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Working [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Studs Terkel , Barry Bostwick , Kirk Browning , Stephen Schwartz    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 8.91
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

Product details

  • Actors: Studs Terkel, Barry Bostwick, Scatman Crothers, Barbara Browning, Vernee Watson-Johnson
  • Directors: Kirk Browning, Stephen Schwartz
  • Writers: Studs Terkel, Stephen Schwartz, Nina Faso
  • Producers: Jac Venza, Lindsay Law, Phylis Geller
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Jan 2002
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00005TNFF
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,642 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Musical, shame about the recording 27 Jan 2009
This is a PSB-funded TV version of a stage musical which manages to capture most of the feeling of the original (I would guess). Having owned the LP and then CD for many years, I have long been a fan of the score, which is a songbook organised by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked and a number of Disney movies), who contributes two of the best songs; other contributors are James Taylor, Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard), and Craig Carnelia, the other writing "star".

What I never realised from the score was just how angry this show is. It's a very simple structure, just a series of people talking or singing to camera/audience about their work and what it means to them. Some skive, some love what they do, some are bored, some are being killed by it. At one point a character says, "Jobs are too small for people", and the underlying theme is the need for people to find meaning in what they do, the wish to be remembered, to do something worthwhile. And the anger comes from the realisation of how little jobs enable them to do that. Which is not to say that the characters are angry, few of them are, but the authors are, and you will be too. You'll also be moved to tears in places, and exhilarated by the musical performances.

The 1982 transfer to television brings a host of star names - Rita Moreno, Barbara Hershey, Barry Bostwick, Scatman Crothers, Charles Durning, most of whom do more than justice to the material. The major downside of the DVD is that about 2/3rds of the way through the music soundtrack (though not the vocals) develops a serious fast/slow lurch as if taken from a warped LP. A serious re-mastering is needed, and now Schwartz has hit the jackpot with "Wicked", hopefully someone will think the money well-spent to restore this little gem.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey Somebody, Don't You Want To Hear... 16 Oct 2002
By Templeton C. Moss - Published on
The story of my life? So begins one of the most underratd musicals ever. With a simple message, "Everyone has a story." This is a TV adaptation of a musical based on a book by Sociologist and pundit Studs Terkel available by the grace of God for the first time on DVD. I knew the play from high school and was anxious to see it on film. It's a fairly reliable adaptation of the play, except that it omits two very fine songs and is kind of simply set up (it was PBS after all).
For those unfamiliar with the book or the musical, Working is based on a series of interviews Terkel performed with people from all walks of life. The book was subtitled "People Talking About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do." Composer and Lyricist Stephen Schwartz (with help from the likes of James Taylor and Craig Carnelia) adapted the interviews (which were verbatim from these peoples' mouths) into a musical.
Now let me adress a common concern right here. "I don't like musicals." Something like that is simply impossible to say. It's like saying "I don't like soup." You can't. There are too many different kinds of musicals (indeed soups) to say that you hate them all. Do you hate bright and sunny musicals like "Meet Me in St. Louis" or lavish dance numbers like "42nd Street" or quasi-historic grandeur like "Camelot?" In Working the musical performances are limited to singing at the camera, or singing off camera.
And the singing is performed by some wonderful people. "Rocky Horror's" Barry Bostwick as the Steelworker, Scatman Crothers as a Parking Lot Attendant called "Lovin' Al: The Wizard," "West Side Story's" Rita Moreno as a Waitress who feels like an artist, Charles Durning as a retiree, Patti LaBelle as a Cleaning Woman and James Taylor (mentioned above) as a Trucker. Highlights include Bostwick's stirring ballad "Fathers and Sons" Moreno's "It's an Art" and the highly affecting "Me and My Machine" performed by an unseen vocalist during the Millworker scene.
People who do these jobs, might be inspired by these completely true stories. And people who interact with these people might be inspired as well. Inspired to spend a few brain cells thinking about the guy who put his car together, talking to the telephone operator who's been having a hard day, showing respect for the cleaning woman, you even see hookers in a new light.
"Hey somebody, don't you want to hear the story of my life?"
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Okay,'re missing the point.............. 23 Jun 2002
By Sean - Published on
First off, the reason that they are all "staring at the camera" is because this is filmed in a documentary style. As if all of the people are being interviewed about their lives and jobs.
Great performances by an all-star cast. Eileen Brennan ("Clue," "Murder by Death") gives a WONDERFUL performance, but unfortunately does not sing her character's "Millwork" song herself. Patti LaBelle sings the [...] out of her "Cleaning Women" song, but does not seem all that emotionally involved in the proceedings. Barry Bostwick gives a touching and brilliant performance, delivering a heart-wrending rendition of "Fathers and Sons." Rita Moreno stops the show, and other wonderful performances given by all.
The sets are rather like "Sesame Street for adults," but I personally find it to be very affective and theatrical. Semi-realism with some flat, 2-dimensional pieces thrown in there for you to remember that this is--after all--a theatrical piece (despite all of the realism in the documentary-style acting and film-making).
All in all, this is a BEAUTIFUL piece. A show about REAL human beings, telling their lives and stories in a non-linear way. Few musicals about real people are out there (only Sondheim's and Kander & Ebb's pieces, as well as I DO! I DO!, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and RAGTIME come to mind), but those that are are very affective and are truely quite moving.
However, my one MAJOR let down: Craig Carneila's beautiful song "The Mason" is not in this film.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Edler - Published on
This video is an American Playhouse production first presented on PBS in the early eighties. It was adapted from the 1978 Broadway musical, which in turn was adapted from Studs Turkel's book of interviews with the American worker. I actually saw the original stage production while it was in previews on Broadway -- a Saturday afternoon matinee. My seat was in the balcony almost at the end of the row on the right side. A couple of empty seats away there was a gentleman wearing a wrinkled trench coat; halfway through the show I finally realized he was actually Studs Turkel. I worked up the nerve to ask him to sign my program, and was waiting for a break in the action to ask him to do so. Unfortunately, he used that break to get up and go backstage. Never did get his autograph
Stephen Schwartz adapted his original Broadway script for this video production and added Studs Turkel as a narrator. The premise of the show is simple -- it's about real people telling Mr. Turkel and us what they do for a living and what they like or dislike about their work. Their stories are told here both in words and songs. And since the songs were created by six very talented people the music and lyrics cover a wide variety of styles while developing and explaining each the character singing them. That's a lesson most of today's new Broadway composers could learn.
While the original Broadway production used a very creative unit set with the characters and their career props moving on and off stage; the video opts for more realistic job sites and locations for each character. This is an acceptible alternative, but not nearly as creative or exciting.
But then this is a show about people, and that is where it stands out! The entire cast is outstanding and it would be unfair to single out just one performance. Just look at the cast list and remember they were at the peak of their careers when this show was recorded. Expect the best, because that is what you'll get -- Broadway at its best!
One final note, I was a young man in the prime of my working career when I first saw this show. Today I am an early retiree. This time around I can emotionally relate and identify with the story of JOE.
Order this video now, it will be worth the wait to get it!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy This Right NOW! 3 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
Wow, this movie has it all! Patti Labelle, James Taylor, Rita Moreno, Barbara Barrie, Barry Bostwick and many more familiar faces appear in this wonderful 1982 musical which aired on PBS. With Book by Studs Terkel and Music by a list of artists including James Taylor (Millwork) you can't go wrong with a story about the working persons struggle through everyday hardships. In this filmed musical, Studs Terkel acts as a narrator who interviews people with different jobs, a construction worker, paper boy, housewife, hooker, secretary, boss, etc. This movie is for anyone who has ever punched a time clock, a co-worker, or a cow...or anyone who would like to. The section with Patti Labelle singing about cleaning ladies is worth the $ alone. Just to mention a great add on to this is the "Working" soundtrack available on CD here, it's not the same production but its worth it. The company who released this video, Broadway Theatre Archives has a list of other PBS plays and musicals, also try the video of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the rainbow was enuf."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great stuff 29 Nov 2004
By marknyc - Published on
This production moved me when it first aired, and I was not disappointed when I bought the DVD. I remember thinking back in 1982 that some performances/songs were fantastic, others less so. This holds true today: Eileen Brennan is heart-wrenching as the millworker, as is her song; Rita Moreno is perfection as the waitress, with another great song; Beth Howland may not have been the perfect choice for the housewife, but the song is so good it doesn't matter; and who can resist Edie McClurg as the hotel switchboard operator?

Overall, this production has much to commend it - the closing number chokes me up every time I see it. It may not be perfect, but let's be glad it was done!
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