The Best of the Blues Brothers (PAL) (1997)

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Released 24-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Notes-A History Of The Blues Brothers
Discography
Notes-The Blues Brothers Band
Notes-Elwood's Speeches
Biographies-Cast-Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi
Notes-Briefcase Full Of Blues
Quiz-Blues Brothers Trivia
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 59:35 (Case: 39)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Stax Entertainment
Warner Vision
Starring John Belushi
Dan Aykroyd
Tom Davis
Steve Cropper
Donald Dunn
Murphy Dunne
Steve Jordan
Tom Malone
Lou Marini
Matt Murphy
Alan Rubin
Paul Shaffer
Tom Scott
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

    The Blues Brothers are well known all over the world due to the classic film of the same name from 1980 starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. What many people do not realise, especially outside of the USA, is that The Blues Brothers had started a couple of years before in the fevered imaginations of the duo involved. They first appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1978 doing the old Muddy Waters tune, I'm A King Bee dressed as, strangely enough, King Bees. After that, all that changed was the outfits to the well-known black suits, white shirts, thin ties, sunglasses and hats.

    This show is a compilation of some of their appearances on Saturday Night Live during the next few years, and various concert performances. These music clips are interspersed with an interview with Dan Aykroyd (and his character Elwood Blues) recorded in 1993 just as his House of Blues restaurant chain was starting up. The interview portions are intermittently interesting with Aykroyd admitting at one point that he was only a 'fair' harmonica player and John was only a 'fair' vocalist. The whole idea of interviewing both Dan Aykroyd and Elwood Blues is a bit corny and the split screen photography is pretty obvious. John Belushi died of a drug overdose in 1982 so his contribution here is only in the archival footage.

    In an extremely strange move by a DVD distributor, this disc is labelled as running for 39 minutes but is in fact only a few seconds short of an hour. This must be an packaging error because you would hardly want your disc to sound like worse value than it is. This main feature here has in fact been released before in Region 4 in 1999, however, the previous disc was in NTSC and contained different extras and only Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. A review of that disc is also available on this website.

    The disc would definitely be of interest to fans of The Blues Brothers, especially for the early TV and live appearances.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video presentation is reasonable considering the age of some of the footage. 

    The concert is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which is how it was probably originally recorded. 

    The picture is generally clear except for some of the concert footage but is a bit soft throughout. Shadow detail is at best reasonable and no low level noise is present. Some of the live footage includes grain.

    The colour in this presentation is not great. The recent interview footage is fine but in a darkened bar, so not particularly colourful. Some of the Saturday Night Live footage has problems with colour with the black suits appearing either green or red from time to time. There are also comet trails from lights, instruments and mike stands during the live shows.

    There were a few artefacts of note, the most intrusive being microphony during some of the live performances. This is noticeable at 10:27, 20:47, 23:40, 25:10, 27:24, 37:44 and 40:33. There was some minor edge enhancement at 15:00 on John Belushi. Also, some tape tracking artefacts were noticeable at 24:59 and 50:32.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.
    

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

Audio

    The sound on this disc is generally good with no major issues, although it was very front and centre focussed even with the 5.1 track.

    This DVD contains two audio options for the main feature, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. I listened to the whole 5.1 track and compared it to the 2.0 track. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track was clearly superior with more depth, clarity and volume.   

    Vocals were generally clear and easy to understand.    

    There were no issues with audio sync.    

    The music came across well and generally sounded good. There was one incidence of feedback during a live performance at 21:00.    

    The surround activity was limited to an occasional cymbal or other musical highlight.    

    There was minimal noticeable subwoofer usage only adding some bass to the music.

    

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

Extras

Menu

    The menus were presented in 1.33:1, with music and were static. They allowed you to select a particular song and change the audio setup.

Notes

    The disc includes many text-based extras including a history of The Blues Brothers, a discography including track listings, biographies of all the band members and John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd, the text of the various speeches which Elwood made before various tracks on their albums and during the films, and a trivia quiz. The trivia quiz was not really interactive as it showed four questions per page and then the four answers. The text features were all of interest to a fan but became slightly monotonous. These pages were very similar in design and most were quite shimmery.

Picture Gallery

    Approximately 12 pictures are presented here featuring movie posters, photos and album covers.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is available in Region 1 in the same format so taking the PAL/NTSC differences into account, I would prefer the Region 4 disc.

Summary

    This disc is a collection of archival footage of The Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live and various live concerts interspersed with a 1993 interview with Dan Aykroyd.

    The video quality is reasonable but not without issues.

    The audio quality is generally good.

    There is a large quantity of text based extras and a small picture gallery.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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