'Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! The Special Years' is an all new documentary that captures the creative excellence, the brilliant fusion of song and dance, the glamorous Bob Mackie costumes and the non-stop excitement that w... more »ere the hallmark of her glittering annual television events. Experience the ground breaking Emmy winning performances, unseen for three decades, as well as photos and footage from Gaynor's personal archive that illuminate the behind-the-scenes stories and impact of her landmark television events.« less
""Ladies and gentlemen... Miss Mitzi Gaynor" and be prepared for a wonderful surprise, for this is one of the "must have" DVDs of the year.
The first time I saw Mitzi was on the movie version of SOUTH PACIFIC and I liked her Nellie Forbush. Later I had the pleasure of seeing her dancing with Gene Kelly in LES GIRLS and with Donald O'Connor in ANYTHING GOES and THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS. Unfortunately, I never saw any of her television specials and to be completely honest (please keep in mind that I live in Portugal) I didn't even knew of their existence. So, imagine my surprise when I put this DVD running and suddenly realized that there was much more to Mitzi than I knew from the movies.
Last year I discovered at YouTube a video of her energetic and funny 1967 Oscar appearance with "Georgy Girl" and I loved seeing it. Now, with this DVD, I have plenty more to see and I tell you that's all worthy. Mitzi was (still is) an amazing performer, able to sing, dance and act; with a gorgeous smile that conquers our hearts and make us want to be her friend.
This DVD takes a look at all her television specials (the first was in 1963 and the last in 1978), with plenty of material to keep us happy and it also includes interviews with people who worked with her, like Bob Mackie (the costume designer who did all of her fabulous costumes), and with fans like Kristine Chenoweth. But the best is the interviews with Mitzi herself who, at the age of 77, still looks great, with a terrific sense of humor and an energy that make us jealous. Personally, I think I could listen to her for hours without getting bored.
As for the musical numbers, they may look dated (it was the 60s and the 70s), but there's a joy to them that is contagious and made me wish that this kind of shows were still being produced. It's amazing the imagination and love that were behind all those numbers and I believe there were made by a happy group of people, who had a wonderful time doing them. Let's hope that one day the entire shows will be released on DVD.
There are some terrific special features included. In one of them Mitzi and Bob Mackie remember the amazing costumes she wore on those shows and share their memories with us. There are also several complete performances, including an hilarious movie parody, Mitzi's transformation into a Kid and some great musical numbers.
I guess that today's audiences may not be familiar with Mitzi, but I believe that with this joyful DVD a new era will begin for her and her dazzling talent will once again be recognized by many, if not all.
Thanks for a wonderful time, Mitzi! You really knew how to shine and you still do."
Sometimes looking back is not only refreshing, it helps us s
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 11/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mitzi Gaynor had the talent to be a big star in Hollywood. After her spectacular performance in "South Pacific" everyone expected greater things, but instead of being the breakthrough launching pad for superstardom, it ended up being the culmination of her career in film. Yes, she made a few more movies, but nothing that built her star power. Maybe it was the change in fashion and fewer musicals. I don't know. When you look at her ability to really dance, to really since, and she could actually act, well, how could she not become a superstar? And she did, but not in Hollywood, but in Las Vegas.
Her abilities to sing, dance, be funny, engage an audience, and her boundless energy were perfect for a long Vegas career. Then in 1967 she did an unlikely number, "Georgy Girl" on the 39th Academy Awards broadcast. It stopped the show. Someone realized they had to use this huge talent on TV and they gave her a special in 1968. When it was a hit, she got a second and then a third annual special. All in all, there were ten of these wonderful extravaganzas. Bob Mackie gave her perfect costumes to show off both her body and her movement and the numbers were all about showing off her strengths. For a decade people loved them.
The main part of this DVD is a series of cuts from those shows, commentary by Mitzi and her fellow stars, friends, and industry admirers. Well, a selection from that big universe. In the extras, you get Mitzi and Bob Mackie looking at the designs he made for her and talking about them, Mitzi talking about being on the Ed Sullivan show with the Beatles when she was a huge star and they were just becoming known and how wonderful they were. Two clips of Mitzi as "The Kid", a couple of full length comedy sketches from her specials and 8 full length dance numbers. These are not set up to be serious "art", they are about having fun. But the dancing and singing is top notch stuff.
It also appears that she is going to tour in 2009. I have no idea what it will be, but I am sure he fans will be quite delighted to see her and hear from her. If you don't know this great talent, which would blow almost anyone today off the boards, this disk is a great intro. And if you do know her, this disk is a great delight.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI "
A great visit with a great star
Larry Billman | Brea, CA United States | 11/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This part-documentary/part-sheer entertainment is long overdue. Mitzi Gaynor has always been a favorite, with "The 'I Don't Care' Girl" being a revelation in my life and sense of dance-filled entertainment. Watching this DVD brought back many memories and pleasures. Including the people who collaborated in her very SPECIAL "Specials" adds to the pleasure: Bob Mackie, Tony Charmoli, Randy Doney and Alton Ruff. Masters all! Plus the great respect shown to other choreographers who helped create these movie musicals (and they were THAT) like Bob Sidney, Peter Gennaro and Danny Daniels in on-screen credits validates the credibility of the filmmakers. Mitzi's self-effacing humor and honesty are a revelation in these days of "stars of the moment" who are merely spouting what they were told to. She has the ability to move from "laugh-out-loud" to "from the heart" in an instant. I had forgotten how brilliant her pieces as "The Kid" are - showing other layers that the lady could tap into. The music, dancing, costumes, staging and performances remind me of what is missing from contemporary performances. Let's abandon the noise, the explosions, the in-your-face aggressive dancing and take a good look at what a very talented human can do. Thanks for this one - and to Amazon for the quick shipping and pristine copy they sent."
Warning: documentary ABOUT the specials, not the actual spec
Tevis Fen-Kortiay | Bloom county | 02/17/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I thought I was purchasing a DVD of Mitzi Gaynor TV specials. She made 9, so minus ads that's about 7 hours of content. Instead, I got a 2-hour documentary *about* the Mitzi Gaynor specials: brief glimpses of what I thought I was purchasing intercut with interviews with a late-life Gaynor and other participants and fans.
The documentary was okay, but the price is quite expensive compared to other documentaries of comparable quality and length. Rereading the DVD box, I do find the word "documentary" buried on the back cover, but it does not appear on the front of the product - not even in small print! I am left feeling somewhat misled and gypped, and will be very hesitant to purchase anything from City Lights Media in the future."
MIND BLOWING MITZI WILL DAZZLE HER AUDIENCE.
Barry Iddon | LIVERPOOL. ENGLAND. | 11/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THIS COMPILATION OF MITZI GAYNOR SPECIALS IS TREMENDOUS ENTERTAINMENT. IT RUNS AND RUNS FOREVER + THE QUALITY IS SUPERB.
IT LEAVES YOU WANTING MORE.... WHAT A BRILLIANT PERFORMER SHE STILL IS. TODAYS UPCOMING DANCE ARTISTS SHOULD TAKE A FEW LESSONS FROM THIS DVD > THERE IS NO DOUBT THEY WILL LEARN A LOT FROM IT."