Frank Sinatra-The First 40 Years (1979)

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Released 4-Nov-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Trailer
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 78:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jack Donohue
Hugh Lambert
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Frank Sinatra
Tony Bennett
Sammy Davis Jr.
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Spanish
Italian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

    This DVD is part of a series of Sinatra DVDs that Warner Vision have released. This particular disc features a number of Frank Sinatra's celebrity friends celebrating Frank's first 40 years in 'the biz'.

    As I wrote in an earlier review, "Frank Sinatra needs no introduction. Since the 1940s he has been consistently one of the biggest selling and most critically acclaimed recording and performing stars in popular music; an Academy Award winning actor and movie star; and a 20th Century cultural icon. Sinatra's life and work speak for itself."

    In 1979 Sinatra was arguably at his peak, not as a performer, but as a celebrity. Hosted in Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, this US made-for-television special features very little of Sinatra performing himself. Indeed, Ol Blue Eyes only contributes five tunes to the evening's entertainment. A number of Frank's celebrity friends take centre stage here, and they range from actors paying spoken tributes, such as Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly and Cary Grant, to comedians, such as Rich Little and Red Skelton sandwiching some of their stand-up comedy between more gushing. The highlight for me was the musical performances by Harry James, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, and the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra.

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Track Listing

1. Harry James - The Two O'Clock Jump
2. Robert Merrill - Holiday For Frank
3. Bennett - My Kind Of Town
4. Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Fr
5. Sammy Davis Jr. - The Lady Is A Tra
6. Paul Anka - My Way
7. Sinatra - New YorK New York
8. Sinatra - It Was A Very Good Year
9. Sinatra - The Best Is Yet To Come
10. Sinatra - I've Got You Under My Ski
11. Sinatra - I've Got The World On A S
12. Ensemble - Happy Birthday

Transfer Quality

Video

    Any transfer is limited by the source material. The source material here is fairly representative of late 1970s American television, and for its age, it is in reasonable condition.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame.

    The image is fairly soft throughout, and lacks clarity. The shadow detail is also poor throughout.

    The colour is a little drab and murky, but again one must consider the age of the source material.

    MPEG artefacts appear in the form of mild pixelization throughout. There also appeared to be some mild posterization, such as at 8:53. Admittedly, at times I found this hard to separate from problems with the hazy source material. Film-to-video artefacts are present in the form of mild aliasing, such as the slight shimmer on the background set at 21:18. Pleasantly, film artefacts were never a problem. Overmodulation was present in some scenes, such as at 7:04.

    All the subtitles promised on the packaging were present. While the non-English subtitles would only appear during the spoken passages, the English subtitles also display the song lyrics during Frank's performance. The English subtitles were accurate.

    This is a single-layered disc which is acceptable considering the length of the material.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, an English PCM track adapted from the original mono source. Fortunately, there is none of the heavy background hiss often apparent in mono tracks of this vintage, but sadly there is also none of the full, rich sound available on some other recordings. There were also a number of audio clicks, pops and drop-outs throughout.

    The dialogue quality and the audio sync are okay.

    In regards to the music, some of the great singers and songwriters are on display here. However, as I commented in an earlier review, I am not a big fan of the musical director, Don Costa's arrangements. His painfully weak arrangements often lack the swing and punch of others, such as Quincy Jones' arrangements.

    As a PCM track, the surround speakers and subwoofer are not called upon during this DVD.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This DVD contains few extras.

Menu

    The DVD auto-plays on loading, but there is a menu if you select it. It is static and without audio.

Trailer

    This four minute and nineteen second trailer is presented in as aspect ration of 1.33:1, full frame, with an English PCM track. It advertises the series of Sinatra DVDs that Warner Vision are releasing, as opposed to this DVD in particular. I assume that this trailer appears on all of the series' DVDs.

Catalogue

    Purely text-based, this extra lists the tracks on ten of Warner Vision's Sinatra DVDs. Again I assume that this extra appears on all of the series' DVDs.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is limited information, but from what I can tell the Region 1 version of this series of Sinatra DVDs only differs from the Region 4 version in the design of the slicks and in the NTSC/PAL transfer. Thus, I easily favour our version based on its availability, and most importantly, its superior PAL image.

Summary

    Warner Vision have released a series of Sinatra DVDs. Each captures a different Sinatra performance over the many years. This DVD would appeal to those who are more nostalgic Sinatra fans.

    The video quality is acceptable considering the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is limited and flat, but it is also acceptable, considering the age of the mono source material

    The extras are really not worth mentioning.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Friday, January 10, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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