Robbie Robertson

Going Home

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Details At A Glance

Category Documentary Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 69:13 minutes Other Extras Biography
Menu Audio 
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Findlay Bunting
Starring Robbie Robertson
Martin Scorsese
Eric Clapton
Barry Levinson
Daniel Lanois 
RRP $34.95 Music Robbie Robertson
The Band

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    If you are a fan of The Band you will doubtless be aware of Robbie Robertson. He has been around for a long time, and has been making music since the 50s (funny, he doesn't look that old!). This disc presents a documentary produced by The Disney Channel , and apparently is an award winner. Whilst I cannot say it is that good, it is certainly well made and very interesting, even to those like me who know nothing of the man.

    It is essentially a sort of documentation of the life and times of Robbie, as spoken by himself, and with the help of some of the prominent friends he has made along his way - such as Martin Scorsese, Daniel Lanois, Eric Clapton and so on. Nice to see, also, such an eminent musician sound so down-to-earth, and not have a need to act "cool" or wear sunglasses or other silly things. I think that is why this is as interesting as it is, because he is without pretence and can openly and honestly relate many events in his life to the viewer.

    Whilst I cannot recommend this disc generally, anyone who is a fan of Robbie Robertson will surely find this a most worthwhile disc to own. Now myself, I am still waiting for any kind of documentary on Pink Floyd. Hello? Anyone?

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented full frame, 1.33:1. This disc is one of those "play anywhere" varieties, and as such is in NTSC, and naturally your display device needs to be able to process this signal lest you see strange patterns on your TV for 70 minutes...

    At its best, the transfer was ordinary, and was generally quite soft and without much definition, even in the very recent interviews. Not too bad, just not too good! Shadow detail was fine, though it would never be a problem given the always good lighting. There was low-level noise in many scenes, particularly old footage, but that is to be expected. Really, this disc does not showcase the potential DVD offers, and pales in comparison with other similar documentaries I have seen in the video department.

    Colours were reasonable, though slightly low-key. There were many instances of chroma-noise, and quite often the image looked composite-sourced, with tell-tale dot crawl. But, this was not always apparent, and I cannot say for sure whether the entire documentary is composite-based or just parts of it.

    There were no significant MPEG artefacts, and the only grossly observable manifestation was during the closing credits, with the titling producing the Gibb effect, typical of low bit-rate transfers. Film artefacts were rife throughout the entire running length, regardless of the vintage of the material, but was naturally worse during the older footage. There were no film-to-video artefacts to speak of.


    There is one soundtrack on this disc, being English Dolby Digital 2.0, and it is quite good.

    Dialogue was always very clear, and with no lip-sync problems.

    On the occasion where we get a music clip, or a part thereof, the sound is most impressive, being clean and open with good frequency use. I quite like the style of his later work as documented here, and found myself wishing that many of the clips would be the entire songs, and not just small parts. But, that may be by design, and might provoke a sale of his latest album!

    This soundtrack is stereo only, though running it through your pro-logic decoder will add some nice surround ambience to his music.

    The subwoofer was called upon for his music clips, but since this is a spoken-word documentary more than anything else, it didn't have much to do.



    The menu is themed, with some audio enhancement. What is unique with this disc is the audio enhancement in the "scene" selection, or index menus. These are text only, but moving the focus to each of the chapter stops plays a snippet of audio from that chapter! Very cool.


R4 vs R1

    This is a universal disc, the same for all regions.


    I found this to be an interesting look at a man whom I had only recently become aware of since reviewing The Band, and I remember thinking at the time that probably the most interesting person in that documentary was Robbie himself.

    The transfer is plain, but not problematic in any way - it's just not as good as it probably could be.

    The audio is quite good, and most of the songs come across very well.

    Clever use of menu audio and a short bio make up the extras on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Paul Cordingley (my bio)
13th April, 2000.
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A360 (S-Video output)
Display Pioneer Rear - Projection SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9
Audio Decoder d t s 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player internal decoder)
Amplification Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
Speakers Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive