Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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Details At A Glance

Category Musical Featurette-The Making Of... (30:09) 
Year Released 1999
Running Time 77:10 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (71:36)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director David Mallet

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Donny Osmond 
Maria Friedman 
Richard Attenborough 
Robert Torti 
Joan Collins
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Andrew Lloyd Webber

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s) 
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement Yes
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has surely got to be the most popular musical of all time for school productions. In the grand scheme of things, it is an unsophisticated romp through the Biblical story of Joseph, and yet it has an enduring freshness about it that seems unstoppable. This is no doubt due to the combination of a timeless story, the catchy music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the great lyrics of Tim Rice. Having said that, a lot of the songs from Joseph are extremely derivative of a number of other musical genres and border on the plagiaristic. Still, for a musical written by two teenagers for their secondary school end of term concert, it isn't half bad. Admittedly, it has grown over the years from a very basic 20 minute affair to the current 77 minute length, with songs of varying sophistication being added in by a progressively maturing Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Personally, my fondest recollection of this musical was that based around one of the very first recordings ever made of it, and indeed one of the very first LPs that I ever bought - a soundtrack recording by The Mixed Bag. To me, this was the definitive version of Joseph, and I have some difficulty with some of the numbers added in later by Andrew Lloyd Webber, such as One More Angel In Heaven, Those Canaan Days and Benjamin Calypso.

    This particular incarnation of the Joseph story is spectacular and vibrant. Captured on film, it is most definitely not a live performance, but rather it is lip-synced. This is detrimental to the audio aspects of this presentation, but it does allow for the most spectacular visual rendition of this story that you are ever likely to see, and spectacular it most certainly is. I was initially quite dubious about the lip-syncing, but the spectacular visuals and the power of the story soon compensated for that, and I was enthralled from about 1/3rd of the way in. The production values for this production are huge, with massive, vibrant sets and stunning costumes the order of the day. Words fail to do justice to the "wow" factor of this production - it is simply something that you have to see for yourself to appreciate.

Transfer Quality


    This is a magnificent video transfer, marred only very slightly by some minor problems early on. 99% of this transfer is well and truly of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was magnificently and exquisitely detailed, looking far sharper and clearer than many movie transfers. The level of detail resolved in this transfer is simply breathtaking to behold, with the smallest nuances of detail being impeccably resolved. Shadow detail was perfect and there was no low level noise. The most breathtaking example of this during this transfer was during the Potiphar sequence, where the stunning black-and-white set design was just brilliantly rendered by this transfer. Blacks were resounding in their depth and clarity. Whites were strong, sharp and powerful.

    There were only two minor issues with the sharpness of this transfer. These occurred when there was movement in the foreground of a row of people in front of an actor. The first instance of this occurred with the movement of Jacob's wives in front of Joseph early on. The wives, in the foreground of the shot, appeared to be moving on a conveyer belt type arrangement. They were blurred because of this motion in comparison to the razor sharp image of Joseph behind them. This was quite an unpleasant, albeit momentary, effect. I watched this very closely in stop motion to clarify whether this was an MPEG artefact or not, but it was quite apparent that this was motion blur fully attributable to the source material rather than to the transfer.

    The colours were magnificently rendered. This transfer is so vibrant that it makes Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery look like a black-and-white movie, as befits a production about a Technicolor Dreamcoat. Every shade of the rainbow is on offer here, with stunning swathes of red, yellow, green, blue and any other colour that you care to name on display. A remarkable aspect of this transfer is the total lack of colour bleed. Colours stop precisely where they should stop, and there is never any spill whatsoever across colour boundaries or anything to get in the way of your appreciation of the stunningly colourful costumes and sets. The only minor flaw with the colour was noted towards the end of the transfer, in some close-up shots of Jacob moving towards Joseph. There is some minor chroma noise in the blue background of these shots.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen, despite the incredible amount of movement and colour on-screen at any given time. This is due in no small part to the fact that this DVD is dual-layered, a wise choice on the part of whomsoever authored it.

    Aliasing was remarkably absent from this transfer, despite its razor-sharp nature. Admittedly, there was some very minor aliasing from time to time, and some distracting aliasing right at the very end involving two children wearing red and white striped tops, but this was not a problem of any significance.

    There was a small amount of image wobble at the start of the transfer involving movement of the narrator in front of the red curtain. This was slightly distracting, but fortunately did not persist for very long.

    This transfer is presented on an RSDL-formatted DVD, with the layer change at 71:36, right at the very end of the production, but before the end credits. It is minimally distracting.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0 and English Dolby Digital 5.1. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1, and this is the soundtrack that I listened to.

    The vocals were pretty much always clear and easy to understand, though mixed in a somewhat unusual way. I felt that there was not quite enough vocal mixed into the center channel, and too much mixed into the left and right channels, giving the overall sound a somewhat "plugged-up" feel. Mind you, this was not a major problem. Pharaoh's song was a tad problematic in its intelligibility due to the use of echo effects, but this is traditionally the way this song is mixed and sung. Indeed, this was more intelligible that it usually is.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc per se, though it is obvious that the artists are miming their vocals rather than actually singing them.

    The surround channels carried some of the music, but were not otherwise specifically utilized.

    The .1 channel was kept very busy with an aggressive bass and bass drum presence which was nicely complementary to the remainder of the soundtrack and never called specific attention to itself.


    There are only limited extras on this DVD, but the ones that are there are excellent.



    This contains a relatively sparse collection of production notes.

Featurette-The Making Of...

    This 30-minute featurette is very much worthwhile, even though it does feel padded out slightly at times.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;     The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;     Much like Burn The Floor before it, the choice with this DVD comes down to a much better visual experience (PAL 16x9 enhancement and correct aspect ratio) versus a lesser visual experience (NTSC non-enhanced and incorrect aspect ratio) with marginally better sound. I say the Region 4 version of this DVD wins hands down.


    Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a stunning production of this perennial favourite. The visuals alone are worth the purchase price.

    The video quality is magnificent and would have been declared reference quality save for some minor issues.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    There were limited extras, but what was present was excellent in quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
10th May 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Start SD-2010VNK-C, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer