Tony Bennett-Tony Bennett's New York (1996)

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Released 8-May-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 86:10 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Leslie Woodhead
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Tony Bennett
Reggie Nadelson
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Tony Bennett


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, closing titles over end of programme

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

Plot Synopsis

    Although this feature does open with the New York City skyline and Tony Bennett is shown on location at various spots around the city, the title should perhaps be renamed "Tony Bennett's Tony Bennett" as this is really a documentary about Tony Bennett plus huge excepts from a concert held at Caesar's in Atlantic City (hint: Atlantic City is not part of New York). In fact, the strongest connection to New York is probably because producer/writer/narrator Reggie Nadelson was "born and bred in New York" as she proudly proclaims at the beginning.

    Tony was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in 1926. We start off with Tony's early childhood in Astoria, Queens, and get to see the neighbourhood he grew up in as well as meet some of his former neighbours. We also get to see historical footage linking other events around his life such as the Depression, World War II, as well as visit his Manhattan apartment where he paints as a hobby. The documentary also covers contemporary performers such as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Charlie Parker, and even The Beatles.

    Interesting things about Tony that I never knew included his hobby as a painter, and his involvement in anti-racism activism (including participating in Martin Luther King's march along with other prominent musicians).

    The documentary is quite frank in exploring issues such as rumours about Tony's possible connections with the Mafia (after all, he is of Sicilian descent) and concluded that these rumours were without foundation. The documentary also talks about Tony's "bleak years" in the 1970s when he fell out of fashion as the world turned towards pop, rock and punk. The documentary makes a big deal of his renaissance as "Mr. Cool" and coming back in style again - including appearances with Kermit the Frog, and Red Hot Chili Peppers - all supposedly orchestrated by his new manager - his son Danny.

    People interviewed include:

    There is a special segment on Tony's signature song "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." The documentary concludes with Tony riding in a limo and arriving in Atlantic City for his concert (which of course we have seen huge segments of).

    Performers in the Caesars concert include the Ralph Sharon trio, consisting of:

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Track Listing

1. Just In Time
2. Stepping Out
3. Got Rhythm
4. All The World To Me
5. Can't Take That Away From Me
6. Bells Ring For Me
7. Because Of You
8. Rags To Riches
9. Foggy Day
10. Changes Made
11. For Once In My Life
12. San Francisco
13. I Wanna Be Around
14. Shakin' Blues
15. Stepping Out
16. Firefly
17. Old Devil Moon
18. The Best Is Yet To Come
19. I May Be Wrong
20. The Music Never Ends
21. Younger Than Spring

Transfer Quality

Video

    As this is a made-for-TV documentary, the transfer is presented full-frame in the intended aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    Given that the documentary is quite recent, I would have expected the transfer to be fairly good (apart from historical footage). Unfortunately, this is not the case, and we get a fairly soft transfer with somewhat smeary colours. At least colour saturation is reasonable though not striking and black levels for the concert segments seem decent.

    The historical footage of course is replete with artefacts including film marks, grain and some of the video-based sources have poor black levels.

    I suspect the soft transfer is due to a less than ideal video source rather than poor encoding as I did not notice any MPEG compression artefacts.

    There are no subtitle tracks on this single sided single layered disc.

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 disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s).

    The audio track is resolutely TV broadcast in terms of fidelity and quality, and lacks extreme high frequencies although I was somewhat surprised at how bassy some of the concert segments were.

    Most of the audio track appears to be in mono although I could detect some stereo separation in the concert segments.

    There did not seem to be any issues with audio synchronization and dialogue quality.

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

Extras

    There are no real extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is full frame and static, but has background audio. We do get scene selection, as well as the ability to watch only the concert segments (this is encoded as a separate DVD title), as well as a "random" play option (not sure why this would be useful). There is one still showing other Umbrella Entertainment DVD titles, and another providing DVD authoring credits (also displayed at the end of the feature).

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    A web review of the R1 edition gave good marks to the video transfer quality so I suspect we've been short-changed. This, plus the additional Dolby Digital 5.1 track, is making me recommend the R1 version of this title.

Summary

    Tony Bennett's New York is a documentary about the singer, his life and times and not really a travelogue about New York city. Video and audio quality are mediocre, and there are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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