Someone get Judge Ryan Keefer a one-way ticket out of Branson, Missouri...quick!
According to the biography of Engelbert Humperdinck on his website, he has sold over 130 million albums. I don't have anything good or bad to say about this. I just figured you should know.
There's a lot I didn't know about Engelbert Humperdinck. Born Arnold George Dorsey, he grew up the son of a military father, but managed to start performing in the late 1950s. With little success working as "Gerry Dorsey," he decided to take the name of a 19th century German composer. Engelbert rode the second wave of '60s British artists, competing with another vocalist from the North Sea region (Tom Jones) for the love and attention of the ladies. While Jones would release more period songs like "What's New Pussycat?" and "It's Not Unusual," Humperdinck would release more easy listening songs (like "Release Me") designed to support his voice, a bit on the crooner side of things. Providing his own interpretations of songs like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," propelled him into the crosshairs of women's underwear, as it was thrown onstage during his performances with regularity during the '60s and '70s.
It was also during this period that fan clubs idolizing the singer started to spring up. He has a couple hundred now, all of whom eagerly welcome the singer known as Enge as he tours around the world, continuing to make music like "After the Lovin'" and "Cuando Cuando Cuando."
Engelbert Humperdinck: Totally Amazing was filmed in Canada (although the city isn't mentioned, Enge appears to be performing in a casino), and the 80 minutes or so that dazzle the audience includes the following songs:
• "'S Wonderful"
Never having seen the magic of Enge before (except for a television commercial touting his greatest hits), I wasn't completely sure what to expect. So what do you get for your money? Well, you get a singer who is about to start his eighth decade of life, with sideburns that are WAY too long and out of control (he jokes that Bob Hope once said he always looked like he was on the phone) and, because of his age, are probably subject to a lot of Grecian Formula. Humperdinck comes out in a tuxedo that is subtle on the sequins, but as the performance goes on, the jacket comes off and the shirt opens to expose a rather large cross. When the songs get more and more upbeat, the dance moves follow. But the dance moves need updating, as I know of no one who still moonwalks.
For as much as I mock Enge, or the Dinck, he definitely entertains his audience, most of whom have kids who have graduated college and moved out of the house. Some of the boasting about being a ladies' man is probably a little more self-deprecating than in years past (and some of it staged at that), but you've got to hand it to the guy…he knows who he's playing for, knows his comfort zone, and doesn't really stray from it.
The DTS sound option is quite good, and the performance is presented in widescreen. Aside from the performance, the only other supplement of note is an in-depth interview with the man himself.
If you're looking for reclamation projects for aging male vocalists, you're probably better off buying the Rick Rubin-produced Neil Diamond album that came out awhile back. But if you're looking for plain vanilla based entertainment by an aging inoffensive singer, Engelbert Humperdinck: Totally Amazing is probably the way to go. I can't say I had too much fun watching it. If I did, my wife will think she married my Dad.
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