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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English: Linear PCM Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 6 Additional footage - Various performances
  • Audio commentary
  • Featurette - Making of Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Photo gallery
  • Interviews

Queen: The DVD Collection - Greatest Video Hits 1

EMI/EMI . R4 . COLOR . 133 mins . E . PAL

  Feature
Contract

When Queen first emerged back in the '70s the time was right for bands that were a little different, a little eccentric maybe, and certainly right for bands that knew how to exploit the latest concept, the video clip. So much of the '70s was about image, be it glam, rock, disco, or punk. Many bands thankfully disappeared up their own backsides, whilst others went onwards and upwards, buoyed by the variety of their sound and their ability to always be offering something new, both aurally and visually.

Boasting university degrees all, the four members of Queen knew from the start that there was money to be made from being flash, grandiose, and outrageous bordering on shocking. Of course, the things that shocked in the '70s would be lucky to raise an eyebrow now, but the world was a little more innocent and naive back then, and so much slipped past the censors while other seemingly less offensive gimmicks, lyrics, and images were banned. The very name of the band itself should have been enough to alert even the most stupid critic that this was no ordinary band. Throw Freddie Mercury out the front, and you have the campest British institution since Butlins. Strange then, that the world would love them so.

So what made them so great? Well even before Bohemian Rhapsody their intricate yet catchy song arrangements were quite something. Boasting multi-layered vocals and instruments, their music was almost impossible to categorise. Even within the same album, you'd find hard rock, 1930s flavoured whimsy, boogie, ballads and funk, amongst other styles. Of course, having all four members contributing songs helped maintain the variety, and all were talented musicians, producers, arrangers, and singers.

Their stage shows are quite legendary, and Freddie's ability to work a crowd and have them eating from the palm of his hand is unmatched. It's only fitting then that their videos should show the same kind of flair, creativity, titillation, and the camp humour that Freddie was so loved for. This release boasts 16 clips from 1973 through to 1980 (presumably Volume II will pick up the rest) and is a wonderful reminder of what a great band they were. Their biggest moments are here such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and We Will Rock You. There are also some lesser known, though no less catchy, inclusions such as Spread Your Wings, and Don't Stop Me Now.

An interesting inclusion is the video for Bicycle Race, which includes some footage that was thought lost, and caused quite a stir upon release. The sight of naked girls riding their bikes around Wembley Stadium was a little too much for the record company wowsers at the time, but the original is included here, so pacemakers at the ready, Granddad!

Queen fans have no doubt already added this to their collection, but so should casual fans. Watching Freddie is always a treat, and this DVD is a wonderful homage to a great all-round performer, and a reminder that there will only ever be one frontman for Queen, and that sadly he will be greatly missed for a long time to come.

Track listing:

Bohemian Rhapsody
Another One Bites the Dust
Killer Queen
Fat Bottomed Girls
Bicycle Race
You’re My Best Friend
Don’t Stop Me Now
Save Me
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Somebody to Love
Spread Your Wings
Play The Game
Flash
Tie Your Mother Down
We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions

  Video
Contract

Not surprisingly, the quality of this release is extremely varied and never razor sharp, but the newest stuff on it is almost 25 years old, so expecting anything else would be unreasonable. All videos are presented an anamorphically enhanced 1.75:1 aspect ratio and therefore have almost certainly been 'cropped'. One can only hope, and assume, that what has been cut off the top and bottom is not essential. As said, none of the videos are razor sharp, but there has still been some effort put in. The 'newer' clips do look a little sharper.

Colours are generally good, though being filmed in a combination of film and video, and stored goodness knows where, it's quite pleasing that they have lasted this well. There is some noticeable grain in many of the older videos and issues with noise, but not having seen some of these videos for years, and even then on VHS, this wins hands down over that format. There is also some colour bleeding, but this is minimal. The taped BBC footage is actually of quite a high quality.

A number of the clips are slightly affected by flecks, marks and specks of all varieties, some worse than others. There is also some very minor shimmer, but it's a very minor quibble. Shadow detail is the only real worry through many of the videos, but all still scrub better than I have seen elsewhere. In summary, while the video quality overall is not brilliant, neither is it bad, and is quite acceptable given the age and quality of the source material.

  Audio
Contract

Purists note, all videos on Disc One have been remixed into a bloody brilliant DTS 5.1 mix, and are all the better for it. Those who still cling to 2.0 stereo can relax, for there is a PCM stereo mix for you, and while that sounds fine, the DTS 5.1 24/96 is easily the audio choice (for the DTS compatible of course).

Queen's music is characterised by intricate and extensive arrangements with vocal-heavy choruses and backing that really needs a 5.1 mix to 'breathe’. Right from the first note, you can tell that a lot of effort has gone into spacing out the instruments and vocals. It really is quite surrounding and encompassing. All channels are used extensively.

The mix is well balanced and no instrument or vocal dominates or gets lost. The dynamic range is quite staggering, with rich bass and crisp trebles. All vocals are clearly audible and you can get a better appreciation of what Freddie and the boys could do. Be prepare also to hear instruments and backing vocals you've never heard before, such is the clarity and space that these songs have been afforded.

Look, I could ramble for hours. Suffice it to say that this is one great DTS 5.1 mix and serves Queen’s music brilliantly.

  Extras
Contract

Please note that the extras on Disc Two are only in Dolby Digital 2.0 and while they look and sound good, are not a match for the quality of Disc One. Shame really.

There are six bonus video clips, being Now I’m Here (Live), Good Ol’ Fashioned Lover Boy, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, Love of My Life (Live), and We Will Rock You (Fast Version), which is a live version and quite different to the original. The quality is again all over the shop, but provides further evidence of their brilliance and variety of style.

Brian May and Roger Taylor, with pre-recorded audio from John Deacon and Freddie Mercury, have provided an informative audio commentary for each video that is a combination of anecdotes and impressions. Fans are bound to learn some things they didn’t know before.

Clocking in at roughly 45 minutes in total, is Rhapsody, a featurette that offers a thorough and interesting look at that song and is broken down into four parts, The Bohemian Rhapsody Story, Making the Video, Creating the Rhapsody, and The Greatest Song. It includes input from the remaining members and completely delves into the creation, recording, and promoting of the song and the video. This is akin to the Classic Albums series and will be of interest to any music fan.

The gallery is a self navigating show accompanied by The Seven Seas of Rhye tune, for which there is no video.

A nice 20 page booklet is thrown in as well as all this, which includes notes on all the videos and appropriate credits. A nice touch that more releases would benefit from.

For those that appreciate them, there is also an Easter egg on Disc Two that is just an alternative edit of the video for the song that dare not speak its name again, but is not radically different to the one ultimately chosen. Check out our eggs section for more info...

  Overall  
Contract

So there you have it, darlings, 16 clips in glorious DTS, six bonus videos, a thorough breakdown of the making of that song, photos, an audio commentary about each song, and Volume II to look forward to. What are you waiting for, my darlings?


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      And I quote...
    "This is a fine DVD release, my darlings…"
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
          Wellings
    • Centre Speaker:
          Wellings
    • Surrounds:
          Wellings
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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