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Janis: The Way She Was [VHS] (1974)

Janis Joplin , Peter Albin , Howard Alk  |  R |  VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, Dave Getz, James Gurley
  • Directors: Howard Alk
  • Writers: Howard Alk, Seaton Findlay
  • Producers: Howard Alk, F.R. Crawley, Seaton Findlay
  • Format: NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Mca
  • VHS Release Date: July 1, 1991
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300183505
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,007 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Janis: The Way She Was FORMAT: [VHS]

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary shows the heart, and spirit of Janis September 26, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This 1974 documentary contains some of Janis Joplin's best performances as well as some great spontaneous interviews. It has her incredible performance of Ball and Chain at Monterey ('67), some Cheap Thrills studio sessions ('68), Woodstock ('69), and Calgary ('70). She blows away the audience on Dick Cavett with Move Over and breaks down during the High School reunion interviews. Where she came from in Port Arthur, TX is such a contrast to who she was. And who she was was the incarnation of the Spirit of the 1960s counter-culture.

We get 2 great performances of Piece of My Heart, one of Tell Mama, Try, and Summertime both live and in studio. If you really get into this you might, just might, see God in Janis. She seeps sexuality in her performances, and reveals substantial depth of insight and intellect when interviewed. Even as we are in the midst of our 21st century Brittany Spears culture, we can go back to this and know there was once an unflinching soaring eagle in free flight.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Janis March 2, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is a fascinating documentary. Those who read about Janis in "Buried Alive" will especially enjoy this movie, as the two compliment each other quite well. For example, the high school reunion scene in the movie takes on added meaning if you know what was going on behind the scenes. Musically, I believe the Full Tilt '70 footage is the best in the movie. Strangely, the order of the music footage in the film is as follows: '66, '67, '70, '68, '69. In my opinion, the '69 footage is the weakest, but the director probably wanted to show the amazing contrast between Janis in '67 and Janis in '70 by putting the film together as he did. The film of the recording of "Cheap Thrills" is great too. It sure was fun to watch Janis fooling around a bit for the camera as a take of "Summertime" that we just watched her make is played back for her. Finally, I guarantee you'll get choked up when the photo montage rolls at the end as "Me and Bobby McGee" plays. Janis fan? Buy this video!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great footage August 27, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Janis contains footage any Janis Joplin fan will appreciate. There are roughly a dozen killer live performances that really show how she belted out that emotion, including songs performed at Woodstock, Monterey Pop, and the Dick Cavett Show. There are also alternate versions of a few songs, such as a slightly different "Summertime". You get a glimpse into the recording studio and even get to see clips from her ten-year high school reunion. This video is worth every penny, especially since video of Janis Joplin seems so scarce... all that I have found is Monterey Pop VHS, Janis VHS, and the Woodstock DVD. Technically, I guess I could also count American Pop.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw/Powerful/Fragile June 18, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I was born the year after she died. I found "Pearl" in my parents albums and instantly wondered about the flamboyant old looking young woman on the cover. Listening at first made me wonder how does someone who sings like that make a record or make money. I couldn't help but listen again and again. I had to know more, hear more, and see more. This video gave me the opportunity to see the emotion purging, unbridled performances as close to live as I will ever get. I am sure that if she watched the video there would be several sections of songs she would cringe at, but all and all the performances are like no woman before or after. The interviews range from confident/eloquent and quick witted to selfconscious and painful. I have watched, and made my friends watch this video a million times and would recommend it to anyone who has a slight interest in Janis. I hope they release it on dvd as video becomes obselete. There are some different songs and clips on VH1's Behind the Music Legends, Biography, Lifetime's Intimate Portrait, Ed Sullivan Video, Women in Rock, Nine Hundred Nights-The Story of Big Brother And The Holding Co., The Lost Woodstock Performances and The Best of the Hollywood Palace...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
this documentary is great for the simple fact that you get to watch and hear janis perform and be interviewed. Its all we have. It true however that there is no insight into her personal or professional problems,and some of the vocals are strained beyond all reasonable limits. At one point during a concert in canada,she actually stumbles on stage,clearly drunk. But all told,i have watched it 7 times and love it despite its shortcomings. I have to reccomend it highly if only because we have no other film/documentary focusing only on Joplin. Last words on subject,there are some astonishing performances here. buy it.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Details and Impressions August 4, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I come from my first viewing of this film with an idea of why Janis' spirit is so troubling for many who shared the period with her.
The interviews:
One first notices how uptight, repressed, and dated the interviewers dress and act. I doubt they were reacting to Janis' persona or reputation. They and many of their viewers were just that way. Cavett's outfit is laughable (and Janis does so). Questions were mostly inane but Janis generally rises above them to give us a clear view of who she is. Except at the reunion, she is completely at ease.
Did you know that Dick Cavett is still on the air, announcing for the Detroit Symphony's broadcasts? Wouldn't you like to ask him about the interview?
The reunion:
As has been written before, this ill-concieved foray was nearly her undoing. Janis seemed near tears as interviewers pressed her with more inane, repetitive questions. Again, she was surrounded by serious caricatures of the uptight, repressed 'straight' '60s society she came from but she appears to us as 'just Janis'.
Performances:
While others onstage exhibit extreme, period-identifiable and attention-grabbing excesses of costume and behavior, she dresses much as we all do today. Minimum makeup and adornment that would distract from her uncompromised message.
Did you notice, her slight S. Texas accent is only apparent in the sequences at the class reunion. Conclusion:
While most performers of all periods are somewhat unidimensional, Janis is 'bright and articulate', but can instantly and seamlessly change to 'desperately passionate'. Both phases are the same person, a concept she constantly and eloquently tries to sell to an unprepared world. It is no wonder that she 'wore out' so quickly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Sing it…
I guess my main concern with this film is that it plays out far more like a concert special than a documentary. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish she had not
I love her so I wish she did not have to go, I also wish this came in Blue Ray it is still on VHS but so glad I found it at all.
Published 9 months ago by Sunny White
4.0 out of 5 stars THE WAY SHE WAS...AS REFLECTED IN HER MUSIC.
How disappointing that this remarkable performance film is not currently on DVD (in North America anyway). Read more
Published 20 months ago by Gregor von Kallahann
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible footage of one the best stage performers ever!
Amazing live performances captured on film are the reason to see to see this.

The interviews with Janis don't reveal much, and there's no real sense of her history. Read more
Published on June 15, 2010 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Janis Joplin Tape Review
This is an excellent tape with 14 songs and several interviews. I have watched it many times since purchasing the tape. The tape plays very well and sounds great.
Published on January 30, 2010 by Tim Barrette
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film about Janis Joplin.
This film chronicles the life and times, of singer Janis Joplin. She was one of the most important rock icon, of the 60s. Read more
Published on December 28, 2009 by S. Spears
4.0 out of 5 stars Janis: The Way She Was
Awesome video. Interviews and performances are special. There is not much out there on Janis which is why this is such a great video. Read more
Published on December 26, 2009 by bobaroo
5.0 out of 5 stars janis
the movie- I made my dad sit through it twice, when I was a kid.
Published on September 13, 2009 by Donna
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary! Must have for fans
Unfortunately I was not around when Janis hit the scene, however, watching this video makes me realize who she was as a person and entertainer. Read more
Published on August 26, 2009 by iluv2befit
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Janis fans
If you can get a hold of this rarity - do. Someday this should be digitalized and remastered on to DVD, but right now we're talking about them ol' VHS tapes. Read more
Published on July 6, 2009 by coot veal
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