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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese
  Extras
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - This is Where I Came In
  • Booklet
  • Interviews - Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, David English
  • Web access

Bee Gees - This is Where I Came In

Eagle Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 120 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

When you think of the Bee Gees you may simply giggle and recall ludicrously lapelled white suits, impossibly high voices, gold chains and bad facial hair. However, throughout their 40-plus year career there has been so much more to the band than just these cheesy memories, and This Is Where I Came In is a rather fine summation of the various rises, falls and reincarnations of Barry and fraternal twin brothers Maurice and Robin. If you're still sniggering, try these facts on for size. They are the fifth most successful recording artists of all time, with only The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley having outsold them; they have sold over 100 million albums worldwide; they are the only artists to have had UK number ones in four different decades; at one point in the '70s they were responsible for five out of the top ten singles of the time. Pretty mean feats, all of them.

The band's entire story, from the highs of first gigs to massive gigs, huge hits, awards, marriages and parenthood, to the lows of in-fighting, splits, failures, near-death experiences, drug and alcohol abuse, the ludicrous idea of a Sgt. Peppers movie, deaths, divorces and Celine Dion collaborations are all featured here, accompanied by some incredible personal footage dating right back to their beardless childhoods and a rather annoying American voiceover. Starting life in Manchester, the entire Gibb family emigrated to Queensland in the early '60s where their careers kicked off, starting with gigs at local speedways, through to television appearances aimed at adults through to the influence of Beatlemania and their progress to hitsters in their own right. Deciding to return to their homeland a few years later, with their first Australian number one, the still utterly classic Spicks and Specks, still riding high in the charts, arguably their most impressive musical period ensued, spawning the likes of New York Mining Disaster, Words, Massachusetts, I Started A Joke and To Love Somebody (originally penned by them for the great Otis Redding). When so many performers of the time turned to others to write their hits, the brothers Gibb were more than capable of doing it themselves, and coupled with their rather phenomenal ability to harmonise, well, the rest is history.

The early '70s saw a lean time as they made the transition from boys to men, however they got it back together and entered their soul-influenced period, with the likes of Mr Natural and early disco fodder like Jive Talkin' and You Should Be Dancin' seeing them return to the tops of the charts. But who could have predicted what was to come next? Yes, Saturday Night Fever, and worldwide smashes such as Stayin' Alive, How Deep is Your Love?, Night Fever and More Than A Woman - and the aforementioned silly suits, chains, shrill voices and follicular configurations. Whilst it may all look extremely daft now, you certainly canít ignore the effect they had on '70s culture and let's face it, ALL of the '70s was bad fashion-wise anyway, and like them or not, these were more than simply meaningless songs in very high voices.

After one of their greatest hits (well, in my opinion), Tragedy, they entered the '80s, and found themselves lolling in a world where disco sucked, and they didnít really have a place. After a couple of failures, such as the soundtrack to the flop film Staying Alive, they regrouped and began writing songs for others, scoring massive hits for the likes of Babs Streisand (Guilty), Diana Ross (Chain Reaction), Dionne Warwick (Heartbreaker) and good ol' Dolly and Kenny (Islands in the Stream). After a suitable time away they returned to the charts in their own right once more with You Win Again, and whilst never attaining their previously nose-bleed inducing heights of success, they maintained popularity to the present day - finally gaining the respect from their industry peers as the truly great songwriters they are that they appeared to have craved so much.

  Video
Contract

What we have here is another television documentary featuring all sorts of found footage interspersed with recently shot interviews, presented in full frame, and not 16x9 enhanced. As such, the video quality varies greatly throughout, from speckle-ridden 8mm home video footage dating back to the '50s, to '60s black and white television programs, to that certain washed out video clip look of the '70s to essentially pristine video stuff from the '80s and '90s.

Whilst all the recently made footage and much of that from the last 20 years comes up very well, naturally an in depth diagnosis of colour saturation, black levels, artefacts etc isnít going to serve much purpose when confronted with the likes of earlier stuff included here - so I'm not going to bother. Suffice it to say some of the earlier footage scrubs up quite remarkably, and the likes of the 8mm movies have a certain of-their-time charm with their often severe scratchiness.

The layer change comes between an interview and the next scene, and whilst noticeable can hardly be accused of being intrusive.

  Audio
Contract

Bringing up this program's television origins once more, all we get sound-wise is a fairly standard Dolby Stereo mix. With the origins of much of the footage harking from the days when if you mentioned the word "stereo" people would just look at you blankly, much of what we get is simply in mono, although this changes once getting past the Saturday Night Fever days and into the '80s.

Regardless, dialogue is always clear, even in the early television footage, and I noticed no issues at all with lip synch. As for the soundtrack, I think that's amply covered above...

  Extras
Contract

Some rather effectively animated menus, all enhanced with Bee Gees music, lead us into a number of extras - a nice change for a music DVD.

Anecdotes: Around half an hour of extra interview footage, predominantly with Barry, Maurice and Robin, plus a couple with RSO guy Barry English. Divided up into often sub-one minute snippets, whilst many are interesting with their sorties into such things as the origins of the band's name, influences and idols, their father, writing methods, thoughts on each other and even bee stings, it is rather frustrating that there is no 'play all' feature, especially considering there are 28 of the darned segments that need to be selected individually. Video quality is excellent, and the Dolby Stereo sound quite fine.

Gallery: A remarkably huge gallery of photos, in fact 7 minutes and 13 seconds worth which play continually, with each image flashing up for a second or two. Featured are personal snaps from the Gibbs' childhood through to now, promotional photos and record covers from all around the world. I lost count and wasn't going back through them all again, suffice to say it is by far the largest photo gallery I have ever seen on a DVD.

Music video - This Is Where I Came In: Four minutes and 44 seconds in duration, this visual accompaniment for a song which is quite the (welcome) return to their '60s guitar pop'n'harmonies without screeches sound is presented full frame with Dolby Stereo sound, and looks essentially pristine. It features the band in bed together (donít be rude!), Barry clutching a teddy bear, them clad in black with shades romping about with a cleaning lady in a Kombi driven by a guy in a fluffy pink dressing gown - in all your fairly standard incomprehensible modern day video clip type stuff.

Guest biographies: Two or three reasonably informative pages each on some of the people interviewed in the main feature, specifically Allen Kovac (their latter day manager), David English (RSO record label head), Sir George Martin (swoon!), Tim Rice and Billboard Magazine editor Timothy White. All of these are available in a number of languages too, which is a nice touch.

  Overall  
Contract

In all This Is Where I Came In is one of the better examples of a band's history presented in special, due in no small part to the involvement of the band themselves, and their families - most all of which are featured here in interview segments, even including their Mum, Barbara.

The DVD includes an hour of footage not aired on TV, and whilst not bursting with extras it still has more than most music releases on the format. Video and audio quality are adequate for such a presentation, even if they'll hardly have your systems dressing up in white suits and punching the air underneath mirrorballs.

An absolutely essential purchase for any fans of the band, and perhaps even an eye opening experience for casual acquaintances or those that think the Bee Gees simply started and stopped along with the disco era.


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      And I quote...
    "The warts and all story of a band that are so much more than simply ludicrously lapelled white suits, impossibly high voices, gold chains and bad facial hair..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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