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Leonard Cohen - Under Review 1934-1977 [DVD] [2007]

3.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Sexy Intellectual
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Mar. 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRA85S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,901 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The man s an enigma wrapped in a mystery; his music, an acquired taste that appeals universally and his life one of great art, astonishing experience, and myriad circumstance. Leonard Cohen was never going to be the man on the street. Leonard Cohen Under Review 1934 -1977 is a 90-minute documentary film which reviews the poetry, music, performances, and career of one of contemporary America s greatest artists. Features include musical Performances of Leonard Cohen reviewed by our team of esteemed experts, obscure footage, rare interviews, and scarcely seen photographs of and with Leonard.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As the title indicates, this DVD covers Leonard Cohen's life from his birth in 1934 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to 1977 when he recorded the album with Phil Spector, "Death of a Ladies' Man." It is also labeled "an independent critical analysis" and Cohen's biographer Ira Nadel's critique is included, along with that of John Simon who produced Cohen's first album, other Cohen producers, a couple of his friends/colleagues from the period in question, "Rolling Stone" magazine's editor at the time, and an assortment of other talking heads. For the most part, Cohen has nothing to worry about as practically everyone praises this man, his novels, his poems and his music. Nadel's commentary was most helpful. He describes Cohen as an artist who engages rather than entertains the listener. Ronee Blakley's comments-- she sang backup on "Death of a Ladies's Man"--were beautifully spoken and rang with sincerity. The different speakers discuss Cohen's early books of poetry, his two novels but concentrate for the most part on his singing career and the albums he released from 1967 through 1977. There is a difference of opinion by this folks as to which one is his best one. Although more critics vote for his first released in 1967, "Songs of Leonard Cohen," "Songs of Love and Hate" gets high marks as well.

There is a lot of new information on this DVD for those of us who are besotted with Leonard Cohen, although I must be the only fan alive who didn't know who the woman in the Chelsea Hotel was; so now I know, not that it matters. By far the best part of this production is the actual footage of Cohen when he is interviewed ("everyone lives the life of the heart") and/or the snatches of his or Judy Collins' singing. We can all be thankful that she introduced Cohen's work to the U. S.
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Leonard Cohen. Where to start? The man deserves a quality, insightful documentary about his writing, poetry and music, and this film is about as far away from this as you could get.

The "documentary" consists of unknown journalists and studio types who vaguely knew or had some tenuous connection to Cohen at different stages of his career, and so the interviews generate precious little in the way of interest or insight. As for the music - it is clear that the company who made this farcical documentary could not afford or did not want to pay the money to licence his music, so we get no more than perhaps eight bars of perhaps eight songs in total (i.e. all you'll hear is the first two lines of "Suzanne", before we cut to another boring interviewer explaining how he mopped the floors in the corridor above the recording studio and how this gives him an insight into Leonard Cohen's work.)

A special mention must be given to the abysmal direction, which would not be out of place on a regional news programme. Each album cover is brought up by the kind of graphics last seen in the early 1980s, and just when you think things can't get any worse, they do. When in Suzanne we hear Cohen sing "you can watch the boats go by," the documentary cuts to an image of - some boats going by. At this point, I almost demolished my television set.

If you are a fan of Leonard Cohen, boycott this film and demand that a decent documentary be made. Unless the production crew were media studies students and this is in fact a piece of "A" Level coursework, anyone involved in this should be ashamed of themselves.
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Format: DVD
As the title indicates, this DVD covers Leonard Cohen's life from his birth in 1934 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to 1977 when he recorded the album with Phil Spector, "Death of a Ladies' Man." It is also labeled "an independent critical analysis" and we are further told that the film was not authorized by Cohen. No surprise there however. Cohen's biographer Ira Nadel's critique is included, along with that of John Simon who produced Cohen's first album, other producers, "Rolling Stone" magazine journos, and an assortment of other talking heads. For the most part, Cohen has nothing to worry about as practically everyone praises this man, his novels, his poems and his music. Nadel's commentary was most helpful. He describes Cohen as an artist who engages rather than entertains the listener. Ronee Blakley's comments-- she sang backup on "Death of a Ladies's Man"--were beautifully spoken and rang with sincerity. The different speakers discuss Cohen's early books of poetry, his two novels but concentrate for the most part on his singing career and the albums he released through 1977. There is a difference of opinion by this folks as to which one is his best one. Although more critics vote for his first released in 1967, "Songs of Leonard Cohen," "Songs of Love and Hate" gets high marks as well.

There is a fair bit of new information on this DVD for those of us who are besotted with the man. Although I must be the only fan alive who didn't know who the woman in the Chelsea Hotel was; so now I know. By far the best part of this production is the actual performance and interview footage of Cohen - which is liberal. When he is interviewed ("everyone lives the life of the heart") and/or the live concert archive of him [as well as Judy Collins] singing.
Read more ›
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