Rat Pack-Live at the Villa Venice (DVD-Audio) (1962) (NTSC)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Featurette-Video - Comedy Routine By The Rat Pack
Gallery-Photo
Credits
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 80:36
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Frank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Sammy Davis Jr.
Case ?
RPI $32.95 Music Various


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English MLP 96/24 5.1
English MLP 192/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    They were the bad boys of the late 50s and early 60s. They would perform at The Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas every night, in between partying and womanising. Lauren Bacall called them the Rat Pack after seeing them at the end of a five day round the clock romp around the town.

    This DVD-Audio features a selection from their concert performances over six nights after Thanksgiving in 1962 (26 November - 2 December) held at the Villa Venice nightclub in Chicago. These performances were widely held as representing the core of the Rat Pack (consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.) at their prime. At the time, there was a lot of notoriety over the performances as it was rumoured they appeared for a "nominal fee" as a "favour" to a Mafia boss.

    These performances were not released to the public until a set of bootleg CDs were issued in 1994. An "official" CD+DVD release finally came out recently entitled Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection featuring these performances on a CD, whilst the DVD contained a rare previously unreleased full concert performance from the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis originally aired as The Frank Sinatra Spectacular, on 20 June 1965.

    The DVD-Audio contain the same tracks as the Live & Swingin' CD but with the addition of an extra track (3) of Dean Martin singing My Kind of Girl.

    The sequencing of the tracks has a quick band fanfare and introduction, followed by Dean Martin singing a few songs and medleys (the first medley is quite funny as Dean changes the lyrics around a theme of drunkenness). Then Frank Sinatra sings a few songs/medleys, followed by Sammy Davis Jr. Then we get a combination of the three participating in various on-stage comedy routines, horseplay and occasional duets.

    If you are a fan of the Rat Pack, you will enjoy the selection of songs on this disc, and the monologues and comedy lines will bring a smile to your face. Some of the jokes will seem a bit risqué to modern ears - there are a lot of references to Sammy being "Jewish" for example. However, it is worthwhile to remember the historical context - when Frank initially asked Sammy to join his show, black singers weren't allowed to sing in Las Vegas nightclubs so he deliberately made a joke out of it by pretending Sammy was "Jewish" and therefore it was okay.

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Track Listing

1. Fanfare and Introduction
2. Medley
3. My Kind of Girl
4. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
5. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write
6. Medley
7. Goody Goody
8. Chicago
9. When Your Lover Has Gone
10. Monologue
11. Please Be Kind
12. Angel Eyes
13. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves Y
14. What Kind of Fool Am I?
15. Out Of This World
16. She's Funny That Way
17. Hey There
18. Comedy
19. Medley 1
20. Medley 2
21. Impressions
22. Birth of the Blues
23. Danny Thomas Introduction
24. Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
25. Me and My Shadow
26. Sam's Song
27. Birth of the Blues (Reprise)

Transfer Quality

Video

    Like most of the Warner DVD-Audio discs released to date, the video content on this disc is in full frame NTSC. Each song is accompanied by a still containing some black and white photos and a background of the venue.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc. All the DVD-Video content is contained on Layer 1, so I was unable to determine where the layer transition was.

Audio

    The DVD-Audio content consists of the following tracks:

    Both tracks are stored as separate Groups and actually have different lengths (80:26 for Group 1 and 80:24 for Group 2).

    The DVD-Video content consists of just two tracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 (both 448Kb/s).

    The original analogue tapes do not seem to be of high quality, with a bit of mid-range bloom and slightly crackly in places. The MLP 2.0 track captures the condition of the analogue tape well - I could almost imagine a tape was spinning in front of me as I listened to the disc.

    The MLP 5.1 track sounds like the 2.0 track electronically processed into 5.1. This is strange because the DVD-Audio credits claim that the tracks have been remixed from the original "multi-track" masters. The centre channel contains nothing but ambience, and I could not detect any real differentiation between the front and rear channels. The subwoofer is used to enhance the low frequency content of the music.

    Vocals are mixed into the rear channels as well, creating an annoying image of the Rat Pack singing from inside my head.

    Turning over to the DVD-Video section, both tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1) sound similar to the MLP tracks, with perhaps a little bit more body and low end, but also with increased harshness. The two Dolby Digital tracks are encoded with dialog normalization set to +4dB, so sound quite loud.

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

Extras

    Given the length of the programme, it is not surprisingly that extras are minimal.

Menu

    The menus are black and white, in full frame and static.

Featurette- Video - Comedy Routine By The Rat Pack (9:17)

    This is an excerpt from the concert performance featured in the CD+DVD pack Live & Swingin'. It features the three members of the Rat Pack trying to outdo each other in impersonations of famous people. It is presented in black and white, full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Gallery-Photo

    This consists of 31 stills of the Rat Pack in various poses. Most are in black and white, but some are in colour.

Credits

    This consists of three stills providing DVD-Audio remastering and authoring credits. I was particularly interested in the last still, which provides some information on the remixing and remastering process.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc appears to be identically featured across all regions.

Summary

    The Rat Pack Live at the Villa Venice features Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. in their heyday performing at the infamous Chicago night club over 5 nights after Thanksgiving 1962. The trio are in top form and there is lots of good music as well as between-song joking and horseplay.

    The original analogue audio tapes are not that great and the MLP 2.0 track reflects the condition of the tapes. The MLP 5.1 track sounds like a "fake surround" track.

    Extras include a video except of the Rat Pack doing impersonations and a photo gallery.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Friday, January 02, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLinn Unidisk 2.1, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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