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4.5 out of 5 stars
Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 1, 2005
Format: DVD
"Close To You - Remembering the Carpenters", is a touching DVD that recalls the career of the Carpenters and the life of Karen Carpenter. Richard Carpenter is the primary "host", although there are many others who contribute stories and information about the Carpenters, such as Petula Clark, Joe Osborne, Les Paul, Herb Alpert, Burt Bacharach, and members of the Carpenter band.

The DVD tells the entire story of Richard and Karen, from their childhoods in New Haven, Connecticut, their family move across the country to Downey, California (to further Richard's budding career as a musician), their meteoric rise to the top of the pop music charts, and finally the tragic end with Karen's death from complications from anorexia nervosa. Along the way, there are wonderful clips from many of their major hit songs, how the songs were "born", and how Richard's genius at arranging the songs made them hits. It is all very well done, a quality production in every detail, and it does an excellent, although brief job at introducing the Carpenters career. I had hoped that there would be more details of the Carpenters personal lives, but this is just barely touched upon or hinted at in the DVD. Personal details would have so enriched this DVD and helped the fans of the Carpenters understand the duo even better. The DVD states that for additional information, one is directed to the book by Ray Coleman, "The Carpenters: The Untold Story : An Authorized Biography". I highly recommend this book to any fan that wishes more information about the Carpenters, as it provides additional details about their lives.

To anyone who views this DVD, please do not turn off the TV after the post-production credits run! There is an encore after the credits that you will not want to miss! I missed it the first time I watched the DVD, as I was partially overcome with grief at the scenes of Karen's funeral.

For Carpenter fans, this DVD will be a cherished item in our collections. I would like to give it 10 stars if I could.

Jim "Konedog" Koenig
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 22, 2002
Format: DVD
If you are a fan of the Carpenters, this DVD will be a welcome addition to your collection. The disc offers quite a lot of information and footage: the documentary itself covers the Carpenters from their beginnings as a jazz trio to the A&M hits to Karen's tragic death at the age of 32. The disc has lots of extras too: A portion of the Carpenters performance at the White House, some of their commercials, and a listing of singles and albums in the discography section. Really a lot to like...
Being a documentary, fans should understand that this is NOT a concert film. Some reviewers are upset that the songs aren't played in their entirety. Again, it's not a concert DVD. Buy the CD's.
The biggest disappointment for me is the lack of understanding we come away with of Karen (and Richard too, for that matter). The DVD tells briefly about Karen's wedding, but doesn't even mention who she married!!! What was it that made Karen such a tragic figure? What is Richard doing now and how did the end of the Carpenters change his life? Maybe I'm asking for too much and maybe all this is still too painful for the family to deal with. I don't think fans are asking for tabloid-type reporting. I do think a lot of fans sincerely want to know what was going through Karen's mind, what demons she was dealing with and what Richard is dealing with now. Maybe that's too much for them to present to the general public. Be glad that the Carptenters gave us some great music and some great memories, many of which are captured on this DVD.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2002
Format: DVD
This is an excellent documentary on the Carpenters, and it gives a great deal of information on them from the the time they were born, in New Haven, Conn., up until Karen Carpenter's death in Downey, Calif., on Feb. 4, 1983. It is mostly, however, Richard Carpenter, and close friends, discussing the Carpenters, with a lot of brief cuts of songs included. Almost no song is played from start to finish. It says almost nothing on Karen Carpenter's stuggles with anorexia nervosa, and for that the viewer will want look at documentarties from "A & E", "E", and "VH-1" on the Carpenters. The VHS tape offered a lot of extra that the PBS airing, in Dec. 1997, did not. The DVD offers a great deal of extras that the VHS tape did not. Yet for people who buy the all-region DVD from overseas, be aware, that it does not include the extras the U.S. DVD does. The overseas DVD only includes the Photo Gallery. It does NOT include the Discography, the Previously unreleased TV and Radio Jingles, nor the Carpenters at the White House. This may not mean anything to people in the U.S., but, people overseas might wonder what ever happened to all the extras promised? I do recommend this DVD, and I hope if there's another Carpenters DVD release--it will be the "Carpenters Live in Concert". I also hope it will be sold in the U.S., and not just Japan, such as the outstanding "As Time Goes By" CD was.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2003
Format: DVD
I have listened to the Carpenters since I was probably 14 or 15, now I am 26 - that is a long time. I was not even exposed to their music directly, but rather got drawn to it through a movie called The Karen Carpenter Story (but strange I can't find that movie anywhere!)
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that having been a big fan of the duo for over ten years says something about the quality of their music. I have just seen this DVD and this has fulfilled my dream of seeing them performing live from their earliest days. Sure these are not complete music videos, but the story, interviews, footages (the White House concert, etc.) presented are a thrill to watch. Any of us can listen the Karen's music anytime on CDs, but seeing her live when she was alive and well is priceless. And oh, that hauntingly, angelically beautiful voice !!!
The thing I like most about the DVD is how it makes you love the Carpenters even more after watching it. Own it and you will fall in love with the Carpenters all over again.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2003
Format: DVD
Richard knew how to use his sister's voice well. He knew her range, limit, and potential. Karen lived up to Richard's expectations and in return, the world was given a great star. Say what you will about the Carpenters entire body of work but no matter the opinion, the Carpenters legacy will live on forever. Karen's voice will forever be unmatched as it is stilled by her sudden and tragic death. The dvd offers a glimpse of their body of work via clips, interviews, and snippits of video and promo film of their songs. Commercials featuring the Carpenters are here, as is a radio promo jingle. All recorded with catcy hooks and Karen's surreal warm voice. Memories of Karen are shared by Phil Ramone, Dorothy Hamill, Petula Clark, Paul Williams, John Bettis, and a host of others. There are snippits of the various Carpenters music specials and one that stands out is the Ella Fitzgerald/Karen medley recorded for "Music, Music, Music." Looking at the smile across Karen's face, she was thrilled to be performing with Ella, whose voice by the time of this special, became husky and was more an instrument of emtional interpretation. The rare Japanese commercials and the Morton potato chip company are here and are all catchy. With the dvd, there is an extended interview with Richard and a snippit of Karen singing "Merry Christmas Darling" from their Christmas special. Richard has gone on with his life and career, producing posthumus albums featuring work leads, outtakes, and unreleased live versions of their hits, and solo albums. Karen's solo album, produced in 1979 by Phil Ramone, was shelved until 1996. As of this writing, there is rumored another version of Karen's album is in the works featuring all the tracks recorded in New York.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
If you believe that some people are born with a talent, Karen Carpenter proves this. Her deep, hauntingly beautiful voice had to have been a gift from God. Richard Carpenter's knack for creating number one hits from jingles and short movie themes is pure genius. This video chronicles the amazing career of two truly gifted superstars. I may be 22, but the Carpenters are my favorite group.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I first time I saw "Remembering the Carpenters" was on TV. I was flipping channels, bored with commercials, and for a flash I thought I saw the Carpenters. "No way" I thought, then putting the remote into reverse, and to my surprise "Yes" it was "The Carpenters", and for a moment I was back in time; remembering exactly where I was the first time I heard "Close to You". I was a teenager again ready to graduate from high school, and now I was seeing my favorite brother/sister duo again, singing some of my most favorite songs. They had my undivided attention, and I only hoped I could someday have a copy of this on tape. Karen and Richard have always been #1 in my heart and their music will always live on and be a part of my life and that of many people who remember the Carpenter's Legacy. I can relate many of the Carpenter's songs in the video to a particular year or event within my life. The traditional "Merry Christmas Darling" is played every year at Christmas and this release has made special memories for many people, including myself. Christmas would not be the same without hearing this song. When listening to their sound in the video, you know they were unique and the lyrics are those you need not worry about playing with mom and dad and even the kids around. Their music will make you laugh or cry and even sing along in your car. Role models such as the Carpenters are unheard of today. Their sound was fine tuned, original and could never be replicated. I love Richard and Karen and would like to thank those who made this video "Remembering the Carpenters" possible and for sharing all the songs I grew up with, treasure and continue to listen to today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2003
Format: DVD
I have reviewed "Close to You-Remembering the Carpenters" DVD earlier; so I am writing to all those people who asked for a "Carpenters, Live in Concert" DVD. According to the Grant Guerrero website; there is a "Carpenters, Live at Budokan,(1974)" Concert DVD. It was released Only in Japan in 2002. It has the same content as the VHS tape of the same, which many Carpenter fans already own. I am sure the sound and video has been upgraded to the DVD level. The only way a USA person can see this DVD is if they have an all-region DVD player, or a DVD player that can play Japan-region DVDs. I wonder if A & M/Universal has any real regard for the USA Carpenter fan.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
This documentary is an amazing step back into an innocent period of music in 1970's America. Told through various interviews and snippets of some of their greatest songs, one truly gets a feeling for who Karen and Richard Carpenter really were. The hair and the clothing styles are shockingly laughable (but what were you wearing then?) and the wholesomeness is just too much. However, the film is quick to point out that these visuals were a product of bad marketing on A&M's account and not on the Carpenters themselves. Actually Karen was a true hip fun spirit who's first love was the drums with singing coming later - and what a voice it was!
Starting with Richard's early 60's bands, the film goes on to explain how Karen got into the picture and turned the group into the biggest selling American group of the period. Over 100 million records were sold!
Sure, there are those progressive scenes where Karen gets thinner and thinner and it can be tough to watch, but the whole idea is to understand that Karen Carpenter was the first celebrity to put a face on anorexia. It was a terrible lesson and the documentary leaves you wondering what incredible things would have been had she survived it all.
Richard Carpenter is shown to be a worthy and talented arranger, but his pomposity can be grating, leaving the viewer wishing for more of Karen, but alas, there are no vocal interviews with her here.
A moving film filled with great anecdotes, history and music; you'll enjoy it. Extras include several Japanese pop-commericals and a great segment on the Carpenters visiting the Nixon White House and performing there. That alone is worth the price!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2000
Format: DVD
This very interesting DVD on The Carpenters goes into great detail,telling us their history-the struggles before success,including previous groups that they were in like Spectrum and the struggle for success with complete rejection by record companies.It details their first garage recording with a small record company which went under.The first TV performance when they were unknown,the first single success,how Richard found songs to record,the constant touring with its ups and downs,the Grammy awards,the problems with Karen's anorexia nervosa and her eventual death.It has interviews with Richard Carpenter,Herb Alpert(and how he discovered them),Burt Bacharach,Petula Clark,Les Paul,Paul Williams and members of Richards band.It has numerous songs(although not the whole versions, except for a few but the excerpts of songs are long)The DVD has loads of extras-the White House concert showing them live doing whole songs,Ava Maria(outstanding vocal performance),a lovely Christmas song,ads,record lists.All in all,an outstanding DVD.I hope that they bring out another one of them live in concert one day or maybe put their TV specials on DVD.
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