Warner Bros. // 2001 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // April 11th, 2002
Join us at Carnegie Hall with an ensemble that's got the chops.
Everyone knows Clint the actor, Clint the director, and Clint the butt-kicker in such movies as Dirty Harry, Unforgiven, and Space Cowboys. Not everyone knows that Clint is a really big jazz fan. In most of his films, Eastwood has utilized jazz music in a way that no other filmmaker has before him. In 1996, jazz greats and legends got together to salute Eastwood for his contributions to their musical genre at Carnage Hall for a star studded night of passion, sweat and music! Eastwood After Hours pulls up a chair and stays awhile on DVD care of Warner Home Entertainment.
"On October 17th, 1996, veteran and contemporary jazz greats gathered for a select soirée on the stage of New York City's Carnegie Hall, saluting a guy more noted for making popular films than for making sweet music. But as any fan of Clint Eastwood -- especially after he started directing 30 years ago -- will attest, the award-winning star is also an inveterate jazz lover who has uniquely integrated that musical form into the scores of his films. Join Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Flip Phillips, Charles McPherson, James Rivers, Slide Hampton, Hank Jones, Thelonious Monk Jr., The Kyle Eastwood Quartet, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and many more for this scintillating celebration of film and music.
In the last year I've had the opportunity to watch a few Clint Eastwood movies that I normally might have missed. I reviewed the original Dirty Harry, and because I enjoyed it so much I went out and picked up the entire "Dirty Harry" DVD collection. I also finally sat down and watched Space Cowboys which, while a tad bit slow for my tastes, still had a great cast (Eastwood. Donald Sutherland. James Garner. Tommy Lee Jones. What's not to like?) and some funny and touching moments. As I grow older I think that I'm (*gasp!*) starting to appreciate people like Clint Eastwood, even though he doesn't really make many movies that pique my interest.
One thing that I don't mention very often is that I am a soundtrack collector and connoisseur. I can say with some pride that I probably know more about film music that your average Joe. I worked at Varèse Sarabande Records (a film music company) as an assistant to the marketing head, and during my tenure I learned a lot about movie scores, as well as amassed a collection of music that well exceeds 1,000 soundtrack CDs. Even before I started working at Varèse Sarabande I knew a lot about score composers and their work -- in fact, friends were often surprised when I was able to tell them who composed the music to such obscure movies as Mom and Dad Save the World (Jerry Goldsmith) and Flesh and Bone (Thomas Newman). While I know a lot about film music, I can't say that I know a lot about Eastwood's film music experiences except A.) Eastwood composed an original theme for his Oscar winning western Unforgiven and B.) he often works with acclaimed composer Lennie Niehaus. After watching Eastwood After Hours I can now say that I have a greater knowledge of Eastwood's musical preference, and why he loves it so much.
Eastwood After Hours is a grand concert that should provide jazz lovers with a wealth of musical genius. I will admit to not being a huge jazz fan, though I certainly do like the genre (the extent of jazz in my CD collection goes as far as "Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits"). After watching Eastwood After Hours I am apt to seek out some of these singers and players and collect their works. Each of the artists brings something fresh and unique to the show. Inner-spliced between the concert songs are interviews with Eastwood discussing his love of jazz, as well as some of his favorite songs & singers. Most all of these songs are from Eastwood's movies, and aside of the singers and songs there are also clips and stills from the films featured over each song. Themes from Clint Eastwood's select canon include: Play Misty For Me; The Last Of The Blue Devils; Honkytonk Man; White Hunter, Black Heart; The Bridges Of Madison County; Unforgiven; Tightrope; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; Bird; and In The Line Of Fire. In fact, even old Clint himself gets up at the end to play a few tunes on the piano with some of the band and singers.
This is one of those black and white DVDs -- you're either going to love it or hate it. If you like jazz music, or are just a huge Eastwood fan, I can heartily recommend this disc to you. If, however, you're the type of person that enjoys listening to music with the name "poison," "scum," or "twisted" in their band names, then you might just want to skip this disc...forever.
Eastwood After Hours is presented in 1.33:1 full frame. This is an eye-pleasing presentation that features strong colors and very bold black levels. Imperfections abound, though they don't interfere with one's enjoyment of the concert. Overall, this is a fine DVD presentation by Warner.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround and is sadly not on par with the video presentation. While the sound is rich and full, this soundtrack definitely would have benefited from an extensive 5.1 remix. However, what we do get is very warm and apt for the concert it supports. Subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese are also included on this disc.
Extra features are slim, though does a concert disc like this need tons of extra materials? The biggest supplement featured on this disc is "Eastwood After Dark," a behind-the-scenes look at the concert and jazz music in general. This featurette includes interviews with Eastwood, composer Lennie Niehaus, and other jazz players and participants. This is a nice companion piece to have with this concert. Also included on this disc is a pointless list of the crew, and a few short notes on the production of the concert.
Don't be fooled by the elegantly stoic packaging. Eastwood After Hours is a disc filled with passionate music, a lot of fun and some sweet, sweet jazz music. Warner has done a fine job on this disc with my only complaint going towards the only passable 2.0 music score. Recommended.
Eastwood After Hours is free to go. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Eastwood After Dark" Featurette
* Crew Listing
* Production Notes