The Sweet-The Very Best of (2003)

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Released 11-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Discography
Biographies-Cast-Band Profiles
Trailer-Roxy Music-On The Road Live 1979, Eurythmics-Sweet Dreams
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 93:11 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Stuart O'Donnell
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Andy Scott
Nicky Chinn
Phil Wainman
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music The Sweet


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    When I was a young lad, my favourite pop group was The Sweet. A four member glam rock group, they had begun life as a teenybopper band before I had heard of them. I started buying their records at what was just about the peak of their career, with the international number one hit Fox on the Run in 1974. Within a year or two they seemed to vanish without trace.

    This disc contains a 2003 documentary about the band which features a number of their promotional clips. These were distributed in 16mm format for TV stations to show on their pop programmes, which in Australia at the time included Countdown and Sounds Unlimited as I recall. There are also appearances from UK pop programmes.

    The documentary features interviews with three principals of the group: lead guitarist Andy Scott, songwriter Nicky Chinn of Chinn and Chapman fame and producer Phil Wainman. The now heavily-jowled Scott is quite down to earth and forthcoming about the band and its problems. Chinn and Wainman are more self-serving, and it is a pity that there were no other interviews to counterbalance their testimony, otherwise you might think Chinn was the reason for the band's success. Sadly, both blond lead singer Brian Connelly and drummer Mick Tucker are no longer alive. Connelly's drinking problems led to him being kicked out of the band and undoubtedly contributed to his early death in 1997, while Tucker succumbed to leukaemia in 2002. Bass guitarist Steve Priest is still living but did not participate in this documentary.

    While a number of film clips are shown in their entirety on this disc, unfortunately the selection menu does not allow you to navigate directly to them, which limits the number of potential repeat viewings of this disc. As a general history of the band this is pretty good, and it brought back a lot of memories. And it made me feel pretty old. However, I would have preferred better quality video and audio with more of their songs and less of the talking heads.

    The songs included complete (apart from a truncated version of Block Buster) are listed below.

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Track Listing

1. Co-co
2. Poppa Joe
3. Wig Wam Bam
4. Block Buster
5. Hell Raiser
6. Ballroom Blitz
7. Teenage Rampage
8. The Six Teens
9. Turn It Down
10. Fox on the Run
11. Action

Transfer Quality

Video

    The documentary is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The footage can be divided into some good quality recent video material and some poor quality archival material. The newer footage is quite clean and clear, not ideally sharp but quite satisfactory. The older material is blurry, fuzzy and not very good. Contrast levels are okay and shadow detail is severely lacking, though this is footage of historical importance for the content rather than the quality.

    Colour in the recent footage is good, but the older material is generally oversaturated and unrealistic, although this was to be expected considering the low-grade equipment used.

    The older footage has colour bleeding, some macro blocking, low level noise, chroma noise and all sorts of video artefacts. There are some analogue video tracking errors as well. The recent footage is blemish-free except for horizontal interference lines during the Nicky Chinn interviews, visible on the orange backdrop.

    No subtitles are provided on this single-layered disc.

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

Audio

    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1.

    I was expecting the audio on the music clips to have been replaced with the original studio recordings of the music, which is what is usually done for these vintage film clips. This does not seem to be the case, with the clips seeming to have the original audio. Several have audible crackling and popping, and there is some hiss, for example at the start of Fox on the Run. Otherwise, the audio is acceptable, but nowhere near the quality of the CDs I have of the same material.

    The 5.1 remix does not add much to the music in my opinion, and I was disappointed that there was no two-channel option available. The rear channels do not add a genuine surround feel, with the bulk of the music sounding like it was coming from the mains and centre channels. It also seems that when the music is heard beneath the interview material, it is remixed to be heard mainly from the centre channel, but when the speaking stops it seems to be spread across the centre channels, which is a little annoying.

    There are some low frequency effects present, but these seemed to be all directed to the main channels, and the subwoofer was very quiet throughout.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The intro to Block Buster is heard when viewing the static main menu.

Selected Discography

    Five pages listing the band's albums, including more recent compilations.

Biographies-Cast-Band Profiles

    Ten pages of biographical information, which gives Brian Connelly's year of birth as 1949, though it was in fact 1945. The documentary says he was 52 when he died, but he was only 51.

Trailer-Roxy Music-On The Road Live 1979, Eurythmics-Sweet Dreams (4:34)

    Two short clips of Roxy Music and The Eurythmics, from their DVDs released by Umbrella.

R4 vs R1

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

    This release appears to be the same as the Region 1 and Region 2 releases.

Summary

    A disappointing but still valuable record of the seminal glam band of the 1970s.

    Both the video and audio are poor when it comes to the original clips.

    The extras don't amount to much.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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