It is very difficult to gauge this latest release of Bee Gees history. Probably 2/3 or more has been seen or heard before. All the clips of the late Maurice Gibb are deftly placed at the appropriate spots, and Barry and Robin have plenty of space to share their feelings. The DVD begins with a good amount of history of the early years in Australia and how they became famous in England. The DVD is full of new and old musical clips from shows and concerts that add resonance and feeling to the progress of this renowned group of brothers. However, it seems less than complete.
More than most of the concert footage, whether new or old is fuzzy or out-of-focus. Even the more recent concerts (in the last fifteen years) seem old. Maurice's clips are fair quality while Barry and Robin are crystal clear. The time difference is obvious. The story-line of First Fame in the sixties to the doldrums of the early seventies is portrayed. The excess and success of the later seventies is also fairly discussed in equal time, but nothing is truly new. The eighties are glossed over with very little of the brothers individuals works being mentioned other than what they produced for other artists. There is some new and fascinating stories about `You Win Again" from Maurice and the nineties being a new period, accompanied by some new rare clips on television concert appearances. Still, something is missing. The sound mixing can be chosen in DTS Digital Surround Sound, Dolby Surround 5.1 or Dolby Stereo. However, the two surround choices are uneven. Some clips are clearer than others while many are dulled or inadequate for true surround experience. In most cases the only difference is the lack of vocals in the rear speakers, even with the concert clips.
The other DVD's covering their history, such as This Is Where I Came In - The Official Story of the Bee Gees and Bee Gees - One Night Only / The Official Story are almost better in quality and excitement with many artist contributing their opinions and inspirational learning's. The only true new information is when the modern Barry and Robin appear to discuss their family's history. This is one of the first times that one gets a real sense of acceptance and personal growth. The discussion of Andy's passing is heartfelt and the loss of Maurice is heartbreaking. Closing the show, Barry and Robin join for a closed session of, "To Love Somebody" and "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", two of the most appropriates songs for this show. The final conversation between Barry and Robin is a real eye-opener. Robin unabashedly praises Barry for his achievements and expresses his honor in being his brother. Barry responds as a real gentleman. The viewer gets the feeling that maybe, finally something new will happen. But then again, this show seems like another chapter not yet quite finished. It satisfies the viewer and makes one wonder, what can possibly be next?
on 21 April 2016
As written on the blu ray disc back page, "In Our Own Time" is a new film on the long and illustrious career of the legendary Bee Gees, from their modest beginnings to unrivaled worldwide success in the `70s to the tragedy of losing their brother Maurice and Andy. The story is told "in their own words" by Barry and Robin from extensive new interviews, and the film also includes archive interview footage of Maurice, videos, TV appearances and live performances.
It was in 1080i 1.78:1. The picture was sharp, and old footage of their performances was in widescreen. Overall, a very pleasing image. (4/5)
The best sound was actually found in the menu portion, where the music and beat were tight and clean. There are three choices: DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM Stereo. There was no significant difference among the three, although I chose the DTS HD Master Audio. The dialogue was very clean, and music was very well remastered. Great job, Eagle Vision. (4.5/5)
This is where the disc stands out. This is not a concert disc. As stated above, the whole story of the Bee Gees was told through the words of Barry and Robin only, which suggested that it was filmed after Maurice's death. I have found Barry and Robin very honest and forward with their recollections and interpretation of past events. Archival interviews with Maurice were added in. Their opinions and views were straight from the heart.
The Beginning. There are many rare precious footage of the Gibb Brothers, singing when Barry was 9 and Robin and Maurice 6. Do you want to hear them sing Please Please Me? It's there.
Robert Stigwood. Although the Bee Gees and Robert Stigwood had their differences, in this disc, Barry and Robin gave a very honest opinion, tribute and thanks to Robert Stigwood for discovering them. I believe that those words were straight from their hearts. Of course, there was numerous rare footage here, such as their appearance on Top Of the Pops UK TV show. By the time the Bee Gees appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, you will notice that they had already consulted a good dentist to fix up their teeth...instead of being very jagged, now very smooth. I also appreciate those rare video footage was in widescreen. At one point, the Bee Gees were so lost, that they named the album "To Whom It May Concern"...Here, we have a chance to see the boys perform Mr. Natural...wow! The temporary break-up of the Bee Gees was also documented, with clear explanation from all three members of the band.
Arif Mardin. This is the second important person that influenced their career. Arif Mardin was the producer for the album Main Course. Here, we learned how the Bee Gees changed their approach to their music (more to R&B), and it was the time when they also learned the art of producing their music in the control room from Arif Mardin, laying the foundation for their later success. Also from this era, we also learned that Barry Gibb discovered his falsetto sound starting from the song Fanny. Of course, all the music was fantastic. You will quietly smile when the boys learned the real meaning of the words "Jive Talkin'"...
Saturday Night Fever. It was the pinnacle of their success, with album sale in excess of 35 million copies, second only to Thriller by Michael Jackson. Barry openly admitted that he was happy to be Number 2. The story and songs were fantastic.
Andy Gibb. There was a chapter on Andy Gibb, with original performances of I Just Want To Be Your Everything, and Shadow Dancing. His cocaine addiction led to his ultimate premature death. Very sad indeed. Each Gibb brother gave his own honest and straight from the heart interpretation of the events. Barry was still very regretful of how he treated Andy's problem the wrong way....and now no chance to correct his mistake. Barry and Robin also said that Andy could have been the 4th Bee Gee.
Songwriters. It was ultra refreshing to see Barry and Barbra Streisand performed together, with such magnetism. The portion where Celine Dion performed Immortality was very moving indeed. Her singing was so pure and from the heart, that moved Barry to tears. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton performed Islands In The Stream. Do you know that this song was originally designed to be a R&B tune, but it turned out to be a Number 1 Country hit!
Maurice Gibb. The sudden passing of Maurice Gibb was a tremendous blow to the Gibb family....so sudden, and so unexpected, and too quick! Maurice's various interviews blended in those with Barry and Robin. He was always honest with his views, right to the point with a sense of humour. The clip of his solo performance of Man In The Middle was precious and it also showcased his talents.
Later Years. It was very gratifying to see the video performances of their No. 1 hit in UK You Win Again, plus One And Alone. The clip from their One Night Only showed how Barry hid his severe back pain from the audience, while he smiled and sang his usual falsetto harmony. Maurice said it correctly in that Maurice too had gone through back pain and surgery, and he would know how much extra pain one experienced if one wanted to sing in a falsetto key. Very very professional of Barry to smile at the audience, and winced in pain when he turned his head. Although One Night Only was not in high definition, it was one of the Bee Gees best live concert on disc. Maurice told us how it was such a special treat, to be enrolled into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame, presented by Brian Wilson.
Finale. Barry and Robin told us how much they missed Maurice. It was also tragic to see the Bee Gees receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, just shortly after Maurice's death, with only Barry and Robin present to receive the awards, without Maurice. The ending of the disc was especially poignant, with Barry on guitar alone with Robin in the studio, singing To Love Somebody and How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, purely from their hearts, to their lost brother, Maurice!!! Wow, it was very moving indeed. If you carefully listened to the lyrics, these two songs would move you to tears...
In summary, In Our Own Time may not have the top notch video (many clips were from long time ago), but the contents filled one's heart with beautiful music, melody, happiness and sadness. Robin said it correctly in that the machine cannot reproduce the 3-part harmony that the Bee Gees had. The story of the Bee Gees was told from Barry and Robin themselves, not from a third party. Their interpretation of events was honest and true. The sequence of events was nicely done...never a dull moment. Their music and harmony will last forever. This is a collection that every music lover must have, and you will play it again and again, for yourself, and later, for your children. Long Live the Bee Gees!!! Highly recommended and a Must-Own.
UPDATE (May 20 2012):
It is really sad to hear that Robin Gibb has passed away from rectal cancer and complications. First, it was Andy, then, Maurice, and now Robin. All of a sudden, there is only ONE left. Being a physician myself, I knew that it was a matter of time that Robin would leave us...so before he left us, I bought all his solo CDs (before their prices may go up after his death). There is absolutely no other group that can replace Bee Gee's three part harmony...simply the best! Long Live the Brother Gibb!!!