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Rutles Anthology [Blu-ray] [US Import]


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews
84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Keep Your Old Rhino DVD 7 Dec. 2013
By Richard Firestone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Hang on to your old Rhino DVD of "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash". The new Blu-Ray version is a major disappointment.

The first problem I noticed is that the whole thing has been re-cropped for wide screen, This is typical, and not surprising, but it seems that for some scenes, they couldn't properly crop the top and bottom, so instead, they added an artificial border at the sides, consisting of a blurry image of the right and left edges of the frame to fill out the sides of the screen. Looks awful and distracting.

Next up, the print they used looks bad. It's the cut of the film used for the DVD, which is supposed to be an early edit with a few extended scenes, and a few scenes shuffled around in different order than the broadcast version. Unfortunately, some of the transitions are pretty rough, and if this is an "early" rough cut, then why do I still hear a note or two of music from the start of the scene where the cut was made when the sequencing was moved? Obviously, no clean up work was done on the movie. The "Yellow Submarine Sandwich" sequence looks awful. Like a dull, dirty syndication TV print of "Yellow Submarine" from the 70's.

The soundtrack is another matter. The original audio track was full of alternate mono mixes with different vocals and instruments. Those are mostly gone, with the stereo versions from the LP and Rhino's later CD overdubbed on to the soundtrack. During the whole "Barry Wom's Wedding" sequence, you can hear that they couldn't quite get "Living In Hope" properly synced up with the original soundtrack, resulting in a slight double track sound.

The dialogue has been altered in a few places. A couple of jokes have new "British" punch lines dubbed over the more familiar versions. Dick Jaws now "knows a thing or two about inner legs..." rather than "inseams" thanks to some rather obvious Foley work. The dubbing sounds like it was done by the original actor, so I'm not sure if this was done in 1978 for the British broadcast of the film, or was done recently. Similarly, The Rutles' plane now lands in Wales instead of Cleveland. The worst Lucas-like revision has the narration to the "Pathetique News" newsreel segment completely re-recorded, throwing out the original actor's reading for a new word for word re-creation by Eric Idle. No idea why Idle felt the need to do this.

The original Rhino DVD had some pretty good extras, none of which are ported over to the blu-ray. No Jagger and Simon outtakes, and Idle's film length commentary track is missing. Instead, we get a new interview with Idle, listed as a new commentary track, that ends about half-way through the film. The interviewer frustratingly talks about things said in the original DVD's commentary track, which we can not go back and listen to on the new DVD. Idle's comments about some other people's contributions to the film, particularly those of Neil Innes, also leave a bad taste.

The original "Saturday Night Live" sketch featuring the early Rutles appearance is probably the only worthwhile extra on the whole program.

More weirdness: The so-called sequel, "Can't Buy Me Lunch" is NOT on the blu-ray disc, though from the advance word, you'd expect it to be there. Instead, it is presented on a second standard DVD disc, which also duplicates the contents of the blu-ray disc as well. I'm imagining that Idle didn't shoot the sequel in High Def, and it's no big loss not having this lackluster follow-up on blu-ray, but it's ridiculous to buy a blu-ray with only half the contents of the bonus DVD on it. A real head scratcher.

A real missed opportunity. Unless you really want this film on blu-ray, which I did, there's no need to upgrade from the Rhino DVD..
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you don't get rid of your Rhino DVD! 7 Dec. 2013
By RKT66 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
All You Need Is Cash is one of my favorite films of all time. I will always give the film itself 5 stars. Eric's script combined with Neil's fantastic songs, the fine direction and superb acting of the cast created something very special. My review is for this particular release on Blu-ray, and not the film itself.

Unfortunately, I do agree with Richard Firestone's review on many points.

This new release is similar to the version that was released on the Rhino DVD, which is pretty much how the film was originally shown on television in the USA, except that the Blue Suede Schubert bit was also a part of the film and not just a short bonus feature (I have some original U-Matic video tapes that were used to broadcast the film back in March 1978). The pre-Rhino releases on home video featured a shorter edit of the film, which I thought in some cases made for better comedic timing in a few of the scenes.

For a number of reasons, you will definitely want to keep your Rhino DVD or obtain one, assuming it remains in print.

Just in terms of content, the bonus features and Easter eggs on the Rhino release (including Eric Idle commentary, Blue Suede Schubert, extended interviews with Jagger and Simon, Eric Idle's memoir) are not included with this new release apart from the alternate US version of the Brian Thigh scene. The bonus features that came with the original Can't Buy Me Lunch release also are not included here.

In order to make it widescreen, the image has been cropped for most of the film. So, some of Gary Weis's fine work to frame the scenes in the film is lost and you frequently lose the tops of the actors' heads or don't get to see the full graphics for the album covers and books (eg, Nasty's "Out Of Me Head"). But one moment in the film that I really like is completely lost -- in Ouch! when the girl is dancing around Barry's/John's drum kit, Dirk/Eric starts laughing and tries to hide it behind a tree. It is just a moment that reflects the sheer fun they were having making this film. You can't see it at all on the Blu-ray.

There are several segments (Hold My Hand and Pathetique News for example) where too much of the image would have been lost to get away with cropping, so they show pretty much the entire image with bars on either side of the screen (but not black bars, which would have maybe been less distracting).

In some cases the picture quality is improved, but as with most Blu-ray releases I was expecting to see a more remarkable improvement. There are some scenes where I don't see much improvement and others that look more out of focus than I remember (outside the Rat Keller, for example). And some of the black and white film scenes, which are presented in true black and white on the Rhino DVD, have some color to them on the Blu-ray. The only time I found this distracting, though, was in the I Must Be In Love sequence, which has varying degrees of green (particularly noticeable in the last verse when the band are peering out from behind the tree). Looks much better on the Rhino DVD.

But note that this is not one of those restoration jobs that involved going through every frame and cleaning up all of the dirt and scratches. I don't think I'd particularly want that anyway, because some of that imperfection is part of the charm of the film. It makes it seem more like an authentic documentary.

I was nonplussed by the 5.1 soundtrack. We have a very nice 5.1 home theater system, and even when I cranked up the rear speakers as loud as they could possibly go, there was not much there to hear. This is the only Blu-ray I've had this problem with, so I cannot explain it. And it does not appear that they went back to the multi-track master tapes to make new surround mixes of the songs.

Some differences I noted that were not mentioned by Richard Firestone:
* There is an edit in the dialogue where the interviewer is introducing the interview with Paul Simon. For some reason, the dialogue was changed from "...I actually spoke with the actual Paul Simon" to "...I actually spoke with Paul Simon."
* Bill Murray the K is in color rather than black and white
* The music for Let's Be Natural continues on throughout the Pretentious Gallery scene with Nasty and Chastity up until the shower scene. It normally stops once the scene with Dirk and Martini ends.
* most of the captions are re-done in a different font (nitpicking, I know)

Most of the things that I noticed will not really matter to the casual fan, which is why it give a three-star rating (not bad but not great). I put this review out here mainly for fellow Rutlemaniacs. I'll be keeping this Blu-ray, but I will most likely continue to watch my Rhino DVD due to the cropping of the image and the miscellaneous changes to the dialogue/soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maximum stupidity 16 Dec. 2013
By P. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Here's how to release a blu-ray version of a very popular and decades old tv film.

1. Take the original film negative or print, clean it, fix any age problems, scan at 4K plus and release.
2. Errr. That's it.

What you should not do is alter the aspect ratio of the film, re-record dialogue or edit the very familiar and well loved content.

Can you guess what has happened in this case?
Infuriating Mr Idle, INFURIATING!

Don't waste your time with this release. It's cropped and ruined. Get the dvd and see the real unbutchered film.
I imported this to the UK at some expense so I'm very annoyed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Blu-ray 16 Feb. 2014
By Real Music-Not Rap - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Blu-ray is a mediocre "improvement" over the previous DVD, and as others have mentioned, if you have already purchased the DVD you may want to hold onto it. First of all, based on principle alone, the cropping is unwarranted and should have been left alone at its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. If it wasn't filmed in widescreen why crop it to appear in widescreen? Stupid idea, to say the least. However lamebrain an idea it is, the cropping actually doesn't get in the way too much, in the sense that most of the time you can still see the faces in close-up scenes, although the tops of heads may be cut off. Whether this a deal-breaker depends on you the viewer; it bothers me but I can live with it. There are also some edits and additions that I don't remember from the original DVD, so don't expect an exact hi-def copy from the original.

The picture quality is a slight improvement over the DVD. It still appears grainy and obviously is not a showcase Blu-ray, so don't show this one if you are trying to impress your friends who aren't converts to Blu-ray yet.

The 5.1 surround sound is a joke. Forward sound is muted, and the sound coming from the rear speakers is barely discernible.

One annoying thing throughout the film is Eric Idle's so-called bass playing, or his lame attempt at it. Didn't he even get a coach to at least show him how to hold the bass guitar, and how to fake a few licks? The other three actors in the band were actual musicians, or had musical experience, and it shows. Eric Idle, however, is the lone non-musician, and it shows badly. He's pathetic, and even his mouth contortions when he sings, is annoying. Having said that, Eric Idle also plays the role of the journalist/narrator/host (I can't think of the right word for it) and he does a fine job telling the so-called story of the Rutles. Some of the dialogue seems dated or un-funny, but I still managed to get a few chuckles out of it.

The music is first-rate. Although it's a parody, some of the songs are actually great and could stand on their own, although I might be a bit embarrassed if I played these at work and someone asked me who the artist was, and I told them it was a non-existent, parodic band. A few of the songs are spot-on, and border on genius ("Ouch!", "Doubleback Alley", "Get Up and Go"). Other favorites of mine are "With a Girl Like You" and "I Must Be in Love".

If you are undecided as to whether you should get this Blu-ray I would give an ever-so-slight nod to buying it, but don't expect a mind-blowing visual and audio upgrade on Blu-ray, because you're not going to find it on this one. It's more for "completists", I suppose.
18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOTH brilliant Beatles parody shows - remastered with 5.1 sound - NEW Eric Idle Commentary! 27 Nov. 2013
By Steve Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
While I think the film spoofs created by Christopher Guest, including Rob Reiner's "The is Spinal Tap" are clever, my favorite rock parody has always been "The Rutles - All You Need is Cash" written by, directed and starring Eric Idle (the Monty Python member also responsible for Broadway's "Spamalot). Neil Innes (from Bonzo Dog Band) wrote the 12 songs for the 72 minute show (with commercials it was a 90-minute TV special on NBC in 1978) which parodied the rise - and dissolution of The Beatles.

I've watched my DVD of AYNIC many times but that DVD will find a new home with the arrival of this new BD/DVD combo from VSC. Here's why:
The package comes with 2 discs. The first contains a newly restored copy of the film - now in wide screen with 5.1 Surround sound - with an optional commentary (More on that in a minute). The Second disc is a DVD (playable in all DVD players) with the film PLUS the "sequel" from 2002 titled ""Can't Buy Me Lunch" (running time is 56 minutes). This is presented in non-wide screen standard format and though it is note listed as remastered, the image and sound are fine. For the sequel, Idle took footage from the original show and tied them together with new narration with him as the "host". Idle is also one of the Rutles (as is Innes and Beach Boy Ricky Fataar and John Halsey. New interviews with celebrities are included and they are hilarious. They include (in no special order) Graham Nash, Steve Martin, Bonnie Raitt, Jewel, Mike Nichols, Tom Hanks, Conan O'Brien and author Salman Rushdie (really!). The satire is spot on! The sequel doesn't have the full music numbers from the original but the interviews are hilarious. (and don't turn off your player after the credits; there more funny stuff there!

Also on the DVD disc is the original 4-minute segment called "Rutland Weekend Television" that aired on SNL and led to the full film. (RWT was originally a 13 episode show on the BBC, created by Idle -before he conceived of a full show parody of the Beatles. And finally BOTH the BD and the DVD have a NEW interview with Idle (recorded in 2013) by VSC President Jonathan Gross. It runs along the showing of AYNIC but the conversation is not keyed to what is being shown on the screen - so you can listen, without watching, and not miss anything. Also, it only runs for 45 minutes (while the film runs the aforementioned 73 minutes. Rutles fans as well as Monty Python fans will learn a lot from the conversation. Periodically Gross mentions that Idle had made comments on the soundtrack but I don't know what he is referring to. (I don't remember Idle doing a commentary for earlier releases - though I could be wrong).

I guess I'm assuming by now that those reading the review are familiar with the show and even the Rutles album with the 12 songs. If you aren't and are a Beatles fan, all I can do is urge you to get this. You will love it. If you were to take some of the Rutles songs and make a "mix-tape" CD (is that an oxymoron?) with some original Beatles tracks - most folks wouldn't notice the difference. In fact Beatles tribute band include Rutles songs in their shows!

I don't know what else VSC has in the pipeline but, if they are anything like this package, I can hardly wait! (Hmm. Maybe they can get some of the Rutland Weekend Report shows that Idle mentions.) In the meantime I can't recommend this highly enough.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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