The Pretenders

Greatest Hits

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Menu Audio
Featurette - The Pretenders: No Turn Left Unstoned
Year Released 2000
Running Time
75:04 minutes
(not 120 minutes as stated on packaging) 
RSDL/Flipper Dual Layer
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Various
Warner Vision
Warner Vision Australia
Starring The Pretenders
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $39.95 Music The Pretenders

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    In this age of over-hyped music, "stars" rise and fall quicker than the tides. Albums are brought out quicker than greased lightning in order that they move in huge numbers on the strength of one hyped song, all hopefully before the buying public work out that the artist has no ability other than being able to pick a good publicist. The result is an endless succession of "stars" whose shining light can be measured in months or if they have an especially great publicist maybe a few years. But to last decades, to create music that has a fighting chance of lasting decades, requires a genuine talent. There is not much of it around in the music industry nowadays but back in the 1970s and 1980s it seemed to be in abundance. Out of those decades arose many great bands and artists, and whilst The Pretenders may not be one of the really great ones, they sure are a darn sight better than most of the rubbish that we have to listen to today.

    Mind you defining exactly who The Pretenders are is a little difficult, as the band has been through more incarnations than Prince. The only constant through those changes though is the very essence of The Pretenders and her name is of course Chrissie Hynde. This American moved to England and set herself on the road to a pretty good career in music. The Pretenders might have had a long gestation, but in 1979 they pretty much burst into public consciousness the world over on the strength of one song - Brass In Pocket, pretty much the antithesis of the punk rock movement which was then enduring its death throes in the face of what had become the New Wave and then a whole new range of music highlighted by individual bands such as The Pretenders. The band might have gone through many changes, some forced and some unforced, but they remain to this day a beacon of remembrance to real music.

    Broadly speaking the DVD equivalent of the album of the same name, The Pretenders: Greatest Hits provides the following songs as an insight to the career of one of the better bands of the New Wave, spanning the period 1979 to 1999:

1. Brass In Pocket 1979   11. Stop Your Sobbing 1979
2. Message Of Love 1981   12. Hymn To Her 1986
3. Don't Get Me Wrong 1986   13. 2000 Miles 1995
4. Kid 1979   14. Breakfast In Bed (with UB40) 1988
5. Human 1999   15. Popstar 1999
6. I Go To Sleep 1981   16. Sense Of Purpose 1990
7. I Got You Babe (with UB40) 1985   17. Middle Of The Road 1984
8. Night In My Veins 1994   18. Thin Line Between Love And Hate 1984
9. State Of Independence 1991   19. Back On The Chain Gang 1982
10. Talk Of The Town 1980   20. I'll Stand By You 1994

    Okay, so technically two of the songs are not The Pretenders but rather are Chrissie Hynde with UB40, and one is Chrissie Hynde with Moodswings. We will definitely excuse these on the grounds that Chrissie Hynde IS The Pretenders! Sharp-eyed readers will also notice that the above listing is not the same as the song listing provided on the DVD slick and detailed in the booklet. Forever Young, which is listed in the DVD packaging, is actually not included in the DVD whilst Sense Of Purpose is actually included in the DVD but is not mentioned on the packaging. Tsk, tsk!

    It has been many years since I have seen most of these videos and it is great to see them again. I shall never forget the earlier songs in particular and I must have seen the video for Brass In Pocket so many times on television back in 1979 and 1980 that I pretty well knew the whole thing back to front. Plenty of memories then here, with the standout tracks (other than Brass In Pocket obviously) being Talk Of The Town, Hymn To Her, 2000 Miles, Sense Of Purpose and the wonderful I'll Stand By You. And for a delightfully apt commentary on the appalling state of recorded music, just check out Popstar!

    Highlighting the great voice of Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders created some great music over the years and it is great to be able to return to these videos again after all this time. Fans of the band will need no urging to indulge in this DVD but even if you have only a passing interest in the music of the late 1970s and early 1980s in particular, this is something you should get a hold of for a view.

Transfer Quality


    This collection comprises music videos made for promotional purposes and as such the production values are not huge and it is very doubtful that they were ever expected to have a life of more than a few months. Accordingly, I would hazard a guess that many were shot on video rather than film. As a result, the expectations as to the sort of quality we would be seeing are somewhat less than a recent feature film, which is the polite way of apologizing for the fact that some of what is here is not exactly terrific in transfer quality. All things considered however, this is a very decent transfer of the available source material. Since most, if not all, of these songs were recorded for television promotional purposes and for television shows, the general aspect ratio of the transfer is Full Frame, not 16x9 enhanced. There are a few videos in widescreen format, either 1.66:1 (I'll Stand By You) or 1.85:1 (Popstar), but these too are not 16x9 enhanced.

    With the oldest video dating back twenty two years, you would rightly be expecting the transfers to not exactly be the sharpest you are ever likely to see. Quite correct - they aren't. But in the main, they are quite decently sharp with reasonable amounts of detail on offer in general - or at least as much as I would be expecting in a promotional video designed to sell records. Some of the earlier videos have a distinctly flat look to them, lacking any great depth to the image. Clarity leaves a lot to be desired on occasions, not counting some of the artistic choices in this regard either, although in general I would have little real complaint about the amount of grain present in most of the videos. Shadow detail is not much of an issue here, since the videos are generally shot in such a manner as to avoid such issues. There did not appear to be any serious low level noise issues in the transfer.

    The colours are not the most distinctive collection that you will ever see and display the sort of variance that would be anticipated in a collection of videos covering twenty-odd years. Some are decidedly muted and lacking in naturalness whilst others are quite saturated. Even the best videos though do not display much solidity in the colours. Overall, I would not consider this to be an especially vibrant collection. There did not appear to be any real problems with oversaturation. Colour bleed did not seem to be too much of an issue either.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not seem to be any real problems with film-to-video artefacts, other than a rather noticeable shimmering in Talk Of The Town - but since this is broadly a black and white video with plenty of alternating horizontal stripes thanks to lighting, this is perhaps not unexpected! The earlier videos are rather blessed with some obvious film artefacts, but overall the transfer is not too shabby in this regard.

    This is a Dual Layered DVD - I did not notice any layer change during the programme.

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


    Rather surprisingly given the recent issues from Warner Vision Australia, not only is there just the one soundtrack on the DVD, but it is not a Dolby Digital effort, but rather a Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack. It has to be said though that this uncompressed soundtrack does give the music every opportunity to shine. This soundtrack only applies to the main programme, and the featurette does have a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Huh?

    The vocals come up very well in the transfer and there are no problems understanding them. There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    The soundtrack is a fairly typical example of a Linear PCM soundtrack which means that it

a. sounds very much like the sound of a CD, and
b. has no use for surround and bass channels.
    Whilst I would love to have heard this in a well-mastered Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 soundtrack, what we have got is not that bad at all. There certainly is nothing inherently wrong here and the soundtrack is quite free from distortion or other problems. Decent enough sound overall.
Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Well, here is something of a rarity - a real, honest-to-goodness extra on a music DVD. And not just a piddly little one but an extensive interview-based effort about the band!


    Nothing special and has minor audio enhancement.

Featurette - The Pretenders: No Turn Left Unstoned (47:53)

    Made in 1995, this is a most interesting, and at times very candid look (meaning that Chrissie Hynde does indulge in the F-word), at the origins and gestation of the band and its various incarnations. Whilst predominantly built around interview material from Chrissie Hynde, an almost Who's Who of people contribute their own thoughts about Chrissie Hynde and the band, including Bono, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Rosanna Arquette amongst others. Presented in a decent Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, it comes with good Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Almost usurps the main programming in terms of its value - well worth checking this effort out.

R4 vs R1

    Looks like we have another DVD that we can sell to the Yanks - I cannot locate this as available on any of the major Region 1 sites.


    The Pretenders Greatest Hits is a nice compilation of the high points of the career of one of the more important bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since the transfer is no better and no worse than expected for the age of the material involved, this is worthwhile checking out.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
6th March, 2001.

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL