The Very Best Of The Mamas & The Papas

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1988 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
56:49 minutes
(not 80:00 minutes as per packaging)
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director  
Warner Vision
Starring The Mamas & The Papas
RPI $39.95 Music The Mamas & The Papas
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s) 
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ?? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

    I was interested in reviewing this title based on the simple fact that I quite like some of the songs performed by The Mamas & The Papas, who had an innocence and folksy quality to their music which always transports me to the sixties whenever I hear a track of theirs on the radio.

    The documentary presented was produced in 1988, and features interviews with the remaining band members in the normal, standard way. Cass Elliot, famous amongst other reasons for choking to death on a ham sandwich, is naturally absent from the interviews. If you are a fan of this band, the information contained in this documentary will certainly entertain you, however the presentation will undoubtedly leave you cold. I will not be watching it a second time.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is Full Frame. Naturally, it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Oh boy, where do I start. A good place might be with the packaging, which boldly claims "superb digital picture and sound quality." Let me argue that the packaging is in error, and that the transfer presented here is without doubt in the same league as the very poorest the format has been unfortunately host to. The packaging also has a copyright declaration for the year 2000, and makes no mention of the fact that the actual content is a very amateurish 1988 production. Thirdly, I was quite surprised (pleasantly, I might add) to find the running time a full 23 minutes less than the 80 minutes stated. The most striking aspect of this transfer is the total lack of definition, and the massive amount of edge enhancement employed, along with heavy-handed noise reduction. Quite clearly, this is a master prepared for VHS, and prepared a while ago - something clearly betrayed by the familiar horizontal lines running down the opening rating notice. There is absolutely no detail in the image, whether the source is old, or new(ish) interview footage. Even squinting didn't help.

    Roughly half of the documentary is black and white, and that which is in colour is barely so, and has nothing to applaud it.

    There were no significant MPEG artefacts, which is surprising. Film artefacts were rife from start to finish, though this is to be expected given the nature of the archival footage. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of the previously mentioned edge-enhancement, along with a strange effect akin to watching the transfer through a semi-transparent vertically striped sheet. This was mostly present on the new(ish) interview footage and was quite noticeable on my display.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is one Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track on this DVD.

    Dialogue was always very clear and easy to understand. There were no lip sync problems.

    The audio can best be described as functional, with limited quality given the nature of the source.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use N/A



    As soon as the disc is inserted, the very simple menu jumps onto the screen. You have the option to start or jump to a scene index, and that's it. Where are the biographies, the discographies, notes or other seemingly simple extras which should be mandatory on discs such as these? Obviously the makers of this disc couldn't be bothered, and are happy with just dumping the lacklustre documentary on the disc and leaving it at that.

R4 vs R1

    This title has been authored for use in all regions.


    An interesting if amateurish documentary. Given the total lack of quality control on this title, I would recommend this only for those who are fanatical about The Mamas & The Papas. I would also warn that the packaging is misleading in many ways, and that the DVD's title "The Very Best Of The Mamas & The Papas" is not strictly correct, since that would imply full reproduction of a number of songs, which would have been most welcome, and which this DVD does not provide.

    The video is rotten, and absolutely does not deserve to be pressed onto DVD.

    The audio is functional.

    There are nil extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Paul Cordingley
19th August, 2000 (read my bio)
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A360 (S-Video output)
Display Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Rear-Projection Widescreen (16x9)
Amplification Sony STRDB-930 (Optically connected)
Speakers Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100-watt, Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders, Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive