12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Landmark program marred here by shoddy DVD transfer,
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This review is from: Noel Coward Trilogy [DVD]  (DVD)
This excellent three-part documentary, first broadcast in 1998, is an extensive if rather episodic chronicle of the great man's life and achievements, with some of his plays and musicals either scantily covered or missed altogether. In some ways ITV's hour-long 1992 'Southbank Show' portrait of Coward managed to cover his talents with more breadth, and certainly accorded more credit to Coward's songwriting: let's not forget that he composed - words and music - many standards of the '20s, '30s, and '40s, as well as movie soundtracks, operetta, and a ballet score.
However, the real problem with this DVD release - and it is an outrageous one - is that the programs have almost certainly been copied from the NTSC masters made for the Region 1 release of a couple of years ago, rather than directly from the original masters in the PAL (Region 2) format. The resulting presentation is marred by inferior picture quality: the line definition is ragged (particularly noticeable with superimposed titles and captions), the colour balance is iffy. The fact that the programs include a lot of archive footage only exacerbates the substandard viewing experience. Indeed, I'd say that the picture quality of this DVD is actually inferior to my VHS copy that I recorded off-air when 'The Noel Coward Trilogy' was first transmitted 12 years ago. And when one considers the RRP of £12.99, then Warner Classics & Jazz's brazenness toward issuing a substandard product comes close to fraud.
Maybe WC&J thought that no-one would notice the degraded picture quality; if so, it was wrong. This aside, 'The Noel Coward Trilogy' is a real must for his admirers.