Standing in the Shadows of Motown [2 Discs] [DVD] [2002]

The history of soul music and the Funk Brothers, which is also a history of popular culture, is the subject of Standing in the Shadows of Motown and Artisan has done a brilliant job bringing this title to DVD. In today's style of documentary filmmaking, with grainy black-and-white mixed with beautiful color photography, the 1.78:1 anamorphic image really shines. Colors are vibrant and wonderfully saturated, while detail is quite strong for a documentary. Things only get better when it comes to the soundtrack. Presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES, these tracks are full of life, especially during the music numbers. Bass is strong and surrounds are used appropriately. While the movie itself would be worth the price, an amazing selection of extra features make this one a real deal. The movie is on the first disc, along with a commentary track from producer Allan Slutsky (he wrote the book that inspired the film) and director Paul Justman. Also included is a brief section called "How It All Began," which includes a short commentary from Justman about a photograph that helped influence the direction of the film and a promotional short film to help with financing, and contains additional interviews from the Funk Brothers. Finally, for the first disc, is an optional text "fact track" with even more information about these performers and the times they lived in. The second disc houses the remainder of the supplements, and there are plenty. Four featurettes comprise the bulk of material. The first, "Dinner With the Funk Brothers" is a roundtable with the artists as they discuss their love, friendship, and appreciation of those they worked with. The next is "The One's That Didn't Make It," which is a very emotional and sincere elegy for those band members that are no longer with us. In addition to this is "At Long Last Glory," covering the new-found success of these musicians due to this film, and the fourth is a biography section, told in a video for the Funk Brothers, and text for the main crew members. Nearly 30 minutes of deleted scenes are also included, with most being behind-the-scenes material. While hardly revelatory, they are a welcome addition. Next is a "multi-angle" jam session, also in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Fine music, but with only two angles, it doesn't offer much. Finally, along with a music video montage that is only so interesting, is a trailer for The Temptations, discographies, and "Honorable Mentions," describing other artists who worked for Motown. Last, but not least, are some DVD-ROM materials, including an high-definition version of the entire film and an interactive virtual recording studio. Enough praise can't be given to this disc and for the extra mile that Artisan went to make it as good as it is.
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Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.65 out of 5 stars.
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (3 out of 3)

Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • Widescreen 16:9
  • Audio commentary with director and producer
  • 6.1 DTS-ES/5.1 Dolby-EX/2.0 Dolby Stereo
  • Subtitles - English and Spanish
  • Trivia track
  • Song selections/Performances
  • How it all began: "The Photo That Started It All," "The Video That Started It All"
  • presents The Hire: A Series of Short Films (Hostage, Ticker, Beat the Devil)
  • Disc 2:
  • Dinner with the Funk Brothers
  • Multiangle jam sessions
  • Deleted scenes
  • The ones that didn't make it
  • At long last glory
  • Funk Brothers video biographies
  • Music video montage
  • Selected discography
  • Honorable mentions
  • Hi-resolution - DVD-ROM playble version
  • Interactive - Virtual recording studio
  • Closed Captioned


Standing in the Shadows of Motown
Based on the book of the same name by Allan Slutsky, Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a historical tribute to the unsung heroes responsible for some of the greatest hits of pop music. Part documentary and part concert performance, this film is an introduction to the intriguing personas of the Hitsville studio band originally assembled by Berry Gordy in 1959. Over 40 years later, the remaining members reunited in their home base of Detroit, MI, to tell their stories, remember their departed bandmates, and put on a concert. The creation of the Motown sound is told through in-depth interviews, archival footage, and reenactments. Personal stories are intercut with live tracks from the concert performance featuring the Funk Brothers live on-stage along with popular vocalists interpreting some of their biggest hits. Some of the guest singers stick around for conversation with the musicians and offer a contemporary perspective, including Joan Osborne, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, and Ben Harper. The film follows the group's contributions through the '60s up until Gordy moved the label to Los Angeles in 1972. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Johnny Griffith
  • Image coming soon
    Uriel Jones
  • Joe Messina
    Joe Messina
  • Bootsy Collins
    Bootsy Collins
  • Ben Harper
    Ben Harper

Overall Customer Rating

100%of customers recommend this product.

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