Recommend to one? Unsure.....seen better disco documentaries
W. gallegos | 05/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard about this Dvd last year while attending a saturday night disco concert featuring several well known acts of the disco era. Footage of this dvd was shown between acts and I must say that it caught my attention. Anyways, some 6 to 12 months later,I have finally seen it and I must say that it was just okay. Nothing exciting,nothing fantastic,nothing to brag about to friends. Just OKAY. Let me explain why it was just OKAY in several reasons.......1) The information on the back of the dvd claims it has a running time of 90 minutes yet by the time the ending credits appeared when watching it,the numbers displayed on my dvd showed it had a running time of roughly 75 minutes. My alarm clock even backs that up. Not long enough for a documentary solely on the history of disco music,especially when the first 30 minutes talks not about disco but its early influences such as James Brown and the Motown era. It's like taking Ken Burns' dvd box set on the history of baseball and editing it down to half the amount of discs. 2) The show focused too much on Gloria Gaynor. Okay,so maybe she had what they called the anthem of disco music,"I will survive",but she was not the history of disco. She even claimed in one of her many interviews in this dvd that it were her two only hits,"I will survive" and "never can say goodbye",that were the bookends of the era. Speak for herself. She also claims that it was disco music that first brought blacks and whites together. Not true! I have seen so many rock n roll related specials and documentaries that shows footage of blacks and whites getting down together to music as early as the 1960's. If you also look into Los Angeles history,it will show that in the era of big band music,there were clubs that brought blacks and whites together simply for an evening of fun. Sadly,it was the racist LAPD that cut those dance club evenings short. She even takes up half of the bonus features. 3) There was no mention or even footage of such acts who contributed to the era such as Abba,The Jacksons,The Emotions,Sister sledge,heatwave,Earth,wind,and fire,Ohio players,Vicki Sue Robinson,Tavares,Peter Brown,Andy Gibb,McFadden and White,just to name a few (this of course explains why it needed to be more than 75 minutes). 4) Not enough made-for-dvd interviews with key figures of the era. Besides those mentioned in reason #3,where was KC? Where was the surviving founder of Studio 54? Where was Diana Ross? Where was Robert Stigwood? Where was Barry or Robin Gibb? Respectfully speaking,when a disco documentary has Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and not the mentioned individuals,something is wrong. As for other interviews,roughly most were either done in the 1970's or in the 1990's in some public building where people are heard talking loud in the background. 5) There was no mention of such popular shows as American Bandstand,Soul train,or the short-lived Hot City (bet you forgot about that show!) who all contributed big to the disco era. They did not even mention the ever so popular weekly dance contest show,Dance fever,hosted by Denny Terrio,the man responsible for John Travolta's moves in Saturday night fever. 6) The segment on hardrock bands jumping onto the disco band wagon was poor. If the documentary was going to talk about Kiss,Rod Stewart,and The Rolling Stones making songs suitable for disco,the least it could have done was play bits and pieces of those songs. And 7) In under a minute or two, the documentary goes from talking about the fall of disco to disco in the 21st century to the ending credits. That fast! Anyways,don't get me wrong! I am a fan of disco music,which accounts for roughly 20% of the 400-500 cds I own. I do plan on attending this year's saturday night disco concert but I must say that for a documentary on disco music,I have seen better. Two interesting examples were VH1's "when disco ruled the world" and VH1's Studio 54 "behind the music",even though it was based on just the famous club itself. Do I recommend this dvd to one? Honestly....I don't know. It's up to the disco music lover to decide. Trust me,I don't mean to sound soooo negative,but if I am entitled to give a review,an honest one is necessary. Still,after watching it,I will survive,heyyyy,heyyyy!!!"
Nice DVD, but real story?
Jim Werngren | 11/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sure it is a nice documentary of the disco era.
However I think it could have been made better.
For example it was a little irritating with all the effort to explore the pre-disco period, trying to find the so called roots which in my opinion not necessary are the true roots.
Furthermore they talk about the funk music in paralell which makes the documentary lost its focus a bit.
Gloria, who is one of my favorites, more or less read things we knew directly from a manuscript it seems. It would have been more interesting to hear more about her own interpretation of her disco life back then. I know she did TV-shows with other disco stars like Karen Young and even Ethel Merman, why not talk about that?
Also the short original clips from the 70s were interupped in a suboptimal way with not so "giving" comments. I think Randy from Village People gave the right spice in his reflections of his disco period.
The story went on to quickly, I think many disco-significant things were forgotten, for example there was not a word about how expesnive these productions were. Generally every disco track was fully orchestrated with live musicians, sometimes up to forty people! This was the true quality of disco! But in this DVD they focus a little bit too long on that "I feel love" with Donna Summer was totally synthetic and computerized.
I think the cost was a part of the explanation that disco died, or replaced by something else which was not disco anymore.
But I admit that this DVD also has it's quality, particularly the clips from the 70s!
Simon Lee Bon | Brooklyn | 06/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a fascinating program with a lot of great interviews. The music was entertaining but it also was used to illustrate the points made by the narrator (Gloria Gaynor who looked great) and those interviewed. Very insightful look at disco music without falling into the trap of being stereotypical. I am biased because I lived Disco in the 70's and it brought back a lot of memories, but this is so much better than anything else on the subject. A great addition to any DVD library."
Not a very entertaining documentary about something that is
Get What We Give | Georgia | 05/24/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The problem with this documentary isn't that they haven't researched it. Nor is it that they don't have a bevy of people talking about it and how disco changed so much. They have empirical evidence of its roots too. In fact, by and large there is a huge amount of information here. The problem is that it's just not very entertaining. The advertising for this documentary would have us believe that we are going to see performances by a multitude of performers, when in fact, what we see are snippets of performances. Do we really want to see all of the performances that are identified....no, but there is so much time spent on the roots of disco that the actual disco portion is far from thorough.
The DVD extras should have many "videos" (there were none back then, but there were performances from shows they could show), but we only are offered two.
My teen aged son really liked disco until I sat him down to watch this DVD. He was clamboring to leave the room within fifteen minutes. Truth be told, so was I...."