Frank Sinatra-Sinatra (featuring Don Costa and his Orchestra) (1969)

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Released 17-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Discography-DVD Catalogue
Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 51:40 (Case: 50)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Tim Kiley
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Frank Sinatra
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Don Costa


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 mono (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Spanish
Italian
Smoking Yes, Frank does as he pleases.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, credits roll over last track.

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

Plot Synopsis

    Frank Sinatra needs no introduction. Since the 1940s he has been consistently one of the biggest selling and most critically acclaimed recording and performing stars in popular music; an Academy Award winning actor and movie star; and a 20th Century cultural icon. Sinatra's life and work speak for itself.

    This DVD features Sinatra performing with Don Costa's orchestra. Costa worked with Sinatra from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. Although Costa was not as talented as some of Sinatra's other arranger/conductors such as Nelson Riddle or Quincy Jones, he did provide Sinatra with some very commercial and lush arrangements, which later earned Costa the nickname 'the Puccini of Pop'.

    Warner Vision are releasing a series of ten Sinatra DVDs. Each captures a different Sinatra performance over the many years. This edition features Sinatra performing in a made-for-television special which was recorded in November 1969. Sinatra effortlessly croons through some of his classics, along with some less familiar numbers.

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Track Listing

1. For once In My Life
2. Please Be Kind
3. My Way Film Clip Medley inc...
4. I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night
5. You're Sensational
6. All The Way
7. The Tender Trap
8. Little Green Apples
9. Out Beyond The Window
10. A Man Alone
11. Didn't We?
12. Forget To Remember
13. Fly Me To The Moon
14. Street Of Dreams
15. Love's Been Good To Me
16. Goin' Out Of My Head
17. My Kind Of Town

Transfer Quality

Video

    Any transfer is limited by the source material. The source material here is fairly representative of late 1960s American television, and for its age, it is in quite reasonable condition.   

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame, non-16x9 enhanced.    

    While the image is generally sharp, it does become blurry or soft on occasion, for example at 7:50 and 37:55. There is not much shadow detail throughout, and there is some low level noise on occasion, such as at 21:12.   

    The colour is reasonable, and shows off the late 1960s fashion and art direction very well. Surprisingly, there is no colour bleeding and no cross-colouration. Some outlines do smear or ghost occasionally, for example at 31:35 and 48:42, but I am convinced that this is in the source material.

    There are a few MPEG artefacts present, but at times it is hard to separate them from problems with the source material. At times the transfer displays slight pixelization, for example at 10:51 and 47:35. Close-ups of Frank's face often display slight posterization, such as at 9:19. There is also some macro-blocking in the background, for example at 12:20.

    There were no film to video or film artefacts during the 'main feature', but there are a few clips of some of Frank's early black and white films presented during Frank's performance. These clips display just about every film artefact known to mankind, often in interesting combinations. It should be borne in mind that these clips are presented for comedic purposes only, and the film artefacts are perfectly in keeping with the clips' intent.

    All the subtitles promised on the packaging were present. While the non-English subtitles would only appear during the spoken passages, the English subtitles would also display the song lyrics during Frank's performance. The English subtitles were accurate.

    This is a single-layered disc which is acceptable considering the length of the material.

    The direction of the DVD's content is stylistically in keeping with late 1960s American variety television. Picture some of the clips from the Ed Sullivan Show from the late 1960s, and you will have a pretty good idea of the style of presentation. There are your standard head and shoulder shots of Frank, long shots of Frank, and the occasional 'concept' performance, where Frank sings intimately in character, with a few simple props and a background set. These moments are quite effective - as Clive James once remarked, Frank is the voice of lonely, wistful men everywhere. Overall, the original camera work is very good, although there was camera shake at 22:40 and dirt on one of the cameras at 8:35. Inexplicably, one of the end credits is very badly tilted to one side and cropped on the right-hand side at 50.38. Also, one annoying feature of this DVD is that the last track fades out and ends rather abruptly, but again this can be blamed on the source material.

    Notorious for only giving only one take, as a performer Frank does as he pleases, and during his performance he happily turns his back to the audience, he coughs his way through Little Green Apples, and then during Didn't We he casually lights up a cigarette and smokes. I would have loved to have seen a young Frank on Pot of Gold. I recall the fabulously b****y Bernard King tearing strips off a young lady for scratching her nose during a song.

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

Audio

    The quality of the audio is much better than the quality of the video, which is fortunate considering that this is a music DVD. I would much rather hear Frank sing than see him sing.

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, an English PCM track adapted from the original mono source. Fortunately there is none of the heavy background hiss often apparent in mono tracks of this vintage. But sadly, there is also none of the full, rich sound available on some other recordings.

    The dialogue quality is very good. Frank's lyrics, as always, are crystal clear, and his unique phrasing sits well in the audio mix. Apart from singing, there is also quite a bit of Frank's banter in between tracks, which usually involves his self-deprecating humour.

    The audio sync is excellent.

    In regards to the music, some of the great songwriters are on display here. Frank took a number of their tunes, such as My Way, The Tender Trap and Fly Me to the Moon and really made them his own. Frank often pays tribute during his performance to some of great songwriters such as Sammy Cahn. As I commented earlier, I am not a big fan of Costa's arrangements. His painfully weak arrangement of All the Way is lacking the sweeping, romantic strings required, and his arrangement of Fly Me to the Moon lacks the swing and punch of Quincy Jones' arrangement, which can be enjoyed on the marvellous CD Sinatra at the Sands with Count Basie and the Orchestra (1966).

    As a PCM track, the surround speakers and subwoofer are not called upon during this DVD.

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

Extras

    This DVD contains few extras.

Menu

    The DVD auto-plays on loading, but there is a menu if you select it. It is static and without audio.

Trailer

    This four minute and nineteen second trailer is presented in as aspect ration of 1.33:1, full frame, non-16x9 enhanced with an English PCM track. It advertises the series of ten Sinatra DVDs that Warner Vision are releasing, as opposed to this DVD in particular. I assume that this trailer appears on all ten DVDs.

Catalogue

    Purely text-based, this extra lists the tracks on Warner Vision's ten Sinatra DVDs. Again I assume that this extra appears on all ten DVDs.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this DVD was released in September 1999, entitled Frank Sinatra -- Sinatra. It only differs from the Region 4 version in title and in the design of the slick. Therefore, I easily favour our version based on its availability, and most importantly, its superior PAL image.

Summary

    If you, like me, are a Sinatra fan robbed of the opportunity of seeing 'Ole Blue Eyes live, then DVDs like this one will have to suffice until a whiz bang form of virtual reality is developed, beaming the Chairman of the Board with Count Basie's Orchestra into your living room. While this is not Sinatra's best performance by far, this is Sinatra performing with a big band, and as such, there are  moments, albeit brief moments, during this DVD where the hair on the back of your neck will rise, and you will be reminded why Sinatra is 'The Voice'.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Monday, January 07, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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