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Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 1
Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 1
DVD ~ Downton Abbey
Price: $19.47
35 used & new from $12.15

1,169 of 1,218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THE DUMBED DOWN PBS VERSION!, February 1, 2011
EDIT: I am revising my post and giving this 5 Stars instead of one as PartlyCloudy has kindly pointed out that my review of the PBS version has ended up under the "UK version". There is much confusion out there since the infamous Daily Mail article claimed that a full two hours of the original ITV series had been cut by PBS. Many claim the cuts are minor and unnoticeable. I'd venture to guess that about 35 minutes were edited out of the original, but more importantly, it was a hack job and many scenes do not play out as intended. Below is my slightly revised review of the PBS version which you should avoid at all costs:

Do not buy the so-called "dumbed down" PBS version of the outstanding British ITV series Downton Abbey. We watched the entire series with great joy while in the UK last year, and after excitedly telling our American friends to watch Downton Abbey on PBS, my husband and I looked at each other in horror and confusion as we watched one butchered scene after another. Don't be misled by those who recalculate the running time to account for the removal of commercials (from the ITV version) or the reformatting to shorten the series by increasing episode length (7 episodes in the UK, 4 longer episodes in the US). The fact is, SCENES WERE OMITTED AND OR TRUNCATED because as PBS Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton shamefully admitted, "American audiences demand a `different speed' to their shows." She also claimed that American audiences would have trouble understanding the complicated inheritance issues. Wow. This is an extraordinary admission from a PBS executive. Don't people turn to PBS for an intelligent alternative to the idiocy of American commercial television? I submit it is Rebecca Eaton who is dumb, not the PBS viewership.

There is apparently a Region 2 version of the unedited ITV series on Amazon (EDIT: and now we see there is an "unedited UK" version provided by PBS though I have not seen it and cannot attest that it's the actual ITV version), so just check your tech specs before buying or search elsewhere. And for the much anticipated season two of Downton Abbey when it premieres later this year, get a UK VPN and stream it from the ITV Player. Each episode remains available for streaming for several weeks after it airs. Note: Many inadvertently refer to this as a BBC series. It is in fact an ITV production.

Shame, shame, shame on Rebecca Eaton and PBS.
Comment Comments (57) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2014 3:44 PM PST


12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars MobileMe is a disaster., July 22, 2008
Whether you are an Apple customer or not, stay far away from this untested, ill-advised release. As a long time mac user I resent being forced into something I don't need and never asked for - that is, if you are a dotmac client you are automatically migrated into this mess. I was once proud to have a "@.mac" email address. Now it's ""? It's not only stupid it's presumptuous, and their response to the massive failure of its implementation is arrogant to say the least - an apology and one extra month free is hardly fitting considering the resulting aggravation and loss of business to thousands of customers (don't believe the "1%" lie either). The only solution is to scrap the whole thing and start over - WITH A BETA TEST! Loyalty has its limits.

One Night With Blue Note: The Historic All-Star Reunion Concert
One Night With Blue Note: The Historic All-Star Reunion Concert
DVD ~ One Night With Blue Note
Price: $16.98
31 used & new from $7.89

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best jazz film ever made, October 30, 2006
As has been noted by nearly every reviewer of the recently reissued DVD version of "One Night With Blue Note", the changes to the original film (made in 1985 and released on VHS and laserdisc) are controversial and questionable. No one can say the enhanced image and sound quality aren't improvements, and the additional music is certainly welcome, but this was a movie made by a filmmaker with a very clear intent - to show the intimate interplay between jazz musicians. This was accomplished through extended close-ups and very observant musical intercutting. Director John Jopson and Cinematographer Ernest Dickerson did a masterful job in capturing the personalities of the musicians and it seems a shame to randomly throw in audience shots from some other event - and in video format at that. (I wonder what those people think watching this DVD, seeing themselves enjoying a show they never attended.)

To film more than forty of the greatest jazz musicians in the world for over 3 hours is a daunting task. This movie was shot on film, not video, so there had to be film magazine changes every ten minutes on each of the multiple cameras. To do this without missing important moments is incredibly difficult and requires planning, a good ear, and spontaneity. On the original version there was a great interplay during one set where we see Freddie Hubbard's amazed reaction to Herbie Hancock's piano solo. This shot really said something - how these musicians can blow each other away. Throughout the film the Director doesn't hesitate to cut away to what the other musicians are doing, even during a solo. To be fair much of this artful editing is still intact, but it's a disservice to the filmmaker and the viewer to go back in and change the intent.

Most importantly, thanks to Bruce Lundvall and Michael Cuscuna the greatest night in jazz history has been well documented, and at least we know the original footage is still in the Blue Note vaults in case some future aficionado wants to restore the film to its original form for the next generation. Or how about releasing a Director's Cut? I'll bet everyone who owns the DVD would buy yet another version: We know from the CDs and the tracks that were removed from the original version (ie the Charles Lloyd and Stanley Jordan tunes) that there must be a lot of footage yet to be released.

Nevertheless the DVD version is still an incredible film and well worth the investment. If you're a jazz lover buy the DVD and look for the vhs or laserdisc on eBay. "One Night With Blue Note" is simply the best jazz movie ever made.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2011 11:42 AM PST

Thelonious Monk - Straight No Chaser
Thelonious Monk - Straight No Chaser
DVD ~ Jimmy Cleveland
Offered by cds_dvds_guaranteed
Price: $47.98
29 used & new from $19.86

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent film, October 29, 2006
Eastwood is a well known jazz lover and unfortunaely it takes a big name to get a good film made about jazz, so there aren't many around of such high quality. The great thing about jazz films is that you can play them over and over and you don't always have to be watching, even though this one is more than just music. Eastwood should make more profiles like this - there are many neglected jazz greats out there who need the bump. Highly recommended.

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