DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Right Spectacle: The Very Best of Elvis Costello - The Videos

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve Tannehill, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

    Jul 6, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Steve Tannehill
    XenForo Template  The Right Spectacle: The Very Best of Elvis Costello - The Videos Studio: Rhino Home Video Year: 1978-1994 (2005 Release) Rated: Unrated Aspect Ratio: 4x3 Audio: English DD 2.0 Captions/Subtitles: English Subtitles (Commentary only) Time: Approx. 167 minutes Disc Format: SS/DL (DVD-9) Case Style: Keep Case The Feature: Before the days of MTV, the promotional video was something that was seen on TV in lieu of an actual performance. Often, a group would be touring in another country and would be unable to appear on, say, the "Top of the Pops" in the U.K., so the video would take their place. I remember watching MTV during its first days in 1981 (Tulsa, Oklahoma, amazingly enough, got the channel on day one). There was a lot of Phil Collins' head, there were gems by Queen, college radio classics by U2, performances by Andrew Gold (who?) and even a song or two by little-known British New Wave artist Elvis Costello. MTV was wonderful in those early days because it played music that, frankly, did not get aired on the mainstream radio. Well, the bespectacled rocker has accumulated quite a history of music videos and TV appearances, and they are now included in a great collection titled The Right Spectacle: The Very Best of Elvis Costello - The Videos. It is fun seeing how the direction improved over the years, as did the production quality. Do you think that corresponded to the influence of MTV on the marketplace? You bet. On this disc, we have 27 music videos (c. 99 minutes). Amazing.
    1. (I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea
    2. Pump It Up
    3. Radio Radio
    4. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (DVD) (Multimedia
    5. Oliver's Army
    6. Accidents Will Happen
    7. I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down
    8. High Fidelity
    9. Love for Tender
    10. Possession
    11. New Amsterdam
    12. Clubland
    13. New Lace Sleeves
    14. Good Year for the Roses
    15. Sweet Dreams
    16. You Little Fool
    17. Everyday I Write the Book
    18. Let Them All Talk
    19. Only Flame in Town
    20. I Wanna Be Loved
    21. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
    22. Veronica
    23. This Town
    24. Other Side of Summer
    25. So Like Candy
    26. Sulky Girl
    27. 13 Steps Lead Down
    Additional live performances from a variety of European sources are included (c. 68 minutes):
    1. Alison
    2. No Dancing
    3. Lip Service
    4. This Year's Girl
    5. Radio Radio
    6. Oliver's Army
    7. Accidents Will Happen
    8. Watching the Detectives
    9. You Belong to Me
    10. Lipstick Vogue
    11. Watching the Detectives
    12. Shot with His Own Gun
    13. Shipbuilding
    14. Everyday I Write the Book
    15. Clowntime Is Over
    16. TKO (Boxing Day)
    17. Big Sister's Clothes
    18. Peace in Our Time
    The videos are fun to watch, especially the live work which I've never seen. Many of the music videos are equally obscure. But when the familiar videos show up, even my friends (who were in the room as I played this) took notice (they especially liked the Charles and Di lookalikes in "Everyday I Write the Book"). The only video that was scary was the duet with Daryl Hall ("Only Flame in Town"). But I think that was only because of the dueling big hair. And I loved the cover of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" not only from the performance perspective, but from the video direction. It is great. The Feature: 4 / 5     Video: The video transfer looks fine, but the source material is less than perfect. Dirt, scratches, fading--these videos have not been preserved over the years, and it shows. But it gets better as the years progress, and there are no obvious compression artifacts or video nasties. Video: 3.5 / 5     Sound: Sound for the music videos is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, and is front-focused with occasional bleed-over to the rear channels. After the first couple of songs, the bass response kicks in, and it sounds as good as I would expect music at that resolution to sound. For the live TV performances, the sound is monophonic but enjoyable. Sound: 4 / 5     Extras: The DVD includes a commentary by Elvis Costello for the 27 music videos, as well as subtitles. It's fun. "Oh yeah, definitely been at the vodka, look at him go..." In addition, there is a nice booklet with Costello's comments about the live performances. The clear packaging is also nice. An Easter Egg is also promised. If you find it, let me know... Extras: 4 / 5     In Conclusion: I really enjoyed the blast from music video past. If you are a fan of Elvis Costello, you are going to want this DVD. If you are not, but want a survey of his popular work, it is a good place to start. Overall Rating: 4 / 5
    Display calibrated by Steve Martin at http://www.lionav.com/
  2. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

    May 7, 2002
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    From a casual fan:

    I don't suppose there were any videos made of Elvis Costello's collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet and more likely that none of them appear on this disc; these songs probably weren't considered Elvis's 'Very Best' (answering the second part of my own question).

    The reason I bring this up is that my favourite song by Costello happens to be 'Romeo's Séance' which was a result of this collaboration. I'm just curious if there were any videos made of his teaming with the Brodsky Quartet. I seem to recall an appearance on Late Show With David Letterman though.
  3. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Apr 29, 2000
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    For the first part, no, there's no videos with the Brodsky Quartet on this DVD. For the second part, a lot of fans do consider 'The Juliet Letters' amongst his best work.
  4. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

    May 7, 2002
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    Thank you, Brian for answering my question. The Juliet Letters is on my shopping list. I would love to hear 'Romeo's Séance' again and am very curious about other songs in a similar vein.

    After visiting Amazon.ca, I noticed that there was a VHS of The Juliet Letters released in 1993. I wonder if a DVD might surface one day. That would be excellent to me.
  5. Jimmy Nugent

    Jimmy Nugent Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 6, 2000
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    I was initially a bit disappointed in the video quality. I had hoped that Rhino might have thrown a little cash at the collection for at least a minimal bit of digital clean-up. However, after watching several of the videos a couple of times, I am completely satisfied to just have them on dvd.
    Maybe a future incarnation of this collection will warrant a video/audio upgrade ala Peter Gabriel's PLAY- although, for obvious reasons, age and condition of the original elements, not quite to that extent. In the meantime, back to the videos!

    Andrew- I have the Juliet Letters on Laser disc and can tell you that it is indeed wonderful.

    Here's to hoping we see more Costello (Juliet Letters, Concerts, etc.) on dvd in the near future!

  6. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

    Feb 15, 2002
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    I have the laserdisc edition of The Juliet Letters and if memory serves, it contains the entire album.

  7. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Apr 24, 1999
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    Go to Only Flame In Town on the menu and hit Up.

    Was a little disappointed "Watching The Detectives" wasn't on this, will have to hold onto my VHS tape for that one.
  8. Patrick Picking

    Patrick Picking Auditioning

    Jun 20, 1999
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    The video for You Little Fool blurs out all references to Coke & Pepsi at the soda shop, as was done with Grease. The signs and cans are all unblurred in the original VHS version.
  9. Eric Vedowski

    Eric Vedowski Second Unit

    Aug 30, 2002
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    Off topic a bit but I couldn't let the "Andrew Gold (who?)" comment pass without mentioning his movie connections-he's the son of film composer Ernest Gold (Exodus, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World) and voice double supreme Marni Nixon.
    As for this EC release-sounds like the video quality is about the same as the LD I've had for years but I probably will upgrade to the new DVD anyway. Thanks for the review.

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