Swinging examples of African American cinema
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 04/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The "Soundies" offered in JAZZ 10 MOVIE PACK were looped films stored within a rather ingenious pay-per-view video jukebox. These devices were quite popular in the early 40s, and the artists featured (Fats Waller, Louis Jordan and Cab Calloway, among others) made some really fine music for the Soundies folks.
CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK, with Amos & Andy, nominally qualifies as a jazz movie, because the Duke Ellington orchestra performs a couple of songs midway through. The other 7 titles in this collection are legitimate examples of early jazz and swing movies.
Four vintage "race movies" may be found on the SPENCER WILLIAMS COLLECTION.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 viewer poll ratings found at a film resource website.
(5.5) Check And Double Check (1930) - Freeman Gosden/Charles Correll/Duke Ellington orch.
(5.3) The Duke Is Tops (1938) - Lena Horne/Ralph Cooper/Laurence Criney
(5.8) Hi-De-Ho (1947) - Cab Calloway/Ida James/Jeni Le Gon
(6.2) Killer Diller (1948) - Dusty Fletcher/Butterfly McQueen/King Cole Trio
(5.2) Paradise In Harlem (1939) - Mamie Smith/Frank L. Wilson/Norman Astwood
(7.0) Reet, Petite And Gone (1947) - Louis Jordan/June Richmond/Milton Wood
(5.1) Rhythm And Blues Revue (1955) - Nat King Cole/Sarah Vaughn/Count Basie
(5.1) Rock N' Roll Revue (1955) - Duke Ellington/Nat King Cole/Lionel Hampton
(???) Soundies Cavalcade - Lena Horne/Teddy Wilson/Dusty Fletcher
(???) Soundies Festival - Ethel Waters/Eddy Green/Dusty Fletcher"
Jazz Age rarities
Richard Hazlewood | Wembley, WA Australia | 02/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many of these films, some frustratingly short, others too long, have occasionally surfaced on other collections, but to get these rarities from the golden era of jazz all on a pair of DVDs is a rare treat. It was a bit misleading to call it a 'Ten Pack' as this created an expectation of 10DVDs, but the two that are there are crammed full of rarities and delights that will appeal to most serious jazz buffs. Forget the corny humour and dialogue in the story movies, it's the rare appearances of jazz greats like Ellington and Calloway, Ammons and Lewis, Lena Horne at her most gorgeous, Joe Turner, Nat Cole and others, that make this such a bargain. For me the prize was 'Hi-De-Ho', and hour long movie with some sensational Cab Calloway - what a presence he had. Don't delay, buy this before it disappears again for many years."
E. J. Tomlin | Kent Englznd | 03/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If this issue was at at full price then it would only be for fanatical lovers of early jazz artists, but at the give-away price asked there is enough good stuff in there to make an outstanding bargain. The quality of the picture varies but the sound is uniformly good and that is what matters with these historic jazz rarities. The acting varies between good and minimal But the musical performances enshrined here are priceless. If only British film makers had rendered us a similar popular music backlog !! (This review from an English buyer) Edward."
Fascinating material, poor video quality
Leslie Gerber | Saugerties, NY | 06/09/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Don't look for video restoration here. Some of these films come from seriously damaged copies, and they look pretty poor. Also, in order to get so much material onto two one-sided discs, a low quality speed has been used, further diminishing the video quality. However, some of this material is worth putting up with a lot to be able to see. My own favorite is the short "Boogie Woogie Dream," in which you get to see Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Lena Horne, and Teddy Wilson performing. (Incidentally, the disc labels these collections of shorts as "Soundies," which they are not; they are theatrical shorts.) But every film here has at least something well worth seeing. Just make sure you have your remote on hand to skip the bad stuff."