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Blu-ray Reviews

A Chorus Line Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted January 30 2014 - 08:00 PM

A Chorus Line Blu-ray Review

The popular Broadway musical doesn’t get the same thrilling reception for its big screen adaptation, but the few who took a shine to Richard Attenborough’s 1985 production should be delighted by its Blu-ray debut.


Cover Art


Studio: MGM

Distributed By: Fox

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: PG-13

Run Time: 1 Hr. 58 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 01/14/2014

MSRP: $19.99




The Production Rating: 2/5

Dance auditions for a Broadway musical’s chorus line are under way, headed by enigmatic choreographer Zach (Michael Douglas) and his assistant Larry (Terence Mann). Out of the scores of hopefuls trying out, there will only be eight – four men and four women – chosen, and the process of elimination will be both competitive and unforgiving. Deciding on the final set of dancers will come down to more than just their physical abilities, but something personal, about themselves and how they got there.

Meanwhile, Cassie (Alyson Reed), a dancer from Zach’s past, has returned to the city, looking to join the production. Taking a job in the chorus would be a step down for her, after seeing her career as a solo dancer bloom; but, as it turns out, show business has proved as fickle as they say.

To paraphrase the lyrics of A Chorus Line’s most well-known musical number, there’s not one, singular complication, but a series of them that makes the film stumble. The enduring Broadway stage musical had long been considered unfilmable given the number of confessional character monologues and stripped down set design. Adapting a piece conceived to literally spotlight dancers and their work would require some outside-of-the-proscenium thinking, but Director Richard Attenborough and Screenwriter Arnold Schulman confined themselves to something much too straightforward. What deviations there are, namely the back story on Zach and Cassie’s relationship, told through flashbacks, stick out awkwardly and sap the film’s momentum. That some of the auditioning dancers seems to have been picked more for their physical talents than acting or singing abilities doesn’t help matters, upending scenes and numbers that, by all accounts, should have been captivating. The final, flashy number is an exception, but – like auditioning for Broadway – it’s a long and grueling process getting there.



Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

Framed at 2.35:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer offers a first rate presentation of Ronnie Taylor’s cinematography. Blacks are deep and stable, contrast appears consistent and uncompromised, and the color palette has a deep and nicely saturated quality with the variety of flashy dance wear. Detail also holds up from long shots to close ups, the image showing a pleasing veneer of grain that precludes any excessive processing.



Audio Rating: 4/5

Dialogue in the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, clear and intelligible. Cues in the orchestral score reveal both a pleasing level of detail and depth, with an impressive breadth to the sound stage as well as a rather wide dynamic range.



Special Features Rating: 0.5/5

  • Theatrical Trailer (2:13, HD)



Overall Rating: 3/5

MGM Home Entertainment turns in an impressive high definition presentation for A Chorus Line, but the extras include nothing more than a theatrical trailer. Though most will find the feature a lackluster adaptation of a celebrated stage musical, those who enjoyed the film should have no reservations picking up the release.


Reviewed By: Cameron Yee


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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted January 31 2014 - 05:10 AM

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I suppose if one had never seen A Chorus Line on stage, this film version might give an inkling of what it was about, but when you turn the show's celebratory anthem "What I Did for Love" (namely dancing above everything else) into a sappy love song of regret now sung by Cassie about her lost love Zach, any semblance of trying to convey the angst of dancers whose careers have a limited shelf life is gone forever. That change and the elimination of several of the songs which rob us of the chance of getting to know some of the dancers on the line at all (every one in the line gets a spotlight moment in the show) proves additionally fatal to the show. And Jeffrey Hornaday's flashy steps don't hold a candle to the magnificent, memorable dancing conceived by Michael Bennett and Bob Avian.

 

Neither of the new songs "Let Me Dance for You" and "Surprise, Surprise" is a patch on what they replaced.

 

In all, a monumental disaster for those who lived and breathed the stage version.


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#3 of 13 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted January 31 2014 - 09:41 AM

The movie is a disaster, but I've never understood why people think giving the song to Cassie changed it to a love song about Zach.  It isn't.  It's still about the dance.  She sacrificed her relationship with him for her love of dancing and a career as a dancer.  That's "what she did for love."  It's still about love of the dance, not a man.



#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Mark Walker

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Posted January 31 2014 - 12:24 PM

I saw this show in NY during its run in the 80s along with Cats.  I watched the film when it was released theatrically and thought, "Why?"

 

I may need to watch it again, as I was barely a teenager the last time I saw it.


Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted January 31 2014 - 12:40 PM

There was never a movie in A Chorus Line, just a deal for one. If only the money had been pocketed and no film made.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted January 31 2014 - 01:57 PM

Of all the things that bug me about this film (and there are many), the one that stands out in my mind right now is this: why did they even bother to pay the royalties on "Hello 12..." only to reduce it to a few bars as a lead-in to "Surprise, Surprise"?

 

If it hadn't been for Audrey Landers' version of "Dance 10, Looks 3" and the retention of Paul's speech and Greg's homosexuality, this film would be completely useless. And I really resent the implications behind making Zack and Cassie the main focus: that audiences wouldn't see it unless the boy/girl love story was moved to the forefront of the story. They did that anyway, and they still only barely outgrossed the other major movie musical that year, Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird; their respective box office grosses are separated by less than $250,000.

 

But the real tragedy is that a potentially definitive, Bennett-produced film based on the show could have happened, but he walked away from it. And all he got out of this movie was a nebulously defined, not particularly influential "creative consultant" credit, just like Helen Lyndon Goff.


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Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#7 of 13 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted February 01 2014 - 02:40 AM

 

If it hadn't been for Audrey Landers' version of "Dance 10, Looks 3"

 

The one bright spot.  In fact, I bought the dvd used just to have that number.

 

But I was never a big fan of the show, even on stage.  Too mawkish and contrived for me. 



#8 of 13 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted February 01 2014 - 10:48 AM

So this could have been a better choice for NBC to re-stage live than Peter Pan.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#9 of 13 OFFLINE   David Weicker

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Posted February 01 2014 - 11:13 AM

So this could have been a better choice for NBC to re-stage live than Peter Pan.


Considering they want a 'family friendly' musical - no. I love the show, and think it's brilliant, but ...

The themes and language would prevent that.

Can you imagine a 'family friendly' version of "Dance 10, Looks 3"?

Or the big laugh with the "Red Shoes" line?
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#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted February 01 2014 - 11:15 AM

Why not Rent, then? :D


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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted February 01 2014 - 11:57 AM

Or Sweeney Todd with Clay Aiken.
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#12 of 13 OFFLINE   bob kaplan

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Posted February 02 2014 - 06:46 PM

the most favorable thing about this movie is that it allows the most modest community theater group to put forth a more enjoyable and rewarding production just by following the rented scripts as written.


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#13 of 13 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted February 02 2014 - 06:54 PM

Another sad irony is that, unlike some directors who shall remain nameless, Attenborough actually had musical experience: directing Oh, What a Lovely War and acting in Doctor Dolittle. And that still wasn't enough.


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.






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