are awkward, the acting (especially that of Emmy) is horrendous, and man, the singing, is even worse than being amateurish. Any member from my choir could out-sing Butler or Emmy. I stopped watching after 30 minutes through the film. Honestly, I RARELY give up on a film.

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE OPREA GHOST

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you love musical's you will love this movie.
    I will not include what the movie is about but I will include my opinion of the movie. I'm 33 and my tastes in movies may differ from the younger generation.

    Some people may say the play is better. But then you must realize the play is limited to singing and acting but lacks the magical aspect that is shown on the big screen. Modernized by the latest movie technology, this version is the best one yet. With stunning morphing scences at the beginning of the movie you will be hooked. In this movie the music is oprea style of course. But now it's mixed with rock witch gives it a new aspect. With both Joel Schumacher and Andrew Lloyd Webber helping with the movie. I don't think anyone else could do a better job.

    -Side note- Now I was totally surprised on learning that Gerald Butler played as the Phantom. (From Laura Croft Cradle of Life.) And had no idea that he was able to sing. But I felt he did well as the phantom.

    I watched the version from 1991 with Burt Lancaster as the father (of the phantom) and theater owner. What I didn't like was the Phantom being fatally wounded by police.

    If you trully have a taste for all kinds of music. I trully hope you will enjoy this movie like I did. To me I think this movie surpassed all the movies I have ever seen including my favorites. ... Read more

    2. The Wizard of Oz
    Director: Richard Thorpe, King Vidor, Victor Fleming
    list price: $8.93
    our price: $8.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000JS61
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 100
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (339)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece! A 5 star winner and a true classic!
    The Wizard of Oz has got to be one of the greatest movies in classical and musical cinema history. For sixty years this movie has been the perfect choice for childeren and adults to watch and enjoy. The story is about Dorthy Gale who lives in Kansas with her aunt and uncle. When Dorthy decides to run away from home because of her feelings being empty a tornado hits and she and her house are taken to another world, the Land of Oz. A place where she finds friends like she never imagined like Glinda the good witch of the north, the beautiful witch who gives her the rubey slippers which posses power like any unknown. The scarecrow, a friendly man of clothing and straw who wants a brian, the tin woodsman, a sweet man made of tin who wants a heart, the lion, a kind and cowardly forest animal who wants courage and the wicked witch of the west, a evil witch who wants the rubey slippers and revenge on Dorthy for accidently killing her sister, the wicked witch of the east. As Dorthy and her friends follow the yellow brick to the emerald city, the place where the great and powerful and mysterious Wizard of Oz lives the magic of this film can tell the rest.

    A true masterpiece! Excellent polt, characters, music and more. It holds an emotional presents that will touch everyone's heart and wish they were in the Land of Oz! See it and live through the magic of this timeless classical film of wonders.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An OZ-some DVD Experience
    Like most baby boomers, I've watched this film dozens of times in the past on broadcast TV, then VHS tape, then LaserDisc ... but I had never actually SEEN "The Wizard of Oz" until this newly restored DVD came out. It's an amazing transfer. The sepia-tone Kansas sequences are startlingly sharp and clear, and the Technicolored world "Over the Rainbow" is truly dazzling. I found myself fascinated by details I had never noticed before: the glittering corn stalks in the Scarecrow's field; the mirror-like floors of the Emerald City; the polished buttons on the guardsmen's uniforms. Incredibly, even the individual grains of red sand in the Witch's hourglass stood out and glistened! All these minor-but-sumptuous visual details served to heighten the magical spell that the film has always woven, enhancing the performances, the story, and the music.

    The DVD extras are a mind-boggling embarrassment of riches. The "Making Of" documentary hosted by the incomparable Angela Lansbury is worth the price of the DVD alone, but there's so much more: an international poster gallery, interviews with cast members, deleted scenes, production stills, radio clips, etc, etc. There's enough material to keep even the most casual viewer fascinated for hours, and a true Oz buff will be occupied for days!

    If you only bought a DVD player to watch this one disc, it would well be worth the expense. Treat yourself, and fall in love with this classic film again ... for the first time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful Movie of Oz
    I have been enchanted as I now watch the movie as an adult. It is not just a story about a girl from Kansas trying to get back home - actually, that was added into the movie: "There's no place like home" wasn't in the book even. I think it was a story of things that we want, and that we imagine these things may be granted by the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The scarecrow wants a brain, the tinman a heart, and the lion courage. On their journey off to see the wizard, they encounter the wicked witch of the west - who is determined to get the ruby slippers off of Dorothy's feet. Now, the thing I am puzzled by is at the beginning, Glinda is the one who reminds the wicked witch about the shoes. Then she is the one who places them on Dorothy's feet: "There they are and there they'll stay." Had she not had the shoes, her journey to the wizard would not have been so troublesome. Not to mention that the "good witch" sent Dorothy on a journey to a phony wizard. I wonder now if there was some kind of irony in that - since she was also the one who in the end tells Dorothy that all she has to do is click her heels together and say "there 's no place like home." While the movie is totally a classic I love and will watch over and over again, I am wondering about the book: Were the "ruby slippers" (which were silver in the novel) as magical - and - if there was no "no place like home" in the novel then I am wondering how Dorothy got back to Kansas. I think that because each time I watch this film I realize something new, it will always remain one of my favorite movies ever.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Wizard of Oz is wonderful
    The classic film! The Wizard of Oz is wonderful. Judy Garland's breakthrough performance. Beautiful.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up, Growing On
    I knew every line of this as a kid. I loved the books. I even loved the sequel that everyone else hated because I love OZ. I tried to be "over" this movie for a long time as an adult. But every time I see it I re-remember why I couldn't get enough before. The quintessential fairy tale. All kids and all adults should watch it again to remind them that a movie can work without sex, violence or graphic anything really. It's scary -- touching -- and completely engrossing -- more so each year I grow older. ... Read more

    3. The Pirates of Penzance
    Director: Wilford Leach
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6300182762
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 285
    Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    When New York theatrical producer Joseph Papp decided to bringGilbert and Sullivan to Broadway, he added typically broad, bold strokes to maketheir singular operetta format meaningful to 1980s audiences.In ThePirates of Penzance, Papp had a story that offered a mixture of potential action and comedy that was less arcane than other G&S chestnuts, which Papp's production underlined by playing up its antic conflict betweenits hapless, titular pirates and the citizens of Penzance, the Cornish town targeted for plunder.Adding to the new production's mainstream allurewas the theatrical debut for erstwhile country-rock siren Linda Ronstadt asthe virginal Mabel, along with a plum role for another putative popheartthrob, Rex Smith, as the "good" pirate, Frederic.

    Naturally, such amendments piqued complaints from self-appointed G&S purists, for whom the duo's original satirical edge and theatrical innovation were obscured (if not ossified) by their canon's patina of respectability.Happily, for the rest of us, Papp's cheeky revisionsare generally on the money, and this 1983 film version preserves them with unusual fidelity.Instead of opening up his production with location shooting or intricate editing, director Wilford Leach savors theartifice of its stage sets and hokey, colorful costuming, celebrating thegenre's proud theatrical legacy.

    The cast, meanwhile, tears into the farcical plot with elan, led byKevin Kline as the Pirate King, a role perfect for his skill at lampooning masculine bravado (not to mention his underexposed, generally strong singing).Broadway veteran George Rose proves the very model of themodern Major-General Stanley, and Angela Lansbury, added to the film's castfor marquee value, again shows her mettle as the ditzy maid, Ruth. Ronstadt justifies Papp's gamble, having trained rigorously to meet Sullivan's acrobatic melodies--indeed, this project marked her commitment to grow beyond rock, confirmed with her subsequentexploration of classic pop with arranger-conductor Nelson Riddle. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

    Reviews (78)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not Classic G&S, but Great, Nonetheless
    This version of 'Penzance' isn't in classic Gilbert and Sullivan style. However, I fully enjoyed it.
    Angela Lansbury plays Ruth very well. She incorporates a Scottish accent, giving her role a very homely and authentic feel. Her voice is superb.
    Kevin Kline's Pirate King probably steals the show. He has a certain wittiness to his role, while at the same time being, plainly, stupid. Probably, he is the funniest out this, all in all, very funny movie.
    George Rose plays Major General Stanley very well also. In his rendition of the perpetual classic, "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General", he is topped by none other. The version is slightly adapted from Gilbert and Sullivan's original, with a presto-agitato ending flourish.
    As Mabel, Linda Rondstadt has great vocals, reaching every high note perfectly. I noticed, though, her acting skills were highly below par.
    Tony Azito plays a very comical Sergant. His vocals are a bit too nasally and over-comic, but his acting is flawless. All of his movements seem to flow together very well forming a VERY funny carachter.
    All in all, this is probably the best version of 'Pirates' out there. Everything meshes very well. Buy it!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Romp
    Unlike a previous reviewer, I am a long-time Gilbert and Sullivan lover who loved this movie--I first saw it some 15 years ago, and I waited for many years for it to come out on video. Needless to say, when I finally bought a VCR, I bought this as soon as I could find it.

    The three key roles in Pirates are the Major General, the Pirate King, and the Sergeant of Police. All are well cast here. Tony Azito has a bit less vocal heft than a true Savoyard would like in the Police Sergeant's role, but he is superb at the physical comedy the role demands. George Rose is a superb Major General (that's, in Anna Russell's immortal phrase, "the little man who prances around and sings the patter song.") Best of all, Kevin Kline turns in a terrific performance as the Pirate King, showing once again what a wonderfully versatile actor he is.

    Of the rest of the cast, Linda Rondstadt and Rex Smith, as the young lovers, are good. As Mabel, Rondstadt's job is primarily to sing with gusto, which she certainly does. G&S purists may be annoyed by Smith's casting as Frederic, since he does not have the pure tenor voice the role calls for, but he acquits himself well in the comic moments.

    All in all, this is a movie to be enjoyed over and over. And for any of you out there who don't like it, a suitable penalty has been prepared. Something with boiling oil in it, I fancy. Yes, boiling oil or molten lead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Slave of Duty
    Kevin Kline who has performed in such diverse productions as "Hamlet" and "A Fish Named Wanda" gleefully buckles and swashes through the role of the Pirate King in Joseph Papp's 1983 movie of "The Pirates of Penzance." He's not a bad singer, either. If you prefer a slightly more British version of this Gilbert and Sullivan character, the Pirate King was once played by Prince Charles when he was a boy at Gordonstoun School in 1967. However, I don't think a movie was made of the Gordonstoun version.

    Broadway veteran George Rose is the very model of a modern Major-General, and Angela Lansbury, added to the film's cast for marquee value, mugs a ditzy path through her role as nursemaid-turned-pirate. Linda Ronstadt is a suitably sappy Mabel, and her suitor, Rex Smith is a sexy ex-pirate, although I didn't particularly care for his crooning falsetto.

    This is a very lively production, whatever purists might have to say about Papp's borrowing of the 'matter' trio from Ruddigore and Josephine's first act ballad from "H.M.S. Pinafore," not to mention a scene from 'Pinfore' which is turned into an operetta within an operetta at the climax of this movie. Even those of us who are not particularly fond of Gilbert and Sullivan can enjoy this 'Pirates' for its roguish, romping energy (Kevin Kline is a heckuva dancer, too) and spectacular sets. Except for George Rose and Angela Lansbury, the singing is a little hard to understand, but if you really need to understand all of the words get one of the Stratford Festival versions.

    This 'Pirates' is too much fun to pass up.

    5-0 out of 5 stars fabulous production of a G & S classic
    Anyone who enjoys the wit and merriment of Gilbert and Sullivan will adore this marvelous production. The cast is superb, with Kevin Kline giving us one of his most delectable performances, playing the Pirate King with bravura and remarkable athletic ability. Rex Smith is wonderful as the handsome Frederick; he has a gorgeous tenor voice, with a charming vibrato and fine timbre.
    Linda Ronstadt is a cute and demure Mabel, and as her father, the Major-General Stanley, George Rose is a riot. His of course is one of the most famous fast-patter songs ever written, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General", and he makes the most of it. Other notable performances are by Angela Lansbury as Ruth, and Tony Azito, who is a terrific dancer, as the Sergeant.

    The staging and choreography are top-notch, and I'm especially fond of the sets, which look like three-dimensional paintings, contrasted by usually having running water in each scene. Lovely cinematography (Douglas Slocombe) and excellent direction by Wilford Leach make this one of the best G & S films ever.
    Gilbert loved to parody the conventions and society of his time in his lyrics, and Sullivan did the same with grand opera. There are sections of "Penzance" that spoof Verdi's "Il Trovatore" and "La Traviata".

    The official premiere was in 1879 in New York City, and the opera still sparkles with cleverness, its silly plot devices are still inanely funny, and the characters still lovable.
    The subtitle to the opera is "The Slave of Duty", and the story concerns a boy who was mistakenly apprenticed to pirates by his nurse, who hard of hearing, thought her master said "pirate" instead of "pilot"; when he meets Mabel, feelings, sense of duty, and being born on February 29th (one of those silly plot devices !) collide, and chaos ensues.
    This performance, based on the N. Y. Shakespeare Festival production, will thoroughly delight anyone who appreciates Gilbert and Sullivan, and Kevin Kline fans will love to see yet another facet of his talent. Total running time is 1 hour and 52 minutes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasingly fun
    Pirates of Penzance is a truly special production to be sure. The comical performance by Rex Smith makes up for any poor singing, Linda Ronstadt's graceful tones and beauty adds a gentle touch and Kevin Cline took even my Father by surprise with his athletic movement and deep tones. But I can not possibly leave out the policemen, they did a remarkable job as well and gave the later half of the video the spark it needed.
    Alright, I will admit my Mother left the room after half to read her emails and my Father was nearly asleep, but neither hurdles stopped me from watching it more than once everyday for over a week until I had to return it to it's anxious owners. Over all, though I'm no expert, I consider it a must see for anyone who simply wants to sit back enjoy a laugh and maybe even sing-a-long. ... Read more

    4. The Jungle Book
    Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
    list price: $26.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6304500831
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 152
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (64)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A good movie with even better music
    Mowgli was raised by wolves and now he's growing up in the jungle. He's been in the jungle all his life, so he doesn't know what it's like to even be around another person. But it's not as bad as it sounds, Mowgli has tons of great friends such as the hilarious Baloo the bear. But he also has a few enemies, mainly a gruesome tiger named Shere Khan, who doesn't like humans at all. It's up to Mowgli to survive in the wilderness, and with the aid of his friends, he'll have a good chance of not having to worry about Shere Khan. But will Mowgli ever find out what it's like to be around other people?

    "The Jungle Book" is a good movie. It has good animation, it's entertaining with the animated drama and the hilarious antics of Baloo, and it has some of the best songs out of any of the Disney movies, such as "Bear Necessities." I recommend anybody who likes animated movies to take a walk in the jungle and give "The Jungle Book" a chance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's just a bare necessity!
    The feature-length cartoons Disney continues to produce are fine films, but nowhere near as good as classics like The Jungle Book. Unburdened by the modern-day Disney habit of giving every film a heavy family-friendly moral message, the Jungle Book is just 100% pure fun, with a cool hero (Mowgli), entertaining friends (especially the bear Baloo) and some great villainous characters (most memorably Shere Khan the tiger). This movie was made years before Phil Collins or Elton John were drafted in as cartoon soundtrack composers, and the songs are just awesome - "The Bare Necessities", "I Wanna Be Like You" and Kaa the snake's hissed encouragement to "Trust in Me". Get this DVD while you can!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Contrasting review
    I know how many people gave five star reviews on here. Mine is not a five star review. I am giving you my straight opinion on this movie.

    One, I don't think this movie is fit for family viewing. Adults will not find it interesting or entertaining, and it hardly serves any purpose in teaching moral lessons to children. Two, this cartoon almost borders on animated pedophilia. It just looks sick and wrong, really, with this older, scary bear taking this young innocent away and teaching him his "bear ways."

    This is not charming entertainment. This is a pain. If you want a charming, older Disney movie you should check out their animated version of Robin Hood. The music in Robin Hood is far better as well. I have always disliked "The Jungle Book."

    5-0 out of 5 stars To Run with the Wolves: A Girlhood Dream
    I'm a little kid, don't remember exactly how old, elementary school age. My teenage cousin promises to take me to see *The Jungle Book*. She falls asleep. Minutes are ticking down to show time. I poke at her but she snoozes on. Elders tell me to leave her alone. I stand over her and glare, using my powers of mind control to will her awake. It works!

    I was just desperate to see this movie. I loved all the Disney animals stories and *The Jungle Book* turned out to be my favorite. The lively songs, lush animation, compelling characters, and strong storyline left quite an impression on me. Can never forget the loving and gentle Bagheera, that kooky monkey, and Baloo, Baloo the lovable bear. Ooh, and that sinister Shere Khan striking fear in the hearts of all and the slithering sneaky snake always up to no good. The voices used are wonderful and fit the characters to perfection. I was in heaven, and it has stood the test of time by remaining one of my favorite animated films.

    I just wanted so badly, just longed to be a girl version of Mowgli. Raised by wolves, living wild and free in the jungle, playing with the bears and apes. Climbing trees and swinging from vines. Yep, that was the life for me. I sobbed at the end, crying: No, Mowgli, don't leave your animal friends behind and live with people. You are making a big mistake! Would he return to his original home? I wondered, why of course he would!

    As an adult, I understand Mowgli's decision to join the village and live with his own kind. The girl in me, though, still doesn't get it and yearns to run free.

    4-0 out of 5 stars jungle book
    jungle book is an enjoyable and funny film it is wonderful for children and i thought it was good as well. ... Read more

    5. The Sound of Music
    Director: Robert Wise
    list price: $6.98
    our price: $6.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000067JG3
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 19
    Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (337)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The happiest sound in its best version yet!
    Reviled by some, beloved by many, consistently referred to as the most popular movie musical ever made, THE SOUND OF MUSIC more than fulfills the promise of its beautiful visuals and expert song numbers on home video via DVD. This edition tops the 1995 laserdisc by allowing the sparkling, exemplary design of its 70mm. Todd-AO frame to be exhibited with increased sharpness and resolution. The 4.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is powerful and clean, but since this film was originally mixed for six-track magnetic stereo, it's curious why the effort wasn't made by Fox to split the surrounds! Nonethless, the film sounds terrific. The extra features make this package a bargain at the price. Full length commentary by director Bob Wise, with the musical numbers presented sans vocals, is a great touch. And the two documentaries are beautifully presented; full of facts and bits of arcane information that any fan will truly enjoy. A great movie, and a great DVD rendition. More like this, PLEASE!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!! One of the Best Musicals Ever Made!!!
    First of all, I'd like to confess that I've probably watched this movie more than one hundred times in my lifetime.

    "The Sound of Music" is such a popular movie that people can't enough of making fun of it, which is understandable: I mean, a nun, seven children, songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Austrian landscape. In reality, most of these people probably haven't sat down and watched this movie, because it is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

    Julie Andrews is absolutely magical as Maria. When she runs on the mountaintop and starts singing the famous lyrics "The hills are alive...," it sends chills down my spine to this day. Christopher Plummer cuts a good figure as the captain but gave a rather stiff performance: he doesn't bring anything extra to the role. Eleanor Parker, as the Baroness, was wasted--a role like that was far beneath her talents. But the children were all wonderful, especially Charmian Carr who was charming as Liesl.

    This movie is ultrasentimental and proud of it. But I'll stick with this rather than some of those one-dimensional slasher flicks which are in fashion these days. It has a plausible story, some of the world's most remembered songs, and the glorious Austrian and Swiss Alps in the background. Overall, I can't say anything other than I loved it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Hills Are Alive...Now and Forever
    No matter how many times you've seen this 1965 musicalization of the 1959 stage classic, it's still a joy to behold. For me, there are many reasons. On location filming in Saltzburg heightens the story's magnitude. The casting of Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp was a coup for both 20th Century Fox and director Robert Wise. She's magnificent and ever so professional. Back then, this was only her third Hollywood movie. But she's a pro from start to finish. Everything she does it fraught with such emotion and conviction, you'd swear she was Maria Von Trapp. Opening up the stage play with several new scenes, sub plots, songs, characters and dialogue also benefits what could have been a very sticky situation. Finally, there's the DVD itself. This is the widescreen version that was shown back in theaters when the film first opened. It includes the intermission and the Act II opening music. With no formatting for television, you get to see everything in all it's technicolor glory. On video, half the Von Trapp children didn't fit on the televsion screen. Musical numbers lost there scope as did scenes where you had 13 characters in one room and only saw 7 on the screen. I highly recommend this DVD. But wait, there's more. The 87-minute documentary is awesome. So are segments showing scenes that were cut and up dates on how the kids look today.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie, must see, but don't buy the one disc
    First off. Think you have seen the Sound of Music? Well you haven't. I thought I had, many times. Of course it was always around Xmas with the commerical breaks. But that is a much edited version. There are small but significant cuts everywhere in that version. So this is a great thing to have. My 3 stars relates directly to the lack of extras on the one disc. The movie is 5+ stars, but the lack of extras warrants the 3 stars.

    So this is a must buy. Also the commentary is very good here. But given the price for this on Amazon, just buy the 2 set version. I got the one disc version at a very good price so it is not a bad buy. But for $6 more, why not enjoy the double DVD? This is a must get for any movie fan, and if you are not into the extras, by all means buy this one. This movie, like all of Rogers and Hammerstein's work is emotional without ever being fake or sentimental. It is full of sentiment and completely honest sentiment at that, but never sentimentality. It totally puts to SHAME almost every director and producer and writer working in Hollywood today. Complete and total shame and disgrace. Nothing coming out of Hollywood today can hold a candle to this. Entire director's careers with academy awards can't even begin to even compare to just this one movie. So get some version, especially if you have young ones. Sit them down, and let them experience what a real movie can be.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This has been a great thing to share with my daughter.
    I grew up with this video and watched it on TV every year. The songs have always stuck in my head. I even did the Sound of Music Tour when I was in Austria. But now I've got my daughter introduced to this beautiful music. This and the Wizard of Oz are her favorites.

    I bought the easy piano scores for her to play the songs on the piano, and singing lessons on CD "Voice Lessons TO GO", by Vaccarino (They're great and a lot cheaper than private voice lessons!) for her, (even though I use them when she's at school). So she is confident to sing along while she plays her Edelweis and Do a Dear. We love it. ... Read more

    6. The Jungle Book
    list price: $24.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000F7MS
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 1106
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of Disney's best
    This is still a classic film! Fun fun fun and great songs to boot! Baloo is the friend you wish you'd had as a kid! And Baghera is the protector we all needed. A wonderful escape, fun for all ages!!! Don't hesitate here.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great Disney classic
    The jungle book is about a human boy named Mowgli who is raised by a pack of wolves in the jungle, until it is decided that he can't stay in the jungle anymore. Bagheera has problems getting Mowgli back to the man village, because Mowgli dosen't want to leave the jungle. Then Mowgli meets baloo the bear. After an encounter with the mad King Louie of the apes, and pressed to return to the man village by Baloo and Bagheera, Mowgli runs away. Later on, Mowgli meets Shere Khan, the tiger. I can't tell you what happens at the end, you'll have to see for yourself. Unfortunately, halfway through the production of the jungle book, Walt Disney died. If you want more jungle fun, be sure to check out The Jungle book 2. ... Read more

    7. Little Mermaid
    list price: $26.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302212529
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 1573
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this Original Edition
    Disney's 1989 animated film THE LITTLE MERMAID is a very formidable movie, surpassing the combined visual and musical artistic talents of all concerned. Character development is one of the strong points of THE LITTLE MERMAID achieved through concise dialogue, music and simplistic yet effective images. However, most effective to the success of this film are the songs that advance the story line and define the characters. That was the brilliance of lyricist Howard Ashman's contribution to THE LITTLE MERMAID. He and composer Alan Menken developed songs that in several minutes clearly define Ariel's reckless but innocent curiosity about the humans above and her yearning to discover that world. Every song in THE LITTLE MERMAID bolsters the depth of the characters, advances the plot or enhances the significance of a scene in addition to being very melodic and well written. So in THE LITTLE MERMAID we are given a substantial amount of information and entertainment in a minimum amount of time. There is not a single frame of wasted footage in this film. The combined effort is one of a splendid and effortless looking perfect creation of a classical animated Disney tale. I love this original edition on VHS.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Independent Woman at a young age
    This Disney Classic, made in 1989 is the tale of a young mermaid, Ariel, who is at the point in her life where she is ready to become and independent woman. Her fantasy of being part of the human race explodes when she swims to the top of the sea, and sees Prince Eric, who will eventually become the love of her life. After saving Price Eric from drowning, she can not get him off of her mind. She decides that it is time for her to gain some independence, so she goes to Ursula, a sea witch. In exchange for her beautiful voice, Ariel is given the opportunity to become a human, and risk everything for Price Eric. This movie is meant for young girls, yet uses a lot of imagery in order to speak about societal issues. Women in this movie are viewed primarily as dependent upon men, until they take their own initiative. Ariel is dependent on her father for her whole life, and only tries to gain independence when she has the chance to be with the man of her dreams. In order for Ariel to win his heart, she must give something of great importance away. This in itself may give young children the message that in order for a woman to win a man's heart, she must do it without using her voice, that her looks would simply be enough. Ariel in a sense will be judged by Prince Eric, simply based on her body, exemplifying the notion that women are only viewed by men, having nothing to do with their "voice" or personality. Although this view of the woman is negative, in the end of the film women are looked at in a much more positive light. The idea that a man can get passed looks, and love a woman for her "voice" comes out at the end of the film when Eric chooses Ariel, the woman with the beautiful voice for who she really is. This makes the stereotype of an "Independent woman" seem possible to young girls; Ariel was able to persevere through problems that would come her way, and would use all her effort, including her "voice" to win a man's heart. This movie has many messages for young girls, although not positive all throughout, in the end children are given a positive view of what it means to be an independent woman who is able to accomplish her goals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is beaut
    As a child, this movie was the most psycho thing I had ever seen. Triton and Ursula were maniacs! The part where he trashes the grotto has got to be the most compellingly frightening moment in my cinematic life - and you're talking to the person who sat down and 'gorged' the slaughter scenes in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Kill Bill Volume 1". Triton is really scary. I used to have nightmares about him. After the grotto-trashing, we encounter another psycho. Ursula's song is, once again, the most compellingly frightening moment in my cinematic life. As a kid, watching this film for the first time, I was entirely overwhelmed. But, for a very long time, it was hard to find - and the rental copy I'd constantly hire had crumbled into pieces. I eventually found the original VHS at a flea-market, and it's meant to be worth (because one of my older friends ran a video shop) over $400 in Australian currency. After seeing Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King and Pocahontas (some other amazing experiences) I count this as my all-time favourite Disney movie and the most scariest and overwhelming and frightening of them all. 10/10.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable family film from the HOUSE of MOUSE
    While "Beauty and the Beast" may have nominated for BEST Picture, "The Lion King" may have captured the world's attention, and "Aladdin" may have soared with a Robin Williams-voiced genie, "The Little Mermaid" still stands as the landmark film that brought Disney animation to the forefront.

    The first of the studio's modern-day musicals, "The Little Mermaid" has it all: a feisty heroine, a faithful mentor/protector, a slightly off-center sidekick, a hunky leading man, a Godlike father, and a villain at the peak of wickedness.

    The vocal performances by Jodi Benson ("Ariel"), Kenneth Mars ("King Triton"), Samuel E. Wright ("Sebastian"), Buddy Hackett ("Scuttle") and Pat Carroll ("Ursula") are, without a doubt, the best ever heard in a Disney film. Able-bodied vocal support is given by the always-dependable Rene Auberjoinois as a set-upon French chef.

    The songs ("Under the Sea", "Part of Your World", "Poor Unfortunate Soul", "Kiss the Girl") are Broadway-worthy.

    It's a shame that the film is not in circulation at the moment. It is truly one in need of remastering and "special edition" status with extras.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 5 star fishes
    Under the sea is the best place to be. Somewhere under the sea, and beyond your imagination, lies an adventure of fantasy...Mermaids are supposed to stay under the sea, but there was never a mermaid quite like Ariel!! The headstrong teenager (She's 16, by the way)longs to be part of the magical world on land. much to the dismay of her father, King Triton. When she falls in love with a human prince by the name of Eric, Ariel looks to Ursula, a divinely and diabolical sea witxh, who makes Ariel a human in exchange for her golden voice!! With the help of her friends, Shy and Lovable Flounder and Sebastian, a reggae-singing crab, Ariel must win her princes love in a thrilling race against time!!!!

    This movie is a CLASSIC and a must have in your Disney collection. If you dont have it, YOU'RE A POOR UNFORTUNATE SOUL. ... Read more

    8. White Nights
    Director: Taylor Hackford
    list price: $9.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302862949
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 349
    Average Customer Review: 3.69 out of 5 stars
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    Sometimes movies are built around a great idea begging for a story, in this case pairing ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov with tap great Gregory Hines. The resulting storm of dance in White Nights, as one would expect, is great, but the story is a little forced. Baryshnikov plays (in parallel to his own life) a Russian defector to the U.S. who ends up a prisoner in the motherland after his plane is forced to land in Leningrad during an emergency. Hines is an American expatriate who gets involved with the situation. Director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman) punctuates an escape scenario and relationship dilemmas with as many dance sequences as possible, and the result is a wobbly, unconvincing tale with some furious footwork. Fortunately, performances carry the day, as the two male leads are both very strong as actors, and the supporting cast--Isabella Rossellini, Helen Mirren, and filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski (Moonlighting)--is terrific.--Tom Keogh ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    3-0 out of 5 stars It was great when I saw it in high school...
    I recently saw this again and sheesh.... it's all about perception. This film is very 80s...very very very '80s. Seeing Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing in tights was worth the experience of the rest of the movie when I saw this back in the carefree days of high school.

    Great and convincing acting by Isabella Rossellini, Helen Mirren and Gregory Hines don't save this from being what seems in this day and time to be a ridiculous story. It's easy to forget what a threat the Soviet Union was at the time... and how scary the thought of being trapped in communist Russia really was... neighbor spying on neighbor, eavesdropping equipment everywhere and just cold, dreary days one after another. This is a film best enjoyed by folks who can remember what it was like be around in the 80s w/ the fear of nuclear war. This is hardly a "timeless" piece, but still enjoyable.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Eleven pirouettes!
    Baryshnikov does eleven pirouettes straight. What more can you ask for? Anyway, the movie was very good. It was a dark, communist Soviet Union film, with a lot of tension. But most importantly, Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov were fantastic. It is superhuman what they can do.

    5-0 out of 5 stars every thing
    the beauty,grace, and syncronozation of these two men dancing from such different backgrounds and styles was magnificent. The love, trust, and faith under such difficult situations was indescribable. The story with its action and psychological background kept me riveted to the screen (5 OR SIX TIMES OR MORE!) When do I order my dvd?!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!
    Wonderful dancing, great story, good music too and Barisnikov back to his roots. Altough the Kirov scenes were filmed in Portugal. Opening scene is lovely.....

    5-0 out of 5 stars Most beautiful!
    I love this movie. It's my all time favourite and it's great to see it's out on DVD. Mikhail Barischnikow is of course the greatest dancer and performs his artistry. The storyline is breathtaking. All actors and actresses are simply supreme. It was Isabella Rosselini's first movie role . I saw this movie the first time in the cinema and it was the first time I saw Gregory Hines - who will truely be missed. He was a great actor and step dancer. This movie is one of the greatest but only a few people seem to know ... Read more

    9. Riverdance - The Show
    Director: John McColgan
    list price: $21.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6304022492
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 187
    Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (49)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes the original is truly the best
    A far cry from the static monstrosity the show has become on Broadway, the original Riverdance with Michael Flatley and Jean Butler is unbeatable. Colin Dunn may be a skilled performer, but no amount of championship titles can make up for the fact he lacks Flatley's presence and command of the audience. This production of Riverdance is the only one you need - forget Riverdance: The journey and the Radio City Music hall nightmare. This is Riverdance the way it was meant to be, before the producers drove Flatley away and stole his creation. The can claim credit all they wish, but Michael Flatley proved where the true passion for the dance went when he bravely formed his own production of Lord of the Dance and later, Feet of Flames. The current Broadway Riverdance show is fine for making the producers money and appeasing the tourists, but they cannot deny the passion and fire of the original is gone. The only thing worth watching the Broadway cast for is the added solos of Maria Pages and the newer modern tap routines. But there is no beating the original production, with it's passion and fire that truly embody the spirit of the Celts. Between Bill Whelan's gorgeous score and Flatley and Butler's unequaled talents leading a fabulously talented cast, this is truly an example of a great idea that should never have been tampered with.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this version!
    I've seen both versions of "Riverdance," with and without Michael Flatley, and I think this one is far and away the better. His successor is a terrific dancer, in a rather self-contained style, but he lacks Flatley's gusto and his rapport with the other dancers and the audience (compare the duos with Jean Butler in both versions and you'll see what I mean). Flatley always looks as if he's enjoying himself, and he throws himself into every performance with passion and enthusiasm -- even after many hundreds of shows, it's not "just a job" to him! Ms. Butler is superb: she can be light as thistledown, or stomp out an intricate rhythm in tap shoes with the best of them.
    As for the rest of the film, I could have done with fewer choral selections, although both Anuna and the Gospel group perform well. I would have liked to see more of the band: as an Irish music aficionado, I was stunned to read the credits and see the caliber of musicians who'd been performing, but the tape didn't give more than the odd 10 seconds to anyone besides Davy Spillane. And I can't imagine why the filmmakers didn't include the tap dance segment, which was, to me, the best part of the New York tape.
    But this version has it all over the other in one very important respect: whoever filmed it understood something about Irish dancing. They focused on the footwork, which, to a fan of this dance style, is THE most interesting part. The show was a gigantic hit in Ireland -- and in the heavily Irish communities in the U.S. -- in large part because it took a traditional (sometimes hackneyed) ethnic dance form and turned it on its ear. If it's filmed as just another razzle-dazzle dance show, with no attention to its roots, much of the enjoyment goes out of it -- and I think that happened in the New York version.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Background information
    I am amazed that so many of those who have seen the video are puzzled by the inclusion of the echos of Spanish and Arabic music in this film.

    This is truly a mesmerizing video, not only because of the spectacular dancing but also because of the inclusion of the diverse cultural and historical facts of Irelands past.

    The answer to the diversity of the "phenomenon" is found in the history of Western Europe. When many of the survivors of the wrecks of the Armada ended up on its shores, Ireland came under the influence of the invasion of the Moors in Spain,. Naturally Spanish/Arabic culture became inculcated in the culture fo the country. So now it must be included in the musical heritage of Ireland.
    As for the gospel music, the Irish that emigrated to the Eastern United States added their ballads and jigs to country music as well as the Africans that were slaves in those same areas and these two became intertwined.

    I found all of the music to be authentic and moving.
    I am Italian by heritage, but just for a moment I was envious of all thse who can claim Irish dancing as their own.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I'm Hooked
    Michael Flatley is a fine dancer and coreographer, and for me the original Riverdance is still his best work. Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames are impressive bits of showmanship, but in all their flash and glitter they lose the powerful, simple beauty of Irish dance that still holds center stage in the original Riverdance.

    Riverdance-The Show is also shot and edited well, like being in a front-row seat, not like a music video. I can't stand the staccato camera cuts in Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flame, but then I'm of an older generation not raised on MTV.

    Jean Butler shines in Riverdance, reason alone to view this show!

    I have watched this video over and over and am not tired of it yet! Except I skip most of the songs now. Just give me the dance!

    5-0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE SHOW!!
    this is the one show that is the best one, with the true stars!i saw the other riverdance shows but this one is the one. some people say that flatley is arogant, but i think he is being proud and you can see it at his eyes, it is simply great and he is the best so you can't blame him to be proud at himself. the same goes for jean butler, she is just perfect in this show i never seen better "irish dancer" than her....
    IT IS SIMPLE THE BEST! ... Read more

    10. Lady Sings the Blues
    Director: Sidney J. Furie
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $13.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6300216381
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 465
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Diana Ross stars as legendary blues singer Billie Holiday in this biopic that chronicles her rise and fall. It begins with her late childhood, a stint as a prostitute, those early days as a blues singer, her marriages, and her drug addiction. Overly glossy and lacking depth, this is worth seeing only for the performances. Diana Ross was nominated for an Oscar for her acting debut. A dynamo with sparkling screen presence, she realistically conveys the confusion and unhappiness that caused Holiday so much grief. Her performance is almost matched by romantic interest Billy Dee Williams. Watch for Richard Pryor, who is most powerful in a dramatic supporting role as the piano player in a brothel. --Rochelle O'Gorman ... Read more

    Reviews (29)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome story, even better acting and producing!!!
    I have always been a huge fan of Diana Ross and Lady Day, but putting that aside this movie is truly worth every penny, every minute you spend watching. The Billie Holiday story stands by itself as an incredible testimony to what it was like to be black in 1930's America, but add to that Diana's vulnerability and beautiful voice and you have one of the best stories ever put on film!!!! I just can't wait until it is put on DVD with 5.0 dolby digital sound..........does anyone out there know when that might happen????? :) Buy the movie, you will not regret it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not Billie's real story, but I give Diana props
    I'm not a Diana Ross fan, but in this movie, she was excellent and convincing as Lady Day. Dynamic performances by Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor as well. My only fault with this movie that it was not Billie Holiday's real story. It was filled with inaccuracies and purely fictional situations. Even Berry Gordy, Ross' one-time lover and mentor, admitted that the script was bogus, but it still was very riveting. This was Ross' first film and even though she never took a drama lesson in her life, she pulled this off with no problem. Definitely worth checking out.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not only is the film historically inaccurate,
    but it's an absolute DISGRACE to the memory and legacy of the real Lady Day. Diana was a decent (solo) to great(Supremes) soul singer, but she's no great actor. She's simply competent ... watching Mahogany proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. To do the story of Billie Holiday, easily one of the most influential and lasting jazz/torch singers of the 20th century, and not cast a known quantity was a serious mistake on Gordy and Motown's part. Not only didn't Ross look the part, she certainly didn't act it, and her voice is nothing like Billie's;it's far weaker and devoid of the "body" Lady Day had. The only bright spot in this was Rochard Pryor's part, even though, again, it was 99% fiction. Save your time, save your money. Buy a Billie Holiday CD, her autobiography, and enjoy the real thing. Maybe one day someone will make a REAL film bio of the Lady.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate, but the performances are powerful
    The complex life of jazz singer Billie Holiday cannot be summed up in a two-and-a-half hour film unless it's a documentary. Therefore, LADY SINGS THE BLUES misses the boat in portraying Billie's life, but hits the target in casting Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. The chemistry between these three thespians are a joy to behold. And Ms. Ross sings Billie's songs very well without resorting to imitating the jazz legend.

    3-0 out of 5 stars MINUS 2 STARS FOR INACCURACY...
    But a STRONG 3 stars for Diana's acting and rendering of Billie's tunes (I got chills when she sang "Strange Fruit"). This story doesn't represent the life of Billie Holiday AT ALL, but it was a nice fantasy. I must admit that Billie Dee Williams' over-the-top performance was really annoying, hokey and downright laughable. Richard Pryor added a lovable and humorous spark to the flick that was unforgettable! I'm hoping the reason it's taking so long for this movie to come out on DVD is that they are going to make it fabulous with all sorts of extra features and whatnot. Otherwise:


    11. The Jazz Singer
    Director: Richard Fleischer
    list price: $14.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302906644
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 467
    Average Customer Review: 3.87 out of 5 stars
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    Not much jazz spoken in this 1980 version of the Jolson classic, directed by Richard Fleischer(The Vikings) and starring a very tentative Neil Diamond as a cantor's son who would rather sing commercially than in a synagogue. The soundtrack is tedious, the portrait of L.A.'s music industry preposterous, and Diamond (despite his talents as a singer-songwriter in the real world) can't help but look like a speck on the wall in the presence of Laurence Olivier, who plays his father. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Diamond's Music, Olivier's Presence, OH MAMMY!
    This review refers to the VHS(1989 paramount) edition of this film....
    At the 1927-1928 (First) Academy Awards Presentation "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolsen picked up a special award for pioneering the "Talkies". Obviously sound has come alooooong way since then and this 1980 modern day remake makes good use of it.
    Jess Robinovitch(Neil Diamond)is a 5th generation Jewish cantor,tied to his role in the temple in the lower east side of New York. . His voice is phenominal(of course),he writes his own music, ballads mostly and has a chance to strike out on his own in Los Angeles.
    He leaves for L.A. against the wishes of father, the 4th generation cantor(Laurence Olivier), and his wife, who likes things just the way they are.
    It will take a while to achieve super stardom(at least a month!), but with the help of his new manager Molly(Lucie Arnaz),it is accomplished!The problem is his family is unhappy with the situation, his wife liked life when it was just them, his father is torn up about his son going against tradtion.Jess is having trouble coming to terms with the downfall of his relationship with his father. Molly feels responsible for the rift. Get your Kleenex ready as they work this out.
    Diamond's soundtrack is wonderful. It includes "Love on the Rocks" and "Hello Again".Sir Olivier has not lost his touch, He is still the master. The British legend plays the Jewish cantor steeped in tradtion like he was born to the part, his performance alone is worth the watch.
    The VHS is in hi-fi stereo, Dolby Surround, which enhances this musical.
    Need a nice cry? This is the one!.......Laurie

    2-0 out of 5 stars For Diamond Music Fans Only
    If you are a fan of Neil Diamond's music, then you will no doubt enjoy this movie.

    Purely as a movie, however, this isn't very good. Cliched and schmaltzy, most of the scenes seem strung together as an excuse to fill time between musical numbers. The story, as borrowed from the original Jolson film: son of a cantor wants to sing popular music instead of following in his father's footsteps.

    Neither Diamond nor Arnaz are going to win Oscars anytime soon -- in fact, Diamond demonstrates that, as an actor, he's a heck of a singer. The only shining performance in this movie is that of the incomparable Olivier, who proves that he can play any role given to him impeccably, no matter how dopey the surroundings.

    If you are expecting any meat or substance to this movie, forget it. The music IS good enough to sit through once, which is why it gets two stars from me, but the only reason I own it is because my wife simply adores Diamond's music.

    Buy the soundtrack, if you like it, but I would avoid the film itself. The DVD, meanwhile, is nothing special; the print is average at best, and there are no extra features worth discussing.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Luci Arnaz- remove this from your resume
    Ugh. Poor plot development and cardboard characters. For example, he loves his wife sooooo much and discards her sooooo easily? Not likely. Lucie Arnaz, a wonderful personality and normally "good" actress is a cartoon character. Who could fall in love with Neil Diamond with all his angst and schmaltzy whining? Not I, that's for sure.

    3-0 out of 5 stars a bad movie with great music
    This is not a great adaptation of the Jazz singer,the acting is mediocre,the progress of the plot is unrealistic,but Neil Diamond`s great music makes it worth watching.I used to have the soundtrack to this movie,i enjoyed it a great deal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL!
    I can't understand why this movie was so poorly accepted. It was a well acted, well directed film. ... Read more

    12. Maytime
    Director: Robert Z. Leonard
    list price: $19.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6301973089
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 2417
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "SPRINGTIME, LOVETIME, MAY"
    So ends the haunting refrain of Sigmund Romberg's lovely "Will You Remember?"--the signature song of his wartime hit "Maytime." Otherwise known as the Sweetheart song ("Sweetheart, sweetheart, sweetheart..."), this song of songs is the recuring theme of this 1937 MGM musical masterpiece.

    The screens own singing sweethearts, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were at the peak of their vocal powers and this opulent film was their crowning victory. Miss MacDonald claimed this as her own personal favorite.

    Marcia (Jeanette), an American opera singer in Paris, and Paul (Nelson), an American voice student, fall hopelessly in love in a chance meeting followed by an enchanting outing at the Maytime festival. Unfortunately it is too late, for she has just accepted the proposal of her egocentric voice teacher, Nicolai, (marvelously played by John Barrymore). Separated for years, the sweethearts are finally reunited as Paul now has an international career of his own. They are paired for "Czaritza", an original MGM confection skillfully using Tchaikovsky's infectious Fifth Symphony", but Nicolai's jealousy ultimately leads to tragedy.

    As the film opened with the aging Marcia Mornay reflecting back on her illustrious career and upon her unfulfilled love for Paul, so does it end. Life slips peacefully from her frail body as her spirit is once again united with her lifelong love, who had gone before her, and the two of them stroll longingly down their celestial lane as apple blossoms fall blushingly to the ground. This is one of the most poignant scenes in cinematic history. The music is glorious--almost beyond description. The costumes and sets are lavish in style and detail. "Will you remember?" Indeed you will! This is a joyous reminder of the nostalgia and happiness we feel each year in "Springtime, Lovetime, May."

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE FOR MAC & EDDY FANS!
    Maytime is the best movie this duo ever made. Unlike some other movies of theirs together this one isn't cheesy. The plot line is great, the romance is beautiful, the acting fantastic, and the music gorgeous! Plus it's a great tear-jerker. Watching the love bloom between Marcia (Mac) and Paul (Eddy) is as entertaining and romantic as ever. John Barrymore does a superb job as Marcias obsessed voice teacher. He definately makes you hate him. And no matter what anyone says the ending makes the whole movie! It wouldn't be Maytime without it. And even if you don't like the ending, the movie is worth watching just to see Nelson Eddy sing "Ham and Eggs" or the Prima Donna song. It's such a shame that Hollywood doesn't make good movies like this anymore.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Movie
    For many years, I would watch this movie on TV every May 1st.I would wake up in the middle of the night to feel the emotion and joy of Marcia and Paul in love. Now that I have it on VHS, I can watch it as often as I wish.
    They do not make love stories, nor musicals like this any more.It is a classic. It moves me every time I watch it. And when they sing at the fair "Sweetheart" I get very tearful.
    Thank you Jeanette and Nelson, for making this beautiful film.

    4-0 out of 5 stars More than happy
    When I bought this vhs, I was not expecting such a quality in sounds and clearness. This film was made in the 30 after all. And what made me happier is that the story keep us awakened from the beginnig till the end. The lovely voice of Jeanette MacDonald is an enchantment in all the opera'a arias she sings. Nelson Eddy is also good, but not enough to be the opera singer they expected from him. But what a story! And, woudl it be only for Jeanette lyrics and her fascinating eyes, it is worted more than the price I paid for it. Three times BRAVO!

    Though usually I don't like to watch anything of this sort I enjoyed the thrilling plot. It was wonderfully acted and is one of the best videos I've seen from the 1930's. ... Read more

    13. A Star Is Born
    Director: Frank Pierson
    list price: $14.94
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6300267997
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 1576
    Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential video

    This film actually began with the idea of remaking A Star Is Born with the then-hot couple James Taylor and Carly Simon. Eventually, it evolved into this vanity production for Barbra Streisand, with Kris Kristofferson as the designated stud muffin. The story remains the same: A superstar on the decline meets a young singer on the way up. They marry as their career trajectories intersect, and his eventual demise is meant as a sacrifice to further boost her career by ridding her of the burden of him. Kristofferson's rock & roll numbers are decidedly lousy--Hollywood's idea of rock music--and Streisand looks good and always sounds fine (she won an Oscar for cowriting the song "Evergreen"). But you can feel her heavy hand guiding every shot; she seems to serve as puppet master for director Frank Pierson, framing every image of herself for maximum glow. The ultimate date flick (if the guy can sit still through it). --Marshall Fine ... Read more

    Reviews (30)

    2-0 out of 5 stars A remake of a remake
    This film makes me recall a rather infamous episode of my life. I wanted to take a date to see "Rocky" in the theater, but she insisted on seeing this movie instead. Just like my date, this picture turned out to be a dud. Because it's loosely based on two previous releases of the same title (one starring Frederic March and Janet Gaynor; the other featuring Judy Garland and James Mason), the plot is uninspired and predictable. As for acting, both Streisand and Kristofferson should stay in the recording studio. The only redeeming feature of this film is Streisand's performance of her hit song "Evergreen".

    5-0 out of 5 stars A STAR IS BORN BARBARA STRIESAND

    3-0 out of 5 stars "I want everything..."
    A blockbuster at the time of it's original release (it was the second-highest grossing film of 1976), the third screen version of A STAR IS BORN has not aged well in the opinion of many. It's not without some irony that Streisand's most commercially successful film would also remain her most controversial. For every ten fans who state that STAR is Streisand's best film, there are always ten more who claim it is the weakest film in her filmography. Actually, though both sides have plenty merit to support their claims, it should still be noted that A STAR IS BORN remains a entertaining - if imperfect - showbiz drama.

    The film is solidly enjoyable, even absorbing at times, but there are several obstacles that prevent it from really hitting it's intended bull's-eye. Changing the setting from the old Hollywood studio system to the competitive world of the music industry was actually a great idea, although I wished the screenplay would have forged a more realistic contrast between the characters' romance and their careers. For example, the film is very successful at this in the first hour and last half-hour (i.e., clashing personal and professional difficulties during recording sessions, never-ending phone calls interrupting Kristofferson's songwriting attempts), however, the midsection of film seems to completely forget about their careers while they're out building their ranch house. This is particularly odd considering that Streisand's "star-making" concert appearance immediately proceeds this, and seems to go completely forgotten about throughout this section of the film.

    The performances are mostly on target, even though the supporting characters aren't fleshed out enough. If you're looking for an actress/singer who can walk the fine line between tough and vulnerable without making herself seem like a script contrivance, Streisand is definitely the girl you want. She's one of the few film stars who can make even the most banal dialogue seem fresh and natural, and, as usual, she manages to make a strong emotional connection with the viewer - even though she's actually playing somewhat of an unlikable, ungrateful character. Kris Kristofferson may not get much respect now for his laid-back characterization, however, he's always interesting watch, and actually received rave reviews at the time from "Newsweek," "Time," and even the "NY Times'" usually vicious Pauline Kael. Gary Busey and Oliver Clark also give believable performances, but both have a fairly minimal amount of screentime.

    Which that brings me to the film's biggest problem: For a film that is nearly two-and-a-half hours long, it really doesn't feel like much happens. Frank Pierson's acceptable, but rather flat direction may be mostly responsible for this, but perhaps some tighter editing would have also improved things. As is, the film has a good amount of memorably effective scenes, but never really gels into a consistent whole. The same goes for the film's slate of original songs, there're all over the map. The Streisand-composed "Evergreen" (with lyrics from Paul Williams) is unarguably one of the most gorgeous songs in contemporary pop, brought to even-further life by an absolutely incomparable vocal performance from Streisand. The rest of the songs (mostly composed by Williams and Rupert Holmes) are much more hit-or-miss. Streisand's vibrant performances bring "Woman In The Moon" and "With One More Look At You" to life, but not much can help Kristofferson's tuneless solos.

    With all of that said, however, the film is still a lot of fun, especially as a timecapsle. All the fashions, decor, and hair styles are more "seventies" then the seventies ever were - if that makes sense. On a less frivolous note, the chemistry between the leads always feels genuine, and Streisand has two emotional scenes near the finale that are both surprisingly affective. Also, the film is slickly and professionally produced and mounted, which means that, if nothing else, it's always good eye-candy while it's playing. In conclusion, A STAR IS BORN is one of those films that really isn't as bad nor as good as most people claim it is.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sweet Childhood Memories
    I remember my mom watching this movie when I was a child. She would watch it every chance that she got to. She was a big Barbra Striesand fan anyway & has made me one too. I love this movie still to this day & it will always continue to be an all-time favorite. Every time that I see it - it always bring back such nice memories from being a child. I can't wait for it come out on DVD!!!!

    3-0 out of 5 stars It's Ok!
    Barbra Streisand's and Kris Krisofferson's remake of A Star is Born was in the theaters when I was eleven years old and I remember my mother who is a big Kris Kristofferson fan going to see it. I didn't get to go see it in the movie theater but I remember watching this movie when it first premeired on HBO and though it's not either Barbra's or Kris' best movies I don't think it was the worst movie ever made and had it's moments. Not a movie I would want to buy on video or DVD but it would be fun to watch again at least one time. ... Read more

    14. Tap
    Director: Nick Castle
    list price: $9.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6301379616
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 2579
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a Way for Sammy To Wind Down and Hines To Heat Up..
    This has to be one of the first movies I ever watched on Cable TV. It was in the early 90s' when I saw this premier on a local TV channel and its' been a definate hit with me through all these years. Along side still powerhouse actor Gregory Hines (Who most recently has been a regular character on Nickelodeon's animated children's series 'Little Bill'), acting/performing greats like Savion Glover and the late Sammy Davis Jr. make this a movie to watch once just for the incredible cast. Hines is Max Washington, the son of a legendary NY tap dancer who, in the movie's storyline, redefined and revolutionized the art. Max foiled his own chance at being a famous dancer when he becomes entangled in crime and retail-burglary. The movie begins with his release from prison. He rejoins old friends (Well, not OLD..just smarter) Sammy Davis others in his NY city neighborhood as they await his return. The story centers around Max's obvious and unmatched talent for tap dancing, and the hard-to-resist need he feels to conform to his old illegal ways over doing something good with his gift. Im an 80s' freak in all ways so I could'nt be objective about the movie, but on top of the great soundtrack and uplifting feel of the story I think this movie would be enjoyable for a lot more people than most would give it credit for. Gregory Hines has a true and untarnished talent that he lends perfectly to the film and Suzanne Douglas as Max's former (and soon to be again) love interest, gives a fantastic performance as Uncle Moe's (Davis Jr.) daughter. I wish they sold this on DVD but I guess it does'nt make all that much of a difference...its' a very wonderfully done Musical/Drama that stands alone for it's originality and all-star cast.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Forget the plot.... See if for the dancing!
    See this movie for the dancing only! The dancing. It's difficult to imagine Gregory Hines as a criminal, ex-prisoner, so that portrayal doesn't come off well. He's not that, he's Gregory Hines the tap dancer. The plot sandwiches typical scenes perfunctorily - the release of the prisoner into society, looking for a job, love interest, crime, etc. There really isn't a storyline, just a remanufacture of stale overused scenes. The cohesive element that makes a story work is missing, characters don't build, and it's predictable.

    But what works is the dancing. See it for that. The film was shot with a smoky sepia-tone image, that impression of both black and white and color. Watch youthful Savion Glover shine! The older hoofers, Jimmy Slide, Arthur Duncan (from the Lawrence Welk Show), Sammy Davis, etc. This dancing ensemble might just be the "best" part of the film. ....MzRizz

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Family Movie!
    This movie was great.... I ordered it just so I could sit and watch it with my kids. A wonderful love story, and lots of drama and dance. You see the real beauty of tap dance, performed by no other than Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr, two of the world's greatest tap dancers. I'm surprised that this move is not already on DVD. Sammy Davis and Gregory Hines were legends in their own right, and more of tap should be introduced to the African American Culture. Angela was astounding in this movie as well!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tap
    What a loss to the world that this talented dancer, singer and actor Gregory Hines has passed away.
    Tap is a wonderful, vibrant and exciting fim, especially if you are a music and tap dance fan. Watching it made me wish that I could tap dance.
    While taking place in modern times, the movie transports the watcher back to a wonderful era in history when the greatest entertainers sang and tapped and Hollywood made the great Musicals.
    This film is not only suitable for all ages, but is loved by all ages. My own son (at the tender age of 4) tapped his way out of the movie theater after seeing this movie, and is now in New York waiting for his big break into the business.
    In this film, Hines introduced the world to another young great Savion Glover.
    The film is an attempt to show the world that Tap, Soft Shoe and other forms of dance are not dead. They are alive and thriving all over the place. We just need to look.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tribute to a Star
    It's strange and a bit sad to watch this movie now. Earlier this week the world heard that dancer/singer/actor Gregory Hines had passed on at the age of 57. In his obituary there was a comment that, while multi- talented, Hines always considered himself first and foremost, a dancer. This movie from the late 80s shows that to be true in all it's wonderful glory.

    Possible Spoilers.....

    The movie opens on a man in a cell. The darkness surrounds him and he looks pained. Slowly he begins to listen to the noise around him. Before you know it the man in on his feet and dancing to the rhythms and sounds of the life in prison. The dance is one of pain but also as it goes forth brings out relaxation as anger is spent but most importantly the man begins to feel joy. Jump forward to the man, Max Washington (Gregory Hines) being released on paroll. He has just spent a few years in Sing Sing. Originally he was sentenced for Grand Theft but time was added on for Assault & Battery of a prison guard.
    Max returns to his old neighborhood and takes a hotel room across from a run down building which houses the "Sunny Side of the Street" tap dance studio. As time goes on we learn that was his father's studio but first you see the various classes taught on the first two levels by an old love interest, Amy (Suzzane Douglas) and her son Lewis (Savion Glover). The true joy of the building is the third floor where the old "Hoofer's" reside. Here we find a virtual who's who of the tap dance world with many of the old masters portraying themselves and of course Sammy Davis, Jr. playing Little Mo.
    Max is not originally totally welcomed back by everyone except for Lewis who looks up to Max as a father, which strongly portrays some of the real life feelings that occurred between Hines and Glover, and Little Mo who has some big ideas of how to get the rock and roll world interested in the tap world. Unfortunately for Mo, Max has a chip on his shoulder regarding the life his father led and the lack of finances that he grew up with. It seems that Max has another family, one in which Max was a first rate second-story man...until the night he got caught and ended in jail.
    The movie is one of conflict between the worlds of the alleged easy and plentiful money and the hard work, no glory, no money world of music. As much as Max hates it this is the world that is within him and continues to draw him back time and time again.
    Hines was a supremely talented man. He could act, he could sing, and man he could dance like no other. He expressed himself in so many ways that it almost didn't seem fair to the rest of us. Here his character of Max is full of rage and anger. He bears a lifetime of resentment at what he perceived his father's life to have been worth and he knows what he has to do to make it better. The anger is almost palpable as it floats off his body. The look in his eyes and the set of his jaws tells people that he isn't going to take any more. That same rage appears at first in his dance. He doesn't just lightly dance on the floor a la Fred Astaire. He pounds the floor and lets it feel his frustration. He attacks it with percussive beats and syncopated rhythms that make the listeners instantly step back...but then the joy appears. First it come in the way he dives across the floor and moves free for all the world and then it reaches Hines eye's and you know at that moment that all will be well for this man.
    The dance sequences alone in this movie are worth sitting through. Hines has most of them starting with the dance inside the jail cell but there are also moments such as the instruction at the construction site as well as the end sequence when he is working with the rock band that are almost hard to sit through. For long time fans of the genre, the "Challenge" segment is a treat as all the old greats get out and show just why they made the business what it was. Also, there is a brief flash of the style from Savion Glover's character at one moment that shows why he was a star at such a young age and gives hints as to his future success with Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Funk!
    The world has lost a great talent this week. But movies like this and Bojangles will be around for years to come and will allow fans to share one last time the joy of seeing a true talent at work in his field. ... Read more

    15. Fiddler on the Roof
    Director: Norman Jewison
    list price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6304151306
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 193
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    This rousing musical, based on the stories of Shalom Aleichem, takes place in pre-revolutionary Russia and centers on the life of Tevye (Topol), a milkman who is trying to keep his family's traditions in place while marrying off his three older daughters. Yet, times are changing and the daughters want to make their own matches, breaking free of many of the constricting customs required of them by Judaism. In the background of these events, Russia is on the brink of revolution and Jews are feeling increasingly unwelcome in their villages. Tevye--who expresses his desire for sameness in the opening number, "Tradition"--is trying to keep everyone, and everything, together. The movie is strongly allegorical--Tevye represents the common man--but it does it dexterously, and the resulting film is a stunning work of art. The music is excellent (it won Oscars for the scoring and the sound), with plenty of familiar songs such as "Sunrise, Sunset" and "If I Were a Rich Man," which you'll be humming long after the movie is over. Isaac Stern's violin--he provides the music for the fiddler on the roof--is hauntingly beautiful. And despite the serious subject matter, the film is quite comedic in parts; it also well deserves the Oscar it won for cinematography. --Jenny Brown ... Read more

    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

    16. Fantasia
    Director: T. Hee, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Ben Sharpsteen, Ford Beebe, Jim Handley, Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Luske, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Bill Roberts
    list price: $24.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 6302158095
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 625
    Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (158)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fantasia is Brilliant, But 3 Disk Set is Overrated
    Walt Disney's 1942 FANTASIA was a groundbreaking film and remains a landmark to this day, a brilliant series of animated sequences set to notable concert music conducted by Leopold Stokowski of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The three disk FANTASIA ANTHOLOGY, however, is extremely overrated.

    The first disk is the original FANTASIA, which Disney describes as restored. This is not strictly true. First and foremost, the restoration of visual elements is sloppy at best, with the film plagued by streaks and blips, and at least one sequence ("Dance of the Hours") appears to be slightly cropped. That aside, portions of the Deems Taylor narration have been completely lost, and these have been rerecorded by Tim Matheson--and Matheson's voice is not a good match for Taylor and the sychronization is poorly done. Lastly, one selection ("Pastoral") has been censored: a brief image, which would be considered racist by today's standards, has been deleted from the sequence.

    Even so, it is still FANTASIA, and it overcomes all of these liabilities. The animation, which was created by hand and photographed through a number of laborious processes, shows Disney Studios at the height of its powers. Every one is certain to have their favorites among the selections (mine are "Dance of the Hours" and "Night on Bald Mountain"), but every selection is brilliantly conceived and executed, and although the content varies from sequence to sequence the overall style of the film hangs together in a most remarkable way. FANTASIA was, is, and will no doubt will forever remain a touchstone in animation art.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the second disk, FANTASIA 2000. This particular film is extremely uneven, the sequences lack the same cohesive style that held the original FANTASIA together, and the entire film is beset by a series of often obnoxious "celebrity" introductions that give the film the feel of a made-for-TV variety show. Still, some of the visual ideas are very impressive, and while they are too few to offset the portions of the film that do not work, they still make FANTASIA 2000 mildly entertaining.

    Both the FANTASIA and FANTASIA 2000 disks include documentaries and commentary tracks on each film. The third disk, called "The Fantasia Legacy," is a bonus packed with interviews, archieval footage, and sketches that show how each sequence in both films was developed and then filmed. Some of this material is redundant, for it is included on the documentaries on the first two disks, but most of it is unique to this disk alone. Disney originally saw FANTASIA as a film that could be re-released with a mix of old and new selections every few years, and the most interesting material on the "Legacy" disk is a restored "Clair de Lune" (made for and then cut from the original FANTASIA) and various storyboard ideas for future sequences.

    The only way one can obtain the "Legacy" disk is to purchase this three disk package--and therein lies the rub. The original FANTASIA is brilliant, and even in its so-so state it is worthy of a place in any DVD library. FANTASIA 2000, however, is trivial, occasionally interesting but not greatly memorable and not a piece that one would normally go out of the way to purchase. And the price for the three disk package is quite steep.

    If you are a Disney fan who must have every scrap of material available, I would recommend the investment this package requires. But if your primary interest is the original FANTASIA, you are much better off simply purchasing a DVD of that film alone--the other two disks are simply not worth the expense. Purchasers should alos remember that the original FANTASIA does not often appeal to very young children, and if the purchase is being made for a child you are likely to be disappointed in their response. Final thought: the original FANTASIA is brilliant, FANTASIA 2000 is so-so, and the bonus disk is for hardcore fans. This pricey package is recommended to the latter only.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fatasia is Beautiful - Even Better on DVD!
    I saw Fantasia 2000 before a saw the original. And I love both of them, but I think I love the original just a little bit more. After I saw 2000, I wanted to go buy the original. But it wasn't around. When I found out it was coming out on DVD, I rushed out to buy it. The "Making of Fantasia" feature is great!

    1. Toccata & Fugue - Rousing music, good choice for opening. But I'm not a big fan of abstract animation.

    2. Nutcraker Suite - Although most people like the Sorcorer's Apprentice best, I like this one the best. The music is so catchy! This peice's fantasy characters make me feel like a little kid again.

    3. The Sorcorer's Apprentice - Ummm . . . Its O.K. Its good to own since its hisotric in Micky Mouse history.

    4. Rite of Spring - This segment rocked! Why doesn't anyone like it? If featured breakthrough technology for the '40s! And the dinosaurs were so accurately drawn according to science at that time!

    5. Intermission & Sound Track - Was this stuff necisary?

    6. Pastoral Symphony - Great music, mythological characters. I guess it depends on your conscience for wether or not to like this one.

    7. Dance of the Hours - LOL! This piece was great! I never knew Fantasia had the "Camp Granada" song! And the hippos and croc are so cool!

    8. Night on Bald Mountain - Disney went overboard on this one. It's pretty demonic. It's up to you one wether to watch that one or not. I know he wanted the biggest battle of good vs. but this was too much.

    9. Ava Maria - Kinda hokey and religous. It's alright. but the multi-plain camera was put to good use.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art
    Fantasia is a very unique creation, there has never been another movie quite like it, before or since, and I think it's safe to say there never will be. Disney took a risk with creating something so dfferent from the norm; most of the American public is not likely to sit and listen to classical music for two hours, or watch a movie with no words. However, it was a very worthwhile risk, as Fantasia is a beautiful work of art, and has become a classic.
    There is a certain captivating magic when the incredible sounds of the world's best musicians combine with the dazzling sights of the world's best animators. The imagery is full of fantasy, rich color, and graceful beauty. It's impossible not to be dazzled as the music washes over you, and you watch the stories of each of these little worlds unfold.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Misleading box, but it's still a masterpiece.
    First, go click on the picture of the box so you can see a larger image. See how it says "Walt Disney's Original Uncut Version" at the bottom? Well, it's not. No, one scene in Fantasia was edited for every single home release as far as I know. It's in the scene "The Pastoral Symphony". When the female centaurs are getting all prettied up and ready for the male centaurs, you'll notice a very fuzzy extreme close up on one of them. What's going on in this scene? There's a black skinned centaur named Sunflower helping that one out. Go do a search for "Disney Sunflower Snopes" and it should show up. Why does Disney do this? Kids watching that part aren't really going to have any racist thoughts regarding the scene, or become a KKK member or anything after watching it. But there you have it, this isn't really "uncut" because of that. And this only enforces that there's a high chance of Disney not releasing Song of the South anytime soon. And this is a shame that they're going so P.C. that we're never going to be allowed to see how everything was originally released. If they can put out the Treasure tin sets, which have a lot of Asian and Spanish stereotypes, why is there such a problem with Song of the South and a black centaur?

    Other than that, Fantasia is a masterpiece. While it didn't really help Disney out much financially, the animation that accompanies the music is flawless. You really admire the artists that worked on each short. While it took hundreds to work on one piece at a time, now it'd only take a couple of guys on a computer with the latest animation software a few days. It's funny that most of this looks better than a lot of recent Disney films. The colors, smoothness of the animation, and how it blends with the music is just breath taking.

    The picture is as good as you're going to get for a movie this old. There's very little grain and dust on the print, and you'll hardly notice it with all the beauty on-screen. The audio is crisp and clear, so go nuts turning it up.

    The special features are ok. The commentary is made up of interviews and clips from Walt and others. When some people speak on it, there's a little bit of static, which doesn't matter since it's taken from an early source. It's not going to interfere with hearing anything they say, but I just thought I'd mention it. It's still a very interesting commentary track. I listen to it from time to time and always learn something new. The documentary is pretty cool too, though a lot of it I've already heard from other Disney specials and such. If you want the real goods as far as extras go, get the Fantasia Anthology edition. The third disc on that sucker is amazing.

    So if you're really expecting the "uncut" version, you'll be disappointed. I doubt it'll ever be released unless somehow Leonard Maltin can get that put out too. I mean, if he can get the Donald Nazi short put out in the newest wave of Disney Treasures, he's gotta have SOME chance of giving us the original Fantasia. Pick this up before it's out of print for another 10 years. It's a film to pass down the generations.

    5-0 out of 5 stars classic
    This is a classic marriage of two art forms Music and Animation. There are six sets of classical pieces By the Philadelphia Orchestra under the leadership of Leopold Stokowski. Each piece is accompanied by animation that either tells a story or illustrates visually the music. Each piece is a feast for the eyes and ears. The most famous piece is Mickey Mouse as the sorcere's apprentice. He gets ahold of his master's magical hat and decides to take a short cut indoing his chores with disastrerous results. The two pieces that really stand out for me is the "Nutcracker Suite" and "Night on Bald Mountain" This is a great movie for anyone who enjoys classical music. It may be too "High Brow" for children but it could be a good medium to introduce them to classical music. ... Read more

    17. Stomp Out Loud
    Director: Luke Cresswell, Steve McNicholas
    list price: $4.97
    our price: $4.97
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    Asin: 0783112793
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 786
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Stomp is a rhythmic, musical extravaganza that has stunned audiencesacross the globe. If you weren't lucky enough to catch them in your hometown (or you did and you crave more), now there's Stomp Out Loud, a special HBO performance that will bring the unusual musical feats right into your living room. You might just find yourself grabbing a broom or even your remote control to keep time. "It's comedy, it's theater, it's very physical, it's energetic, it's occasionally quite terrifying," says one performer. Taking their show from the theater to the streets, this astonishing troupe can make music out of just about anything and just about anywhere. The opening sequence shows them dangling by harnesses across the back of a Manhattan billboard drumming on hubcaps, pipes, street signs, and plastic garbage pails, all the while swaying and keeping in perfect time. You know how you like to groove along to the radio while driving? Stomp doesn't need a radio--they use their hands to make their own music while cruising the streets of New York. Using just basketballs in a steamy alleyway, the troop creates an incredibly intricate dance and sound with the street, brick walls, and Dumpsters. Included in the program are the push broom, garbage can, and pole dances, just a few of their best-known sequences. Stomp Out Loud showcases the performers in the theater, out about town, and in short humorous vignettes (love the recurring card game!). All in all, they amaze. This well-produced video also includes a trailer and a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of Stomp Out Loud. --Dana Van Nest ... Read more

    Reviews (43)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sensational Variations in Percussion
    50-minute HBO special on the group called "Stomp." This feature is very enjoyable for fans and people who have a taste for unique forms of music. The show mixes choreographed sequences of various urban locations with scenes of the group's performance on stage before a live audience. Not only are the group's various pieces of music enjoyable; watching them perform with the wide variety of "make-shift" instruments is fascinating. My favorite sequences are a portion of the group performing with basketballs in an alleyway, using trash-bins, security doors and the street itself to produce a rhythmic beat, and another set in a large kitchen using basic utensils. The group's members are energetic and incorporate humor in their performances. This may not be for everyone's tastes, but it is certainly innovative and unique. "Hats-off" to the Producer and the Director who put this feature together.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Truly Unique Form Percussion
    HBO 50-minute special on the group "Stomp" featuring numerous unique performances at different urban locations that are inter-mixed with the group's stage show before a live audience. Very enjoyable for people interested in seeing a group of talented young performers, or musicians, make music with percussion through common everyday items. Using poles, hammers, trashcans, plastic containers, and anything else that can produce a beat or a tone, the group provides some astounding sounds that are only matched by their fascinating techniques. Most remarkable is a portion of the group performing with basketballs in an alleyway, using trash-bins, security doors, and the street itself to produce a rhythmic beat. There's another sequence where they perform in the large kitchen of a restaurant, achieving an amazing range of sounds. The members of the group are entertaining to watch and they add a lot of humor to their performances. The length of the feature is about right and it does not drown viewers with repetitious sounds, a very well done feature on an innovative and unique musical group.

    5-0 out of 5 stars rhythmic brilliance
    What astounds me about these dance/percussion numbers is their intricacy, which must have required relentless rehearsing, and yet there is almost an improvisational, immediate quality about them; some of them are performed on a stage, some on location in New York City, and they seamlessly segue from one to another. I especially like the transition from the alley ball game into the kitchen with the marvelous cigar-chomping chef.

    This innovative show was created in the early 90s in the U.K. by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas (who met in 1981 as members of a street band called "Pookiesnackenburger") and they share directorial credits for this HBO film; the show in its stage version has received numerous awards with its many productions around the globe.
    Some of these performers have star quality, and it's a shame names are not put to the faces, but with so many different casts world-wide, even the ones in this film remain only as part of a list in alphabetical order. The cinematography is also excellent, by Christophe Lanzenberg.
    One would think that a wordless show with only percussion for music would become monotonous, but it captures and holds our attention because of its imaginitive skill, its humor, and the talent and energy of its performers. Dance fans will love "Stomp Out Loud". Total running time is 50 minutes, and that includes a 5 minute sketch on the who, how, and where of the film.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredibly Talented Group
    This is something everyone - regardless of having any musical background or not - will definitely enjoy!! Just sit back and watch in amazement as to HOW and WHAT this group uses in creating an on-going rhythm.

    Simply amazing!!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Less than expected
    I was expecting much more from Stomp. I like them a lot, but this DVD is not a good favour for them. ... Read more

    18. Chicago
    Director: Rob Marshall
    list price: $14.99
    our price: $13.99
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    Asin: B00008X5J3
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 41
    Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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    Winner of six Academy Awards(R) (2002) including Best Picture, and starring Academy Award nominee (Best Actress, CHICAGO) and Golden Globe winner (Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, CHICAGO) Renee Zellweger (BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY), Academy Award winner (Best Supporting Actress, CHICAGO) Catherine Zeta-Jones (TRAFFIC), Academy Award nominee (Best Supporting Actress, CHICAGO) Queen Latifah (BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE), Golden Globe winner (Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, CHICAGO) Richard Gere (UNFAITHFUL), and Academy Award nominee (Best Supporting Actor, CHICAGO) John C. Reilly (GANGS OF NEW YORK) -- CHICAGO is a dazzling spectacle cheered by audiences and critics alike!At a time when crimes of passion result in celebrity headlines, nightclub sensation Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) and spotlight-seeking Roxie Hart (Zellweger) both find themselves sharing space on Chicago's famed Murderess Row!They also share Billy Flynn (Gere), the town's slickest lawyer with a talent for turning notorious defendants into local legends.But in Chicago, there's only room for one legend! Also starring Lucy Liu (CHARLIE'S ANGELS). ... Read more

    Reviews (853)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies EVER!
    As a musical theater purist, I was concerned that a movie musical with 3 of Hollywoods A list stars would be a hinderance rather than a help in the "revival" of the genre. I must say that I was blown away by the sheer genius and excellence of the film.
    Catherine Zeta-Jones' Velma was equal to, if not better than Bebe Neuwerth's ( Brodway revival). Her beautiful voice and masterful dance skill is worthy of the great white way. A Tony may have been a more appropriate award as opposed to her much deserved Oscar. Although Rene Zellwegers voice was a little shaky in the begining she brought out a tough side in Roxy that was not there in neither the original nor the revival stage versions. Then my biggest fear, Richard Gere as Billy Flinn, was in a word perfect. You can't ask for a better fit, and what a shocker to see that wonderful tapdance!
    With great costumes,Fosse-like choreography, expert lighting and singing (by many broadway veterans in the chours as extras) this dark comedy shines. Also with great cameos and supporting performances by the great Chita Rivera ( original broadway cast),John C. Reily (oscar nominated),Lucy Liu, and Christine Baranski this film shines as one of the greatest ever made, not just as a musical, but as a film. Rob Marshall's directorial debut deserves all of it's accolades...and all that jazz.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sizzling and sexy musical entertainment.
    I have just seen one of the best movie musicals in years. "Chicago," directed by Rob Marshall and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere, will knock you out of your seats. This stylish adaptation is smart, sassy and gorgeously put together.

    Catherine Zeta-Jones is red hot as the murderous Velma Kelly. Velma washes the blood of her victims off her hands, and then sings and dances on stage as if killing people is all in a day's work. Zeta-Jones struts across the screen as if she owns it. She is sultry, sexy and a very talented singer and dancer. Renee Zellweger does fine work as the low class Roxie Hart, a selfish and conniving young woman who longs to be a musical star. Like Velma, Roxie lands in jail after committing murder. Richard Gere effectively plays their shyster lawyer, Billy Flynn, with roguish charm and a twinkle in his eye. Also outstanding are Queen Latifah, as an avaricious warden, and John C. Reilly, as Roxie's hapless husband.

    The movie takes place in the 1920's during the Jazz Age. It is the era of Prohibition, fast women, and an "anything goes" attitude. Rob Marshall has an assured touch, and he directs this material with panache. The swinging score by Kander and Ebb goes perfectly with the wonderful costumes, sets and choreography. I have not enjoyed a movie musical this much in years, and I recommend "Chicago" highly.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Manipulating the System
    The 2002 Oscar winner for Best Picture,"Chicago" is a musical which has the late Bob Fosse's choreography stamped all over it, although it's really anybody's guess as to whether or not he would have been pleased with this film version of his 1975 stage hit. Happily, the acting was great and the leads did their own singing and dancing.
    The story is based on the real-life cases of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, renamed respectively as Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly (There was a real Roxie Hart as well, who committed murder in Indiana in the 1910s), who were exhonerated of murder charges by a flashy lawyer in the 1920s.
    The story begins on a snowy night at the Onyx Club in the Chicago of Al Capone, where the booze flows heavily despite Prohibition laws, and a brassy Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) arrives at work late, stopping to hide the gun she has just used to kill her husband and sister after catching them in bed together. She performs the rousing number, "All That Jazz" shortly thereafter as if nothing has happened.
    Watching her is ex-chorine Roxie, played by a slender, shiny-complexioned and pixie-faced Renee Zellweger, whose unquenchable desire for fame has led her to cheat on her mechanic husband with a slickster furniture salesman (Dominic West)who falsely claims he has connections that can revamp Roxie's career.
    Soon, Roxie and Fred Casley scurry over to the Hart's apartment to continue their affair. When Roxie asks Fred, as she has before, when he will introduce her to the club manager, and help her return to showbusiness, Fred admits that he lied. The following confrontation becomes violent and Roxie fatally shoots Fred as he tries to leave.
    Amos Hart, Roxie's dim-witted but devoted husband(John C. Reilly) tries to cover for her at first as Taye Diggs' Bandleader/Announcer leads us further into the action by introducing Roxie's first number, "That Funny Honey", which changes tones as the investigator mentions the victim's name and Amos becomes aware of his wife's infidelity.
    Roxie is arrested and taken to the Cook County Jail, where Chita Rivera, who originated the role of Velma Kelly on Broadway,has a cameo appearance as inmate Nickie.
    We are then introduced to Matron Mama Morton(a pretty, regal, and matronly Queen Latifah), and the vaudville numbers continue as she sings the racy and more-than-highly suggestive "When You're Good to Mama".
    As she begins her time in prison, we get to know Roxie's inmates during "The Cell Block Tango". Judging from the visuals, where most of the inmates' handkerchiefs came out red as they finished giving details of their crimes and the Hungarian immigrant's was white, we are to believe that Katalin Helinszki (Ekaterina Chtchelkanova), who was accused of the most heinous of the murders, is innocent.
    Soon after, Mama Morton pulls a few strings, Defense Attorney Billy Flynn (Richard Gere, whose early training in stage musicals, like that of Catherine Zeta-Jones' serves him well here) arrives to represent Roxie, who also has push-over journalist/sob-sister, Mary Sunshine(Christine Baranski)in her corner.
    The song "We Both Reached for the Gun" is based on headlines from the actual case, and has the feel of a hymn sung at a revival meeting. It is reflective of Roxie's false repentance for her misdeeds.
    As the publicity surrounding Roxie grows, and the opportunistic Flynn begins to devote more time to her than to his previous client, Velma, another potentially lucrative case appears for Billy when Lucy Liu's pineapple heiress, Kitty Baxter committs a triple homicide(Note that his discussion of this case with dinner guests would not have taken place today), forcing Roxie and Velma to use a few tricks to win back Billy's attention, including a fake pregnancy.
    Onstage, as the murder-as-entertainment scenario continues, we are treated to the long-suffering but loyal Amos' "Mr. Cellophane", and his devotion to his unfaithful and ungrateful wife is heart-rending. But at least he gets more attention than the offscreen family of Fred Casley, who might have given the story an interesting perspective if included.
    Roxie's falling-out with Billy over his selected courtroom attire for her ends abruptly upon her observation of the tragic results of a poor woman's inability to get proper representation. Noteworthy is the strong anti-immigrant sentiment of the time.
    Ultimately, Flynn, Velma, and Roxie, razzle-dazzle 'em in court. Lies win out over truth, and style, in the form of Flynn, Velma and Roxie, wins over substance in the form of Colm Feore's prosecutor, Martin Harrison, Katalin Helinszki, and Amos, and the Hart's neighbor, Mrs. Borusewiz (Jayne Eastwood), who also took the witness stand, as often happens in life.
    Although acquitted, things didn't end so happily for the real Beulah Annan, whose life ended in a sanitarium in 1928.Belva Gaertner lived to see her story told onstage the year before.
    But the man-manipulating Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly live to dazzle the world again, and our rollicking tale of cynical truth ends on a positive note for our main players.
    All one could do in the end is heave a sigh, enjoy the show, and "All That Jazz"!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Too Much Music
    I saw nothing on the cover to indicate this was mainly a musical. The minimal story line was squeezed in between 110 minutes of singing and dancing..... I would describe as "interpretive modern jazz". We finally used "fast forward" to speed through this dancing and at the end threw the VHS tape in the rubbish. What a disappointment.

    2-0 out of 5 stars The DVD release is shameful
    Don't get me wrong. I love this movie more than just about any other movie in existence. The problem is that whenever you get a big-budget, Oscar-winning movie, the initial release on DVD is always going to have at least 2 discs and 2-3 hours of special features. So naturally, I eagerly awaited the release, so I could bask in the sheer excessiveness of the entire product, but instead, I watched as the curtain rose to reveal a DVD that, from my perspective, can only boast of having a 3-minute-long musical number deleted from the theatrical cut of the film. I was crestfallen, and proceeded to wait until they unveiled the real prize, the multi-disc extravaganza that I had expected from the start. But still I wait, so I am forced to say that the DVD is only worth renting, but not worth the $20.00 that the distributors continue to ask for. The movie is incredible from start to finish, but it's just not worth spending $20.00 on this, only to see Miramax release a 4-disc set the moment you take the plastic off the case. I personally will wait until they release it in a DVD set that truly does this masterpiece justice. ... Read more

    19. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (30th Anniversary Edition)
    Director: Mel Stuart
    list price: $8.98
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    Asin: B00005LL26
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 64
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (224)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. ;)
    1971's "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" is a colorful cult classic that includes both a witty score and a morality tale. Based on the children's novel by Roald Dahl, the story concerns Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), a poor yet virtuous paperboy who dreams of a better life. With no father, no money, and four bedridden grandparents to support, Charlie's future seems bleak. However, that changes when a contest is started by the town's mysterious candymaker, Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder): 5 Golden Tickets are hidden among the billions of Wonka bars sold all over the world. The lucky buyers who find the tickets will get a lifetime supply of chocolate AND an exclusive tour through the factory. The first half of the movie shows the worldwide hysteria that results from the frantic search for the Tickets. Eventually, four winners are revealed one by one: Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole) is Great Britain's ultimate spoiled brat. Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner) is a chubby German who considers eating his most favorite hobby. Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson) bears the rude, disgusting habit of constantly chewing gum. Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen) is a cowboy couch potato who bears a distorted view on reality. When Charlie himself discovers the final ticket, he and his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) both enter the factory to savor the marvelous surprises awaiting them. However, temptation comes into play: Wonka's sinister rival Arthur Slugworth (Gunter Meisner) has offered each of the children $10,000 in exchange for an Everlasting Gobstopper, a brand new product Mr. Wonka was working on.
    In the latter half of the film, viewers will meet Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka, whose elusive persona and literary quotes make him strangely appealing. Is this man lying or is he telling the truth? In addition, audiences (old and young alike) will catch the delightful sights of orange-faced Oompa-Loompas, a nightmarish Boat Ride, Fizzy Lifting drinks that cause drinkers to float away, and quadruple-size Geese that lay octruple-size eggs! Throughout the journey, the group's four nasty children (and their equally despicable parents), are eliminated one by one in gruesome yet amusing ways: The gluttonous Augustus falls into a chocolate river and is sucked into a boiler. Violet samples a 3-course-dinner gum (despite Wonka's warnings) and inflates into a gigantic blueberry. When Veruca Salt attempts to steal a Golden Goose, she falls into a garbage chute, one that happens to lead down to the furnace! After trying to get photographed onto Wonka's giant T.V. camera, Mike Teevee is shrunk down to the size of a pen; the only way to restore his size is by stretching him out on a taffy-pulling machine! With imaginative sets, clever confections, and pleasant tunes like "Candyman," "Pure Imagination," and "Cheer Up, Charlie," this movie was made to entertain adults first and children afterwards. It's a guilty pleasure to college graduates, much like H.R. Puffenstuff.
    I chose to give this film four stars because I felt that a couple of mistakes were made. For one thing, the nature of Wonka's factory is a little too candy-coated; Roald Dahl himself wanted to have the story as a Grimm fairytale, not a wholesome musical. Also, I personally think that the scene involving the Wonkamobile should have been cut out. The device, which is fueled by gingerale, gingerpop, gingerbeer, and double-bubble burp-a-cola (among other carbonated fluids), really doesn't have anything to do with the story. As a result, it's a little too distracting.
    Now that Tim Burton plans to reimagine the tale, I am gleefully anticipating what alterations he plans to make.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic!
    (Spoiler included) I watched this movie on TV for rhe first time when I was 6 years old and I haven't outgrown it since! It is a wonderful story about the power of imagination and how good things eventually come to those who do the right things.
    The movie is based on the Roald Dahl book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Willy Wonka is an eccentric candy maker who starts a contest offering a factory tour to five lucky winners who find a golden ticket in their Wonka bars. One of them is Charlie Bucket, an impoverished, but good natured, child who hopes for a better future for himself, his mother and his four grandparents. The other four winners are nasty obnoxious and bratty children. Augustus Gloop is an overeating glutton, Violet Beauregard is a gum chewing fanatic with no manners (digging up her nose while talking about how disgusting spitting is), Veruca Salt is a spoiled brat who wants everything she sees and whines until she gets it and Mike Teavee is a television addict with a smart mouth. One by one, they are eventually done in by their bad habits. Augustus falls into the chocolate river against Wonka's protests and is sucked into a pipe, Violet chews a piece of Wonka's "meal gum," once again against his objections, and turns purple and blows up into a giant blueberry, Veruca goes on a tantrum when Wonka tells her she can't have one of his giant geese and she falls down a garbage chute and Mike wants to be on television so badly, he willingly gets zapped into the size of an insect by Wonka's TV camera. Charlie, by being the respectable child that he is and by not compromising his integrity, not only completes the tour, he wins a prize beyond his wildest dreams.

    The parents make it obvious why their children are so impish. When the children get into trouble at the factory, the parents blame Wonka instead of the kids' own bratty behavior. From the moment they step into the factory, they're complaining and finding fault with everything Wonka does and they take things way too seriously (much like the critics of this film)! I bet if the Oompa Loompas, with their wisdom, raised these little demons, they'd be much better.

    Don't miss this film. It is not only a fun to watch diversion from reality, the messages are very timely and it makes you think about the good that still exists in this world. The critics and nitpickers may not get it but anyone who watches with an open mind and doesn't take it too seriouly will.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Still a great one!
    OK, I know you are saying to yourself, that movie is ancient ~ my kid wouldn't enjoy it. Well, trust me your kid will enjoy it. It is a great movie! For all who may have missed it over the years (is there anyone out there?), the story is about a giant chocolate factory run by a never seen owner (Wilder). Over the years of the factory's operation he has become quite the legend. He decides to open the factory to a few lucky winners of a contest ~ all but one of the winning kids are truly rotten. And as all good stories go, the bad kids get their just "desserts" (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) leaving the good kid to win. A lot of good lessons taught about sharing, greed, gluttony and theft. Pop some popcorn and enjoy it with your kid; you'll be glad you did.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Metaphor for Life
    "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was my favorite book as a child, this movie remains a favorite of mine even to this day.

    This film was made back in 1971 and is very simple in its style. The special effects are see-through and campy but the story line is a facinating metaphor for life that is forever timeless in its message. Willy Wonka is the creative genius who becomes a recluse in his chocolate factory because of society and its greed and malice. But he never loses his belief that someone in the world exists who can still believe in imagination and dreams. He finds this person in Charlie, a poor child who lives with his mother and four grandparents in a dirty basement home. Charlie has every reason to become dispirited and negative yet he remains a shining light of great positivity regardless of his circumstances. I suspect his attitude comes from the fact that his Grandfather Joe always supports his dreams, the boy never has to hear the word "can't"!

    The chocolate factory holds a contest and several children, including Charlie, get invited behind the doors with Willy Wonka. While on tour they are tested with fame, fortune, greed and honesty until one by one they succumb to the failure of a human heart. All except Charlie, who keeps a smile on his face and wonder in his eyes while being faced with the simple adversities that cause the other children to fail. Sadly I feel the parents are to blame creating children who thrive on material wealth, constant TV watching, gorging on food, and looking for constant attention. The parents of the children who fail refuse to believe in the dream of Willy Wonka surrounding the atomsphere with doubt and negative beliefs. How could anyone survive under such circumstances?

    The Chocolate Factory is filled with wonder, color and silly songs. Regardless of your age it will satisfy your sweet tooth and fill even a hardened heart. It certainly brings to life how parent's affect their children with their own actions and attitudes. Telling a child they "can't" accomplish all that they imagine only assists in stopping the world from greatness. Don't be afraid to dream!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Candy is dandy...
    The film is based on a much-loved children's book, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', by Roald Dahl. Dahl wasn't always happy with the changes made between his book and the film, and wasn't always consulted on them. Today probably more people are familiar with the film sequence of events than the book. Charlie is a down-on-his-luck boy who is nonetheless optimistic and happy. He and his mother work to tend for their bed-ridden family members, all living together in a one-room home.

    One day there is an annoucement that Wonka is going to open his factory to visitors, to be chosen more or less at random through finding the Golden Tickets, contained in Wonka bars (a brilliant marketing device back then). Scenes of shoppers' frenzy are shown all around with world, including a Wonka delivery van shown arriving at the White House.

    The five golden tickets are found all around the world - the first one in Dusselheim, Germany, by the fat boy, Augustus Gloop (played by Michael Boliner, who is now a tax accountant in Munich, and is still rather large). The second ticket was found in the UK, by spoiled brat, Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole, the only Wonka child still acting), whose father, Roy Kinnear, is a well-known actor in British cinema. The third ticket was found in the USA, by gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson, now an accountant at a nuclear plant in Colorado), whose used-car-salesman father was played by Leonard Stone (who was selected over Jim Bakus). The fourth ticket was also won in the USA, by Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen, considered a real brat by most of the cast and crew); his frantic mother was played by Dodo Denny (later Nora Denny), who was one of the few minor characters in the film to consistently act after this film. The final ticket at first is reported to be won by some shady businessman from Paraguay, but in the end, that is proven to be a forgery. Of course, Charlie buys a Wonka Bar expecting nothing, and gets the ticket.

    An ominous figure, Slugworth (the arch-enemy of Wonka - who knew chocolate makers also made arch-enemies?), appears to each of the winners, whispering in their ears. Charlie is also confronted, and promised a reward should he bring Slugworth an example of Wonka's latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper. One wonders why (a) any candy maker would make a candy that never wears out (thus defeating re-sales), and (b) why Slugworth can't just buy one himself when they are released, analyse it and ruin his own factory the same way? But I digress... Gunter Meisner, a very prolific German actor, played the villain, who wasn't in the book (nor was the 'gobstopper plot').

    The grand day of the event, the winners enter the factory with great fanfare, meeting Wonka (Gene Wilder) for the first time, and get the first taste of his bizarre sense of theatre. (It is reported not only Wilder's idea for the limping/somersault introduction to the crowd, but also a condition of his accepting the role.) From that point on, what was truth? It is ironic that Wonka's entrance doesn't occur until the film is half over. What we remember of the film comes after this, but over half the film is actually set-up. This is rather like the Wizard of Oz, where most of the film is done before we see 'the major character', although admittedly Wonka is far more prominent than Oz's balloonist.

    Wonka, the man of mystery, only ever became even more of a mystery as the tour progressed. He is constantly switching his words ('we have so much time and so little to do'), and there are surprises at every turn. Wonka borrows a lot of his key phrases (Ogden Nash, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde) and there are a lot of fantasy-inspired elements (Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings).

    At each major scene, something ghastly seems to happen, but in epic-fantasy form, it doesn't seem to matter to the majority, who proceed onward with their quest. In the chocolate room, Augustus Gloop meets his untimely exit from the factory by falling in the chocolate river. Violet turns into a blueberry by chewing experimental gum, and has to be squeezed (squoozed?). Veruca, in the room with the geese who lay the golden eggs, turns out to be a bad egg herself, but has a sporting chance of going down a chute with an inactive furnace. Mike Teevee shrinks in the Wonka version of the Star Trek transporter beam, leaving in the end only Charlie, who is denied his prize of a lifetime of chocolate for a minor infraction.

    It would seem that Wonka had a sinister side in many ways - the boat that carries the prize winners only seated eight, implying that Wonka knew someone would be missing. The Wonkamobile only had seats for four guests. Of course, the children apparently all had sinister sides, too, including Charlie, until the end. None of them let Wonka know of their Slugworth contact.

    In the end, we never know what becomes of the fallen questers - we are led to believe that in this candy factory they got their just desserts. The Oompa-Loompas put the moral to each downfall in song, with a 1970s karaoke-type presentation of the lyrics as they sing. In the end, of course, goodness and justice win out, as the factory is given to Charlie after his act of unwarranted kindness toward Wonka.

    Director Stuart always saw this film as a 'realistic' fantasy film. Those things that are not over the top are very ordinary. The people are not superheroes, and the situations, while fantastic, are not beyond the credible. Stuart also did his best for 'real' reaction - the kids had never seen Gene Wilder before his appearance at the door, the chocolate room in the factory, or the Oompa-Loompas prior to the first scene, either, so their reactions are more natural.

    A great film for children and adults! ... Read more

    20. The Music Man
    Director: Morton DaCosta
    list price: $19.98
    our price: $17.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0790738074
    Catlog: Video
    Sales Rank: 556
    Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (119)

    5-0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better than this!
    How can you top something like this? This movie musical is as close to perfection as it gets. Perfectly cast, marvellously directed and filmed, beautiful music magnificiently arranged, The Music Man sets the standard for all movie musicals, even though it was the last big musical filmed in that era. Meredith Willson's brilliant musical wit and talent reached their pinnacle in this musical. Considered by many to be the best musical ever written, this filmed version is worthy of the musical itself and leaves nothing to be desired.

    This DVD release is equally marvellous. A fitting tribute to one of Hollywood's finest efforts of all times. The Music Man is one of the movie industry's brightest stars, and this DVD edition will be a prized possession in any movie collection. Even if you "don't know one note from another," you'll love this spirited romp through 1912 small-town Iowa, and through some of the best music ever written for the stage or screen. The transfer to DVD is excellent. Vivid colors, sharp images, beautifully remastered soundtrack, the whole package is excellent.

    The extras on the disc are also great, including a 30-minute special on the making of the musical and the movie, narrated by Shirley Jones and with comments by Buddy Hackett, Onna White (the choreographer), and Susan Luckey (Zaneeta Shinn).

    This DVD is one of my most prized possessions. My only complaint is I wish Warner Brothers would package it in a better-grade all-plastic case rather than the cardboard snap case. It won't hold up over time as well, and this baby will be in my collection for a very long time!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Libertine Men and Scarlet Women
    Before watching "The Music Man" on DVD I knew next to nothing about the show's writer/director Meredith Willson. Thanks to the Shirley Jones-hosted documentary included on disc, I now know he hailed from small-town Iowa. I appreciate all the more those exquisite little details in the film that turn River City from stock caricature set into living, breathing character.

    Any movie musical is bound to split into two separate films: the exquisite musical numbers, with their witty rhymes, elaborately choreographed dance sequences, and impact on the plot; and then the perfunctory, stilted dialogue bits that bridge those numbers (if you want to see this theory in action, rent "West Side Story").

    Thanks to Willson, "The Music Man", however, is perfect in that its linking "book" portions are just as successful as the musical numbers. And we're talking some pretty heavy musical numbers too. Nearly every song in the film is worth memorizing -- if you can manage to catch all the words! I thought I had them commited to memory years ago, but then I watched the DVD release with the English subtitles on, and realized I'd been missing entire lines -- good lines, too.

    The DVD presentation is sound. The audio quality suffers, most notably during the dialogue-only portions. As I said, the presenttion is "sound". The extras are minimal, as to be expected from the perfunctory Warner Brothers back catalogue, but the 30-minute documentary bears viewing and sheds new light on the film. I'm not sure that a separate commentary track would work here, but I don't have to worry because, as usual, WB doesn't provide one.

    It can be viewed all at once, or you can skip straight to select chapters and watch the film as a series of music videos, as I did on the first night. But whatever you do -- don't damage the flimsy cardboard packaging! :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Among top musicals of all times
    I don't remember how many times I have watched this movie, including the remake with Matthew Broderick. Robert Preston is the one and only Music Man, hands down. No one will remember any other movies he did, except may be for Victor Victoria, for which he actually won an Oscar. Joyous music, and wonderfully innocent story. Enough said.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Standout but definately not a "masterpiece"
    Before I complain I liked the Music Man. It is one of the most light hearted and charming movies I have ever seen and it does have good music. In the days of West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music, somewhere in their is The Music Man. It failed to be better than all the films I have mentioned above. It was more slapstick and mediocre, and somewhat reminded me of some of the musicals MGM did in the 30s and 40s. All the performances were average but not something to hand out an Oscar for. Robert Preston, Ronnie Howard, and Shirley Jones did well. All in all it is enjoyable and very likeable, but it just did live up to the other film musicals of the 1960s. I do reccomend this film.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Renee from Florida
    The Music Man was not at all what I expected. I bought it for a family movie night, we love musicals usually. This was so boring you could barely make it through it. Actually, I made myself finish it because i spent money on it. I will be tossing it or passing it on. If anyone's interested, it's going cheap! ... Read more

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