The HBO documentary The Bee Gees: How Do You Mend a Broken Heart comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Home Video.
The Production: 4.5/5
Many dismiss the Bee Gees as a disco group, but Frank Marshall’s documentary for HBO, The Bee Gees: How Do You Mend a Broken Heart, paints a much larger (sometimes glossy) canvass of these three brothers who began their career in the 1960s in Australia, moving to London, and slowly rise to stardom after signing with music producer and entrepreneur Robert Stigwood with hits like To Love Somebody, Massachusetts, Words, Run to Me, and How Can You Mend a Broken Heart in the 1960s and early 1970s, with their career exploding in the mid to late 1970s with Jive Talkin’, Nights on Broadway, You Should Be Dancing, three number one hits from the multi-Platinum soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever – How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive, and Night Fever (More Then a Woman was never released as a single) – an album that would christen them as disco stars, ending the decade and crashing shortly thereafter with Love You Inside Out and the ironic Tragedy as the disco era came to an abrupt end (which is told with much suspense in the film by intercutting from a Bee Gees concert to the infamous explosion of disco records at Comiskey Park in the middle of a double header between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers and the chaos that ensued afterwards. The film also touches on the low ends of their career, including their short breakup in 1969 and their fall after the end of disco, but completely skips over their movie with Peter Frampton, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1978. It also shows their comeback in the 1980s thru early 2000s by turning their attention to writing and producing for other artists, and some of the songs they wrote during that period may surprise you.
Marshall makes good use of archival performance footage and interviews (much of it taken from analog standard definition sources), interspersing them with new interviews with surviving member Barry Gibb; band members Vince Melouney, Dennis Byron, and Blue Weaver; engineer Karl Richardson; musicians Eric Clapton, Noel Gallagher, Mykael S. Riley (who has an interesting recollection of the Disco Sucks event at Comiskey Park), Justin Timberlake, and Chris Martin. The entire story is told thru interviews with no narrator.
3D Rating: NA
The Bee Gees: How Do You Mend a Broken Heart originally aired on HBO in 1080i and streamed on HBO Max in 1080p, and Warner’s AVC-encoded 1080p transfer used for this Blu-ray is exceptional, considering just how much archival footage is used. The newer interviews are well-detailed and often blend in rather well without feeling jarring when intercut with older material. The Blu-ray shows no signs of noticeable compression artifacts.
Warner’s Blu-ray offers up a nice DTS-HD MA track in 5.1 that has excellent fidelity. This is a front-heavy mix, as one would expect in a documentary featuring interviews, and the dialogue is always clear and understandable throughout. The highlight is the music tracks, which really come to life in this surround mix, with strong LFE presence (especially once we hit the band’s disco era) and immersive surround.
Special Features: 1.5/5
Deleted Scenes: The only extras are two brief deleted scenes, which feel more like HBO promos for the film but do feature topics not discussed in the film – Meeting the Bee Gees (2:04) and Bands of Brothers (1:14).
If you are a fan of popular music from the 1960s thru early 1980s, you will likely enjoy this documentary, even if you are not a casual fan of The Bee Gees. Recommended.
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