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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Give My Regards to Broadstreet (1984)

"I don't believe it, but the pressure is on."
- Paul (Paul McCartney)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 19, 2004

Stars: Paul McCartney
Other Stars: Ian Hastings, Linda McCartney, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Tracey Ullman, Bryan Brown, Ralph Richardson, George Martin
Director: Peter Webb

Manufacturer: PDMC
MPAA Rating: PG for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:48m:51s
Release Date: April 20, 2004
UPC: 024543113706
Genre: musical


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C DB-C+ D-

DVD Review

If my beer-addled brain serves me correctly, I'm pretty sure it was in the early 1980s, during the initial burn-off following the explosive boom of the music video, that it just wasn't enough to have a simple three-minute lip-sync of your latest hit. The medium had become a new art form, and songs were remade as elaborate mini-movies, often with expanded video segments bookending the performance.

I'm sure all of the young MTV-weaned whippersnappers in the crowd are right now thinking, "Hey Gramps, thanks for the history lesson—what's your point?" My point is that at the time, musical artists were seemingly given far too much leeway and leverage to mercilessly flog a medium (or marketing tool, if you're a real cynic) that had grown up too fast, too soon. Everybody was doing it. Excess had become king, and bloated product followed.

I can forgive anyone a misguided vanity project, and for Paul McCartney, certainly not who one would consider an artist starving for attention, this really stretched things with the slightly self-indulgent full-length film, Give My Regards to Broad Street. To legitimize this and call this 1984 outing a "film" is like calling Britney Spears a "singer"; while not a bold-face lie, neither of the statements are entirely true. Much as the lovely Ms. Spears can moan, dance, and strip with the best of them, her forte is not singing. It's a similar scenario with Sir Paul when it comes to filmmaking (who, ironically, CAN sing extremely well AND write timeless music). Movie-making ain't his bag, baby. I know this was techinally directed by Peter Webb, but it was written by McCartney, and I sense his hand went further than a simple screenplay.

The story for this one was loose from the get-go, and it is really nothing more than just a loooong series of rock videos with unfortunately too much chatter and not enough music. The weak outer coating of Give My Regards to Broad Street is a wafer-thin shell in which to house McCartney songs, which is really what the people have come to hear if they bothered to sit down to watch this in the first place. So, if that's the case, why are we subjected to a silly mystery about the missing master tapes to Paul's new album, and the possible takeover of the record company by the evil Rathbone Industries if said tapes aren't somehow found by midnight? It doesn't exactly ring with the same level of relatable dramatic impact that the possible detonation of an atomic bomb in a crowded city would create, but I suppose to people like Paul it is one and the same.

In between the forced melodrama, we do get some music, and that is when this predominantly unwatchable cloud of nothingness almost becomes watchable, because for no other reason than they're McCartney songs. A few Beatle songs are performed under stripped-down, fake "studio" settings (Yesterday, Here, There and Everywhere) while other solo Mac pieces get the fullblown rock video treatment. Ballroom Dancing is giddily overdone as some kind of upper-crust-vs-the-kids kind of thing, while more familiar tunes like Silly Love Songs for unexplained reasons have the band dressed in weird Bowie-as-Ziggy-Stardust-if-he-was-an-albino wigs, complete with a break dancer shooting lightning bolts out of his feet. Huh?

Next time, Paul, please just sing.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: This two-sided disc from Fox contains a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen version on one side, and a 1.33:1 fullframe transfer on the flip. Right off the bat it was evident that the print used has seen better days, because it is peppered with quite a bit of debris and specks. Image detail is very soft much of the time, bordering on the hazy, while occasional sequences do manage to appear noticeably sharper and more crisp. For the most part the available colors seem to have that residual late-1970s fade to them (which is a shame considering this was made in 1984), but as with the overall image itself, some scenes do play better than others. The big production numbers, specifically Ballroom Dancing, are probably the sharpest, most vivid looking bits in the entire presentation, but those moments are few and far between.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoFrench, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
4.0
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The real travesty here is the hapless audio track, which is offered in remarkably hollow and artificial-sounding Dolby Digital 4.0 surround. Here's a disc that really needed a solid audio mix to give it some life, something that could least mine some aural goodness from this painfully meandering film, but the presentation falls flat. While the music sounds strictly acceptable (the absence of any dominant .LFE is sadly noticeable), the songs are missing the kind of full-bodied resonance that could have at least given this a boost. Dialogue fares the worst, sounding thin and lifeless, though at least always understandable. I suppose a proper 5.1 remix was out the question, but what's here is not that great.

Spanish and French mono tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

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

Extras Review: Extras are almost nonexistent, and consist of a pair of trailers for the feature.

The disc is cut into 24 chapters, and includes optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Underneath all the expanded long-form music video pomposity there are actually some really good songs here, which is probably what Paul McCartney should stick to. He seems to have something of a knack for the songwriting and singing thing. Movies, well I'm not so sure.

This film is dangerously overlong and pointless, and will probably test the mettle of even the most ardent Beatle-ite. If the image and audio transfers had been better, this might merit a peek for the curious, but as it is I'd have to say pass.

 


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