All That Jazz – Blu-ray/DVD Combo Edition

all that jazz blu rayIt turns out I was wrong when I expected to put in this blu-ray/DVD, a re-release of the 1979 feature, and watch an upbeat fluff piece of a musical. This film is a look into the life of an artist’s indulgences, as he faces his own mortality. A semi-autobiographical tale on the part of director Bob Fosse, it incorporates all the required elements of a musical (including some of the schlock) while attempting to critique the actions of a self centered man.

Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider – Jaws, TV’s Seaquest DSV) is both a musical and film director who is addicted to prescription drugs and women. Joe spends all his time attempting to balance his career with his personal life. He is desperately trying to be a good father to his daughter, a good ex-husband to the mother of his child (Leland Palmer – Broadway actress), a good companion to his girlfriend (Ann Reinking – Annie), a perfectionist at work, and a lover extraordinaire. All this proves to be more than one man can handle.

The musical numbers are elaborate and well staged. Bob Fosse is clearly an innovator as a director and choreographer, though some of that is lost on me as I am not a dance aficionado. I found the closing sequence to be terribly dated and, well, cheesy, but the interviews contained in the extra features assure me that it was a brilliant interpretation of the song “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards the film won 4 including Best Music. Watch for Ben Vereen as himself, a small role for John Lithgow, and a very young Jessica Lange.

Special Features:

-New Interviews with Helm and Fosse Biographer Sam Wasson

-New Conversation Between Actors Ann Reinking and Erzebet Foldi

-Episode of the Talk Show Tomorrow from 1980 Featuring Director Bob Fosse and Choreographer Agnes De Mille

-Interviews with Bob Fosse from 1981 and 1986

-On-Set Footage

-Portrait of Choreographer

-The Soundtrack: Perverting the Standards

-Interview with George Benson from 2007

-Booklet Featuring an Essay by Critic Hilton Als

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