The Secret Policeman's Ball (Disc 1) (1981)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-What's Up Tiger Lily?, The Natural History Of The Chicken
Trailer-Malcolm, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
|Year Of Production||1981|
|Running Time||76:14 (Case: 75)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Roger Graef|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Being a big fan of English comedy, The Secret Policeman's Ball is a sort of Holy Grail type DVD. It is something I have always wanted to see because of its pride of place in the English comedy lexicon. It is the sort of combination of comedy performers which one does not see too often, including as it does classic performers such as John Cleese, Terry Jones & Michael Palin from Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, Peter Cook and Clive James. Having now seen this DVD, I realised that I have seen at least some of this material before, but many years ago. So then, the big question is - is it any good?
Frankly, the answer is...well it's OK, but you wouldn't get too excited. To my mind it is patchy and the best material is just recycled Monty Python skits anyway. Having said that there were some funny sketches, but mixed in with stuff that was either a little dated or just not funny. For those who are not aware, this is a live recording of a show which was held over 4 nights in June 1979 at Her Majesty's Theatre, London. The show was to benefit Amnesty International and their fight for human rights. John Cleese was initially approached by Amnesty after he made a donation and he agreed to get involved in putting together a show to raise money. He gave Amnesty the names and numbers of other comedians whom he thought would agree to get involved, and most of them did. This is actually the third such show, the first being staged in 1976.
The DVD contains the following sketches / songs:
If you like English comedy this is worth seeing but it is certainly patchy.
The video quality is poor.
The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio, although I have no evidence one way or the other.
The picture was reasonably blurry throughout, not helped by the grain and significant colour artefacts. There was no evidence of low level noise and the transfer has been done at a healthy bitrate. The shadow detail was virtually non-existent, although being a show on a brightly lit stage this is to be expected..
The colour was pretty average with lots of bleeding, chroma noise and colour issues probably caused by tape tracking problems. From 36:45 to 38:00 the colour comes and goes and at 17:25 there was a big flash of red. Even when the colour is OK it is dull and lifeless.
Film artefacts were plentiful including lots of white specks and blobs, jumps, hairs and reel change markers.
There are subtitles which provide details of the musical tracks but nothing else. These can be turned on and off.
The audio quality is decent but pretty flat.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, which is obviously the most important thing for a comedy show.
The music did not come over very well, sounding flat and lacking dynamics.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included an intro, motion and sound, and the ability to select scenes, or random play. The I icons allow for the music info subtitle track to be turned on if desired.
Five text pages which explain how the concert came about.
A short ad for Amnesty is available by selecting the Amnesty logo on the main menu.
Selecting the umbrella logo on the main page gives you access to trailers for other Umbrella product including The Natural History of the Chicken, Malcolm, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball & What's Up Tiger Lily.
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 2 as part of a box set of titles. It does not seem to be available separately or in Region 1. This disc is coded for all regions.
The video quality is poor.
The audio quality is decent but not more.
The disc has no real extras except a few text pages.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|