Bonus Interviews Make This DVD
gassy goon | 03/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this originally on VHS in 1988. The bonus interview footage taped back in 1987 makes it worthwhile to have. The extra unedited interviews with Michelle, Denny & John are essential to see and hear . Each of them in their own words recount and elaborate more of the history of The Mamas & The Papas than was in the original video. It's about 30 minutes extra interviews only that is added to the original video.
I always had issues with this video concentrating more on John Phillips' life, than on each one of the members. It does tell the story of The Mamas & The Papas through interviews , television appearances & photos. It's a good documentary, but it could have been great. It traces John's life from birth to 1987 , and the group's history as well. Cass , Michelle & Denny are shortchanged and not covered in depth, as John's story is. The early history of the pre-Mamas and Papas groups that each member was in is only briefly covered. The Mugwumps, the very important group that Cass & Denny had in 1964 is not even discussed or even a photo of the band shown! What an oversight that is. When made in 1988, the video ended with the horrific stories of John's drug abuse, John's version of a " New " Ms & Ps in the studio and his rehabilitation. All of the events that have happened since then - the groups' induction into the R&R Hall of Fame, the passing of both John and Denny, Michelle's acting career - are all convieniently summed up by a simple scroll at the end of the DVD. That's so the producers didn't have to spend any extra money on new production or added footage. What a shame that the original video was not re-edited to feature extra footage. Again, just to save the expense of doing a new re-editing job, which the history of The Mamas & The Papas deserves.
As for the footage, there are some great clips of the group from American Bandstand, Where The Action Is, Ed Sullivan , and others. There are one clip each for The Journeymen, The Big 3 and a very rare performance of The New Journeymen featuring John, Michelle & Denny. Also of interest is the 1977 clip of them reunited on Denny's CBC TV show that is great to see. However, all the clips are not of the full performance. Also, Cass' life and her untimely death are only very briefly shown. Such a shame, as this should be the definitive chronicle of the group. We don't really need to see an interview of John Phillips' neighbor interviewed in 1987 talking about the condition of his home in the history of the group.
This DVD is essential for a history of the group, but you must add the VH1 BEHIND THE MUSIC documentary done in 1998 [ but never released on VHS or DVD ] and the CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': THE MUSIC OF THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS DVD for a more complete history of this important group in the history of rock and roll."