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Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

Joe Hunter , Jack Ashford , Paul Justman  |  PG |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (459 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Hunter, Jack Ashford, Uriel Jones, Richard 'Pistol' Allen, Bob Babbitt
  • Directors: Paul Justman
  • Writers: Alan Slutsky, Ntozake Shange, Walter Dallas
  • Producers: Alan Slutsky, David Scott, Janice Ginsberg, Jonathan Dana
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), English (DTS ES 6.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (459 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008J2HC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director/producer audio commentary: Paul Justman/Allan Slutsky trivia track
  • Multi-angle jam session
  • Music video montage
  • Dinner with the Funk Brothers
  • Hit song sing-along lyrics
  • Featurette: "At Long Last Glory"
  • Featurette: "The Ones That Didn't Make It"
  • Interactive: virtual recording studio
  • Full movie playable in Hi-Resolution Windows Media 9 Series from your PC's DVD-ROM
  • Funk video biographies
  • Three full-length BMW films: Beat the Devil, Hostage, Ticker

Editorial Reviews

Detroit, Michigan, 1959. Berry Gordy gathers the best musicians from the city's thriving jazz and blues scene for his new record company: Motown. For the next 14 years these players are the heartbeat on "My Girl," "Baby Love," "Ooo Baby Baby," "Bernadette," "I Was Made To Love Her," "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Dancing In The Street," and every other hit from Motown's Detroit era. By the end of their phenomenal run, the unheralded group of musicians plays on more Number One hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles combined, making them the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music. They call themselves the Funk Brothers. But no one knows their names...this is their story.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
210 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who questioned why....... April 30, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I read a few reviewers questioning why the production didn't involve the original singers to sing the songs. Please note that this documentary is about Funk Brothers. By using contemporary singers to accompany the original rhythm section, the film proves to the viewers how Motown music is in it's musicians, especially the rhythm section. Also if Diana, Stevie, or Smokey would get on stage to sing a song or two, they'd definitely demand star treatment. This will DEFEAT THE PURPOSE.
For those who demand to know more about The Temps, Tops, Supremes, and Miracles etc., please either read their autobiographies, watch made-for-TV movies, or listen to their box sets. This movie is about the Funk Brothers, not Motown singers. This film is to celebrate the brothers' contribution to American pop music and to finally validate their hard work, creativity, and how they influenced generations of future musicians.
If you watched a documentary, at least be aware of the subject matter before you criticize the production.
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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got Soul...? November 27, 2002
"Standing in the Shadows of Motown," is an absolute delight. It's the story of the "Funk Brothers," an integrated group of musicians who were the soul behind the soul. As the house band for Motown they were the sound that propelled more number one hits than the Beach Boys, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the great Elvis combined. These guys invented the groove. The movie is a straightforward collection of conversations, documentary concert footage, and reunion concert footage, with a few dramatized bits thrown in for texture and comic relief. At the beginning of the movie, someone said that "Deputy Dawg" would have sounded good backed up by the "Funk Brothers." The point is proven by the reunion footage that has good singers giving outstanding performances with the most laid back band in the world. By the end of the movie you not only like and admire these guys, you get to see how much they liked each other. They had to. Not only were a few of the personalities troubled, but it seems they never stopped working, and had to supplement their Motown payroll with gigs around town. See this movie, see who was standing behind the top soul singers of the 60's and 70's, and enjoy the groove.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Untold Story May 15, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Finally, the story of the fabulous musicians of Motown is starting to be told. The movie spends a little too much time lamenting the fact that the Funk Brothers are unknown, but then spends the rest of the move celebrating the triumphs and challenges of the greatest hit machine the world has ever seen. Great stuff!
As a musician, I had two reactions to this movie:
1) Make it longer! I want to know and hear everything!
2) Wow, Motown music was MUCH more complex than I ever imagined when I was listening on cheap radios in my youth. These guys were basically jazz musicians, and the productions were very complex. If I had realized the level of musicianship that went in to these songs, I wouldn't have been so eager to do simple rock n' roll cover versions in my high-school and college bands. Doesn't mean the music isn't great, however.
Here's hoping that the Funk Brothers realize the fruits of the success that they obviously deserve. Enjoy the music!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a low down, dirty SHAME... August 10, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
That these men, known as the Funk Brothers have not gotten the recognition they so rightly deserve. That stirring bassline you hear on "What's Going On?" The Funk Brothers put that down. The timeless guitar lick you hear at the beginning of "My Girl"? Funk Brothers. The list goes on and on.
Right off the top, random people are asked if they are familiar with Motown. Yes, each one says. Then they are asked if they know who played the music for those Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Temptations, Marvin Gaye songs. NO, they all answer, one even guesses "The Pips". It's sad to know the world just doesn't know who these men were/are. Until now. Where was Berry Gordy during the filming of this documentary? It is heartbreaking these men got absolutely no props (awards, notable mentions) during the pinnacle of their careers. But such is the plight of a truly talented musician most times. Heard, but never seen.
I watched this movie amazed at the extreme talent these men had and still do. The live performances with them laying down the original bass grooves, guitar licks and rythym arrangements AS HEARD ON THE ORIGINAL RECORDS as they were first recorded, are amazing. They said it themselves, the music is what made the song. Anyone can lay vocals down, but the groove is what stays in your soul.
The antecdotes (with reenactments) were comical and tragic. The scene with the original FB driving in a car one snowy night reminiscing on their traveling days is priceless. (pigfeet and cigars? lol) I love the black and white shot of the little boy with a home-made guitar at the ant hill and house. There is too much to mention about this film.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mesmerizing! July 15, 2004
i loved this eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the incredible musicians responsible for so many of those #1 Motown hits.
long overdue. it's too bad that some of the guys passed on before the film was made and hardly received the respect and glory while alive.
last, hardly least: joan osborne's version of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" just may bring tears to your eyes.
(Having been a great fan of music for many years) i am ashamed/embarrassed to admit that until this movie i had no real idea how gifted a singer this woman truly is.
i sat in awe as she belted out this song and could not stop myself from playing it a few more times after the initial viewing of the film.
i guess there is no alternative for me, but to go out and buy a CD or two by this great talent.
see this DVD. it's a gem. thank you, funk brothers, for enriching our lives through your magical gifts!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very happy with purchase.
Published 7 hours ago by Dug
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for your collection if you are into Motown
very good quality in the DVD
Published 2 days ago by Richard Casarez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Outstanding documentary about how Motown worked!
Published 8 days ago by george panagiotou
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good
Published 8 days ago by Joseph Frankel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 days ago by Ronnie
5.0 out of 5 stars Standing in the Shadows of Motown
This is one of the ultimate Motown history lessons. This film offers insight on how the Funk Brothers came to be and somehow were pushed into the background. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Terri Sutton
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrate the funk
If you danced, sang, and loved to Motown, you need to watch this and see where a lot of the magic came from. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Oddly Opinionated
5.0 out of 5 stars ... covering the creators of the Motown Sound interjected with awesome...
Outstanding documentary covering the creators of the Motown Sound interjected with awesome musical performances by talented vocal artists.
Published 13 days ago by bill scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved hearing the different drummers and their distinct styles as ...
Loved hearing the different drummers and their distinct styles as well as the guitarists, especially the opening guitar for "The Way You Do the Things You Do"
Published 13 days ago by peecee
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best musical documentaries I've ever seen
One of the best musical documentaries I've ever seen. This review is being posted on the fourth copy I've purchased to give to others who I know will enjoy it as well.
Published 20 days ago by Karen D. Greene
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