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Brian Wilson presents Smile

4.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 24, 2005)
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$199.99 $38.64

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This essential two-disc package features nearly four hours of material, including the Showtime documentary Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile, as well as an exclusive performance of Smile in its entirety. The collection also includes nearly two hours of bonus footage including never-before-seen interviews, performances, and recording session footage.

Track Listing and Content:
Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and The Story of Smile
Trailer for Beautiful Dreamer (Bonus Material)
Interview Highlights
Our Prayer
Heroes and Villains
Roll Plymouth Rock
Old Master Painter
You Are My Sunshine
Cabin Essence Wonderful
Song for Children
Child Is the Father of the Man
Surf's Up
I'm In Great Shape
I Wanna Be Around
On A Holiday
Wind Chimes
Mrs. O'Leary's Cow
In Blue Hawaii
Good Vibrations
Outakes (bonus material)
Brian Wilson Photo Gallery
Brian Wilson at the Piano
Brian Wilson Presents Smile featurette
Heroes and Villains Fan Video

"My face isn't able to smile," Brian Wilson confides to collaborator Van Dyke Parks in one of this comprehensive double-DVD set's poignant bonus interviews, "but my heart does."

Listen to our interview
with Brian Wilson
Using vintage clips and the frank insights of Brian's friends and colleagues, writer/producer/director David Leaf (a longtime Wilson confidant and author of the pioneering history The Beach Boys and the California Myth) charts the music legend's spectacular rise to stardom and the troubling gestation and subsequent abandonment of the 1967 album widely anticipated as Wilson's artistic coup de grace. But it's a tale with a triumphant, if 37-year-delayed third act: Smile's unlikely '04 album resurrection and subsequent London concert premiere. The second disc chronicles yet another victorious moment, the tour's glorious homecoming show at L.A.'s Disney Hall, captured with graceful camera work, crisp editing and a 5.1 sound mix that imparts every playful musical nuance. The bonus materials (which include interviews, London clips, a rewarding sessions featurette and a trove of Wilson piano performances, some featuring musicians Carol Kaye and Darian Sahanaja) help make the set a nearly four-hour Smile-lover's dream-come-true. But it's the documentary's candor, a willingness to address Wilson's troubled psyche head-on, that imparts its unusual dramatic gravitas, making its ultimate triumphs all the richer. Wilson aficionados will find few greater joys than seeing their hero back firmly in command behind a recording console--or leading an ecstatic live ensemble through a pop masterpiece long thought lost to the ages. --Jerry McCulley

Smile with the music of Brian Wilson


Gettin' in over My Head

Orange Crate Art

Pet Sounds Live

I Just Wasn't Made for These Times


Special Features

  • Feature-length documentary, "Beautful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the story of Smile"
  • Bonus "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" performance
  • Aftershow featurette from the Royal Festival Fall, London, February 2004
  • Interview highlights
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Solo Piano performances
  • Photo Gallery
  • Recording session featurette
  • "Heroes and Villains" contest-winning video
  • Audio features: 5.1 surround sound mix, 2.0 stereo mix, isolated soundtrack (documentary only), PCM stereo (concert only)

Product Details

  • Actors: Natalie Imbruglia, Elvis Costello, Michael Vosse, Paul McCartney, Van Dyke Parks
  • Directors: David Leaf, John Anderson
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Rhino Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2005
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007YKL2G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,747 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brian Wilson presents Smile" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: DVD
This set consists of two DVDs-- the first is the documentary, "Beautiful Dreamer", written and directed by David Leaf, the second is a live Smile show. I'll approach the discs out of order, as that's how I watched them.

The live set is fantastic-- I rarely find much interest in DVD music performances because they rarely capture the energy and power of the live shows, but this one did-- all of the power and energy of the live Smile shows I witnessed came back to me, something I feel is nearly impossible to capture. For those of you who didn't sit around anticipating these shows from the moment they were announced, its probably a bit hard to describe, but it really was an overwhelming thing to bear witness to. Some of this comes out nicely in the DVD.

The camera work is superb-- there were obviously several of them, and there was an eye to showing not just Brian Wilson, but his fantastic band as well. Its also clear the camera work was done by people familiar with the material as they would often focus on a particular musician during a moment when their work was featured. Sonically, this recording is also without parallel-- it sounds so good it could have been recorded in a studio.

The performance itself is what we've come to expect from the Brian Wilson band. Brian's group is approaches the music with a reverence and each of them is a superb musician in their own right (it would behoove any fan of Brian's material to check out Jeff Foskett, Scott Bennett, and Wondermint releases-- Brian's influence is all over them). What is probably most amazing is the effect this music has on Brian-- Nick Walusko points this out during the documentary-- Brian hasn't sounded this good in a long time.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Buy this DVD for:

- a brilliantly-shot and -recorded complete performance of SMiLE that will open the music up to you in a way that simply listening to the CD never will. Worth the price of admission for this alone.

- some fascinating behind-the-scenes footage shot during the CD recording sessions.

- some revealing and often moving sequences shot during the process leading up to the debut performance of SMiLE in London in 2004 (contained in the "Beautiful Dreamer" documentary).

Do not buy this DVD for:

- the true story of why the Beach Boys' original "Smile" was never finished, and why Brian Wilson essentially disappeared for the next 25 years.

"Beautiful Dreamer" is an interesting addition to the ever-growing list of books and documentaries about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, but it shouldn't be your only source if you're looking for a balanced view.

Produced by and largely populated by current Wilson insiders, "Beautiful Dreamer" tries very hard to whitewash the story that's been told and re-told by many others who were there at the time. Dismissing any discussion of the destructive power of drugs (drug use only served to expand Brian's consciousness and make him more productive, we're told) or of any form of mental illness other than "undiagnosed depression," the film lays the blame for the abandonment of "Smile" at the feet of... the other Beach Boys. Apparently it was their rejection of the work that sent Brian into that 25-year spin.

I don't criticize the film for not trying to tell Wilson's complete life story. The focus here is on SMiLE, as it should be.
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This may very well be the best music DVD released to date. The "SMiLE" CD was remarkable, but having the visuals along with the music, and seeing the band work their magic is an amazing experience.

When the "SMiLE" CD came out it spoiled me for listening to other music. I didn't listen to anything else for about 4 months. Now the DVD is out and it has spoiled me for listening to the CD.

"SMiLE" is an incredible body of work and this DVD set, from the exquisite packaging to the bonus materials on the 2 discs, is absolutely first rate. I had previously seen "Beautiful Dreamer" but it's well worth another look. My favorite moment is the climax of the London concert when the camera pans to Van Dyke Parks sitting in the audience with tears streaming down his face. Talk about sweet vindication!

If you don't love this DVD you don't have a heart.

I will be seeing Brian Wilson and "SMiLE" live this summer, I may never recover. :)
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Format: DVD
The David Leaf documentary, found on Disc 1, is a remarkable, stark and suprisingly honest tale of Brian Wilson, his creative brilliance and struggles, and the re-creation of "Smile" at long last. That's a fine program, and well worth your time.

But what's the real selling point for this set, is the live performance of "Smile" found on Disc 2. This was filmed on a soundstage for a specially invited audience, and is certainly somewhat "staged".

Brian and his band have never sounded better than on this recording. They're sharp as ever, but the energy and excitement that all involved have in performing "Smile" is striking and infectuous. Brian looks to be truly relishing in his great work - smiles abound, and his live vocals have never been this clean since his return to the stage.

The mix might be one of the finest live pop DVD presentations you'll ever here. The huge ensemble's varied instruments are amazingly clear, and the sound roars out of your speakers. For such a "sensitive" piece, it rocks hard.

For those of us lucky enough to have attended one of the "Smile" concerts, this is a wonderful souvenir. For those that didn't make it to a concert, now you'll see what all the excitement was about.

As for the bonus features - they're hit and miss. The interview/discussions between Brian and Van Dyke Parks are charming, even rather illuminating. Brian's solo interviews are less so, but pleasant. The solo piano clips are less interesting - "Heroes and Villains" is hardly anything one would want to hear a solo piano play.

Of all the bonus materials, the featurette on the "Smile" recording sessions is the big winner.
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