Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'Nashville': 12 Best Music Moments From TV Series ...
The Voice Finale: Alisan Porter Wins Season 10 ...
Pink's Hairstylist on Her Billboard Music Awards Look...
Adele's Send My Love to Your New Lover video: Director ...
Bryan Cranston Mesmerizes as LBJ in HBO's 'All the Way'...
Kristin Chenoweth takes on a different kind of role ...
Survivor: Kaoh Rong: And the winner is... ...
Ghostbusters Are Desperately Trying to Save New York Ci...
The Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' Turns 50: How Brian Wilson...
Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom Pack on the PDA at Cannes ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

MPI Networks presents
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)

"I woke up in the ambulance, right, and there wasn't nothin' but white people staring down at me. I said, 'Ain't this a bitch? I went and died and wound up in the wrong motherf---in' heaven.'"
- Richard Pryor

Review By: Justin Stephen   
Published: July 07, 2000

Stars: Richard Pryor
Director: Jeff Margolis

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (profanity and adult-oriented humor)
Run Time: 01h:18m:50s
Release Date: September 16, 1998
UPC: 030306708423
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

For better or for worse, Richard Pryor is a legitimate American icon. An honest and vulgar comedian, he is also a groundbreaker whose work has inspired thousands of modern-day practitioners of comedy. Without Richard, we likely would have never seen Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock or numerous other prominent comedians, not all of them black. Richard Pryor's long career has been prolific. He has released twenty-two comedy albums. He has appeared in almost fifty films from his first in 1967 to his last 30 years later. In 1977, he even had his own primetime television series.

Some of the greatest comedic films ever released bore his name on the marquee. Notable film titles have included Silver Streak, The Wiz, Wholly Moses, Stir Crazy, Bustin' Loose, The Toy, Brewster's Millions, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. His list of film co-stars is a veritable who's-who of comedic notables, including Jackie Gleason, George Carlin, Gene Wilder, John Candy, Dudley Moore, Walter Matthau, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Dana Carvey, Eddie Murphy, Red Foxx, and so on.

Alas, Richard Pryor's life, from his birth in 1940 to present, has been marred both by tragic health problems and by self-destructive behavior. In 1977, he had his first evidence of serious heart problems. In 1978, he had a run-in with police after shooting up his own car while in a drunken rage to prevent his then-wife from leaving him. In 1979, he started freebasing cocaine. In 1980, he set himself on fire while heavily under the influence of drugs and spent several weeks recovering in a burn unit. In 1986 he was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 1991, he had to undergo quadruple-bypass surgery. He has been married six times to five women and has six children.

Because of his battle with MS, Pryor's public appearances have been relatively few and far between in the past five years. When last I saw him, he was receiving the 1998 Mark Twain Prize during a 1999 Comedy Central special. He was so enfeebled that he was incapable of speaking or doing more than offering faint hand gestures in appreciation of the honor.

Richard Pryor was also a pioneer in the arena of stand-up comedy theatrical films. Pryor released a total of four feature length stand-up comedy concerts. His first, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert was released in 1979. Subsequent concert films from Pryor have been 1982's Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip, 1983's Richard Pryor Here and Now, and 1985's Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin' (which was comprised of footage filmed in 1971).

Filmed at the Terrace Theatre in Long Beach, CA, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is entirely comprised of concert footage. As with virtually all Pryor stand-up, the profanity runs thick and the content is very adult-oriented. Pryor covers a wide variety of topics, including his recent arrest for assault with a deadly weapon for shooting up his own car. Other topics include dogs, his first heart attack, funerals, being a parent, his stint as an amateur boxer, and his experience of climbing into the ring with Mohammed Ali during a charity boxing event.

Taste in comedy is one of the most subjective topics on earth, but I found this concert to be amusing but not particularly uproarious. Profanity in comedy was hardly invented by Pryor, but in 1979 it was still somewhat of a novelty. I can vividly recall the delicious joy I experienced in my clandestine exposures to Pryor's material while still a child in the late 70s and early 80s. However, looking back on such material now, I was immediately struck by his overuse of profanity as a comedic vehicle in and of itself. While viewing this film, I grinned on a number of occasions, but very rarely found myself laughing out loud. Comedy, like other mediums of entertainment (or art, if you will), has advanced greatly in the past twenty years. As such, this material, while classic, proved rather dated for my palette.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The video transfer of Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is, in a word, poor. The most notable problem this image suffers from is severe ghosting. As Pryor moves across the stage, his shirt and hair follow behind him. This problem occurs consistently throughout the entire film and is very distracting. The colors are very muted, black levels are substandard, and the film is sometimes rather grainy. Some film number of film blemishes are also present. For several long stretches of the film, the video and audio are out of sequence, sometimes dramatically. These "lip-syncing" issues also proved to be very distracting at times.

While the original footage that this DVD was manufactured from was undoubtedly of less than stellar quality, there does not appear to have been any effort made to re-master the image. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that some of the problems with this transfer, namely the omnipresent ghosting, resulted not from inadequacies with the source material but from the analog to digital conversion of the image.

Image Transfer Grade: D


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The audio transfer, while advertised as stereo, is primarily just mono sound split to two channels. This is actually somewhat understandable considering the age and likely condition of the source. While not particularly crisp and clean and generally unexceptional, the audio is adequate for the material. Volume levels maintain a natural consistency throughout. Audience noises are muddled but not distorted.

Again, there does not appear to be any attempt to re-master the transfer.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, and Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is very light on extras, but does contain a fair amount of text-based biographic data on Pryor. Four separate sections are provided. Biography contains a sub-sectioned brief biography of Richard Pryor. Movie Credits contains a filmography subdivided into sections on acting, directing, writing, and producing. Notable TV Performances and Albums are pretty self-explanatory. The static menu screens are attractive but unexceptional.

Unfortunately, this disc suffers from some very poor menu design. For example, the biography section is broken up into several subsections; Born, Childhood, Marriages, Children, and Health Problems. Some subsections, like Childhood are multiple screens long while others, like Born are just a single screen in length. The content would have been better served with a single, well-written biography instead of these totally unnecessary, and rather clumsy, subsections. Furthermore, the navigation button behavior is just silly. When I accessed the Childhood subsection of the biography, I discovered that the subsequent screens always default to the "main menu" button instead of the next screen button (requiring that I right cursor twice just to advance to the next screen in the series) and that there is no "return to biography menu" button at all. Once I had proceeded to the fourth screen under this section, the only two options available to return to the biography menu and read the next section were to hit the "back one screen" button four times or to hit the "main menu" button and then re-enter the biography section from the front end. While all of this presents only a minor annoyance to the viewer, it does indicate that very little thought went into the menu design on this disc.

I have also have some reason to question both the quality and the accuracy of some of the information provided. The Marriages and Children sections of the biography are simply lists of names, with no additional data (such as dates of birth or marriage years) provided at all. This is yet another reason why a single, well-written biography would have been preferable. The Albums section lists only fourteen albums. I have since discovered from other sources that Pryor actually released twenty-two albums. Where are the other six? If you are looking for a well-written, elaborative, and accurate look at the life and career of Richard Pryor, you will not find it on this disc.

Also worth a brief mention are the subtitles. Functionally, they are fine. However, the timing on the titles in relation to the speech of the film is poor. Oft times they flash by so quickly that they are nearly impossible to read. Again, I chalk this up to poor design.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

In a 1998 Salon.com article about Richard Pryor, columnist Jill Nelson said, "Richard Pryor is both the best and worst of a time gone but not forgotten, a reflection of our own passions, fears and self-destruction." I think this sums up the man quite nicely.

I have had reason to be rather critical of this DVD release of Richard Pryor: Live in Concert. However, if you are a fan of his stand-up and want another look at one of his vintage concert performances, this disc is likely for you. Some of its faults are glaring (and were this a special effects laden film instead of a 20-year old concert film, these faults might be fatal), but they should not completely prevent you from enjoying 78 minutes of one of the great masters of comedy at work.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, nashville, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, music, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, hbo, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, movie, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked, survivor: kaoh-rong, reality, michelle fitzgerald, aubry, tai, jeff probst, comedy remake, ghostbusters, melissa mccarthy, kristen wiig, kate mckinnon, leslie jones, beach boys, pet sounds, brian wilson, bob dylan, blonde on blonde, cannes film festival, selena gomez, beyonce, crazy in love, lemonade, sorry, donÕt hurt yourself, daddy lessons, dancing with the stars, nyle dimarco, bruno tonioli, carrie ann inaba, len goodman, live! with kelly and michael, kelly ripa michael strahan, beyoncˇ, jay z, rachel roy, cheating, prince, little red corvette, purple rain, linus and lucy, the bourne supremacy, the bourne ultimatum, matt damon, alicia vikander, vincent cassel, tommy lee jones, julia stiles, paul greengrass, game of thrones, sansa, ramsay bolton, theron greyjoy, reek, petyr baelish, cersei, jaime, stephen colbert, hillary clinton, carnegie deli, the late show with stepen colbert, jungle book, disney, neel sethi, bill murray, rudyard kipling, captain america: civil war, captain america, iron man, black panther, scarlet witch, the jungle book, virtual productions, avatar, gravity, jon favreau, fantasy, james cameron, avatar sequels, avatar 2, christmas 2018, movies, tribeca film festival, the first monday in may, andrew rossi, justin bieber, anna wintour, met gala, 38 interactive and virtual-reality exhibits, the bomb, the meddler, j.j. abrams, chris rock, tom hanks, john oliver, elvis & nixon, mtv movie awards, dwayne johnson, kevin hart, warner bros. studios, will smith, suicide squad, jared leto, margot robbie, cara delevingne, kiss, freedom to rock, 35 date tour, july 7, caleb johnson, dead daisies, kiss online, merle haggard, died, okie from muskogee, sing me back, mama tried, the bakersfield sound, country music. willie nelson, waylon jennings, gram parsons, eric church, hungry eyes, jimmy fallon, the boss, brand new key, x gonna give it to ya, miles ahead, don cheadle, miles davis, rock and roll hall of fame, ewan mcgregor, michael stuhbarg, lakeith lee stanfield, house of lies, finding dory, ellen degeneres, finding nemo, albert brooks, hayden rolence, animation

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store