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The Great Pretender


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Product Details

  • Actors: Freddie Mercury
  • Directors: Freddie Mercury
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008NR92YC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,653 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Freddie Mercury was one of the most charismatic, complex and fascinating characters in British rock music. The story of Queen is a well known one but this new film focuses on Freddie Mercury and the solo projects he worked on outside of Queen. Using extensive archive footage of interviews with Freddie Mercury, concerts, video shoots and personal material, much of it previously unseen, along with new interviews with friends and colleagues, a portrait emerges of a man who was very different to his flamboyant onstage public persona. A generous, caring, thoughtful man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a genuine passion for music. Freddie Mercury touched the lives of millions through his career both with Queen and as a solo performer and this new program will delight and inform his legions of fans. / Bonus Features
Freddie Mercury goes solo / Extended interview with Montserrat Caballé / The making of Barcelona: Special Edition 2012 .

Customer Reviews

Love the music.
Luanne Foster
This DVD stands very well on its' own as a look into the great and far-reaching musical talent of Freddie Mecury.
Mary L. Williams
This explores the many facets of his creative and personal life.
BigI55

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Bug DeLug on September 26, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Let me start by stating that I am biased. I believe Freddie Mercury to be the greatest showman of the late 20th century. People talk about him being a one off, but that really is understating it. Michael Jackson was a one off too, but his style has been copied ad infinitum, whereas anybody foolish enough to try to copy what Freddie could do onstage would surely be laughed at. With seemingly sparse footage of him away from the stage and the band though, I wondered if this would be just the usual boring retread of the same well-worn anecdotes. When I saw the likes of Paul Gambaccini and Peter 'Phoebe' Freestone I became even more concerned. I shouldn't have been. Hearing them gleefully talking about Freddie in his heyday was fantastic.
So did the film live up to my expectations? No, in fact- it far succeeded them. I'd go as far as to say that this is actually superior to the Queen documentary, as a lot of this is unseen footage, and the story concentrates on certain aspects of Freddie's life that hasn't really been covered before. The Queen story is a fascinating one, but has been exhausted over the years, offering very little in the way of something new. This, on the other hand is full of fascinating material, and goes a long way towards humanising a great man. What it ultimately does though, is to make him seem more complicated, more complex and mysterious than ever before.
With lots of footage of Freddie offstage, and off-guard the film basically covers the solo years of the mid to late eighties, beginning with him discovering and falling in love with dance music in the gay clubs of New York and Munich. Based around an interview that Freddie gave to David Wiggs in which he talks about his love life, his career and his views on the future of the band at that point.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on September 28, 2012
Format: DVD
As I write this review, there are already two previous reviews, obviously by huge Freddie Mercury fans. I may be the first one posting a review who only really knows Mercury as part of the band Queen, and who can't honestly say that I prefer Queen to many other rock bands. Still, I'm giving this DVD five stars as an informative and entertaining music documentary.

I came to this DVD after watching - and reviewing here on Amazon - the music doc "Queen - Days of Our Lives" back in February 2012. It was produced and directed by the same team as this one and I found the earlier documentary well worth watching. This one is the same.

Fellow reviewer Bug DeLug - obviously a passionate Mercury fan - has gone into a lot of detail about this DVD, so there is no reason to repeat much of the info. I will try to expand on it.

The core program on this single DVD (I got the DVD, not the Bluray) is the 85-minute documentary. There are plenty of rare interviews with Mercury included and lots of archival footage. (The list of sources in the closing credits show how deep the producers dug.). There are contemporary interviews with critics, managers and two other members of Queen as well as Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe, who duetted with Mercury on their album "Barcelona". There's another 2 minutes of bonuses too:

Freddie Goes Solo is a 7-minute TV interview with Mercury from 1985 which was excerpted in the documentary
Extended interview with Caballe - also 7-minutes
The Making of "Barcelona 2012" - (5 minutes) in which the orchestrator who added a full symphonic score to the original album for release in 2012 and Caballe are interviewed.

Even if you are not a Mercury or Queen die-hard you'll find this DVD worth watching if you follow the pop music industry at all.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Great King Rat on September 25, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Queen and Freddie for nearly 30 years. The one problem with Queen related releases until now is that it tends to be a rehash of the same old stuff.
This release is something new and fresh. A humorous, intelligent look at a great entertainer. Wonderful interview clips either never or rarely seen before.
You really get a good feeling for what Freddie was like as an entertainer and a man.
At times you'll marvel at his outrageous flirting with his interviewer. Then in the next moment you'll be served up a rare snippet of him working a song in the studio.
I really don't think anything existed like this until now. The disc represents a beautifully created snapshot of Freddies life.
I hope old fans will give it a chance and rediscover and remember just how wonderful Freddie was. I hope new fans will buy this disc so they really get to experience the man behind some of the great songs of of the 70's and 80's.

Why are you still reading this? Get ordering!! :-)
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mark Norris on October 5, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Producing a documentary about Freddie Mercury by focusing on his most arcane work (the 1988 opera "Barcelona") is a bit like making a Beatles movie focusing on Side Two of "Yellow Submarine." Rhys Thomas gets high marks on his depth of research, digging up all sorts of never-before-seen clips of Mercury. Unfortunately, it's all cobbled together with no real sense of scope or chronology. The documentary begins, inexplicably, with the story of Mercury's ill-fated Michael Jackson duet, which was rightfully buried by both artists but has gained interest post mortem. We glide through Mercury's childhood and adolescence, which is in itself strange and unique enough for a documentary, but we never hear from Mercury's mother and sister, both of whom are still alive and full of stories. Instead, we get conjecture from questionable interview subjects like TV host Paul Gambaccini and comedian Matt Lucas from "Little Britain." There are some good anecdotes from Queen manager Jim Beach as well as Brian May and Roger Taylor, producers Reinhold Mack and David Richards, but notably absent was Mercury's lifelong best friend, Mary Austin.

Rhys Thomas doesn't seem too interested in the music of Queen -- their brilliant catalog from 1973 up to 1980's "The Game" was brutally chopped up and heaved into a 2-minute montage. But he has a keen eye for the salacious, including Mercury's most profane sound bytes and wild images of nightclubbery. He spends far too much time retelling the story of Mercury's sloppy "Mr. Bad Guy" solo album, when I'd much rather see video clips from his most iconic works, including "Radio Ga Ga," "We Will Rock You," "I'm Going Slightly Mad," "The Miracle," and "The Show Must Go On," all of which were entirely omitted from the film.
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