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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
James Last-A World of Music (2002)

James Last-A World of Music (2002)

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Released 18-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Bonus Footage
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 97:25 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:27) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Stanley Dorfman

Warner Vision
Starring James Last
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Various

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, end titles over end of concert

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

Plot Synopsis

    A World of Music features the internationally beloved and well known bandleader James Last and his orchestra, recorded live on 14-15 May 2002 in Zwickau, Germany.

    Fans of James Last (who call him "Hansi") of course would need no introduction. For the rest of you, James Last has released literally hundreds of albums since his first one called "Non Stop Dancing" in 1965. Born in Bremen, Germany, James was classically trained but also played the bass in jazz bands. His real flair was arranging traditional, classical and popular songs and he became a bandleader with his own "orchestra" (in reality a motley collection of brass and string players augmented by other musicians) playing arrangements of a variety of musical material.

    Although the concert is recorded in Germany, it doesn't feel like it. James speaks exclusively in English no doubt for the television audience, and there is a strong contingent of English fans present in the audience who are not afraid of getting up in the middle of a song to form a Congo line, and brandishing their "duck umbrellas" complete with the Union Jack.

    There is a heavy emphasis on Abba songs in this concert, starting with Mamma Mia and progressing on to Fernando, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Dancing Queen and S.O.S. The rest of the songs are fairly pop-based although there is a smattering of traditional songs and a token Strauss waltz and jazz piece (Nature Boy).

    The name of each song is introduced at the beginning through burned in captions in the video stream. Not all the songs are instrumental - there are a few vocal songs performed by a number of (relatively unknown) singers, including Lean On Me and You'll Be In My Heart.

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Track Listing

1. Fanfare
2. Medley
3. Sunset At Flamingo Park
4. Mamma Mia
5. Rock Medley
6. Hero
7. Always On My Mind
8. Geschichten Aus Dem Wiener Wald
9. Der Mai Ist Gekommen
10. Fernando
11. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
12. Czardas (Monti)
13. Hip Hop Polka III
14. Dancing Queen
15. Nature Boy
16. Medley
17. S.O.S.
18. Reel Express
19. Orange Blossom Festival
20. Lean On Me
21. Hip Hop Polka I
22. Medley
23. You'll Be In My Heart

Transfer Quality


    This is a very pleasing widescreen 1.78:1 transfer, with 16x9 enhancement.

    The concert looks like it has been recorded directly onto digital video, and then subsequently enhanced.

    The overall look is one of high contrast with vivid, fully saturated colours. Detail levels are about consistent with video tape. Shadow detail is mediocre, due to contrast enhancement. Highlights tend to be slightly clipped from oversaturation, but this is typical for video camera CCDs.

    Video and compression artefacts are nearly non-existent, resulting in a near perfect transfer. If you look hard, you will notice very slight Gibb's effect ringing, plus minor macro-blocking in the backgrounds, but you will have to practically glue your eyes to the screen.

    There are no subtitles on this single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at 55:27, resulting in a pause just after Dancing Queen.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Surprisingly, we are treated with not only high bitrate Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) tracks, but (somewhat unusually) a full bitrate dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s) audio track.

     I mainly listened to the dts 5.1 audio track, but occasionally switched to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

    The dts audio track seems to contain a discrete 5.1 mix which is evident in decorrelated audience noises coming from all speakers. The surround mix is rather conventional with the orchestra coming from the front speakers and the rears reserved for ambience and audience clapping. Extreme high and low frequencies seem to have been attenuated, leaving a sound that lacks "body" and is reminiscent of a TV broadcast. The subwoofer track is only very lightly used for bass reinforcement.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very similar to the dts audio track in terms of sound quality and recorded level and it would be hard to distinguish between them. The dts track sounded slightly smoother and better at transients to my ears, but the differences were slight.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is recorded at a softer level compared to the 5.1 tracks (about 3dB lower in level). However, it sounded okay once I increased the volume.

     This concert is obviously meant for an English audience (despite being recorded in Germany), as James Last speaks exclusively in English (with a heavy German accent) between songs. I did not notice any issues with dialogue synchronization.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There is only one extra on the disc, but it is a fairly substantial featurette.


    All menus are full frame but include animation and background audio.

Menu Animation & Audio, Featurette-Bonus Footage (22:49)

    This is a featurette entitled "The Making of James Last: A World Of Music" and is presented at 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

    The featurette includes interview snippets with cast and crew, plus behind the scenes location footage. The various cast and crew provide a mini-biography of James Last as well as their feelings about being in the band and travelling on tour. A special section is devoted to the loyal English fans who are members of the James Last Appreciation Society who have travelled to Zwickau especially to see him.

    Interviews include:

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has not yet been released in Region 1.


    James Last - A World of Music features the well-known German bandleader and musical arranger James Last and his orchestra recorded live at a recent concert.

    The video transfer quality is superb and near reference level.

    The audio transfer quality is good and includes full bitrate Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 audio tracks.

    Extras are limited to a "making of" featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, December 15, 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 AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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