Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Star! (1968 Film)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Good Music - Bad Mastering
Garan Grey | Hollywood, CA | 11/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When STAR! was being prepared for VHS and LaserDisc (from original 65mm camera negative and six track magnetic soundtrack) Fox Records decided to jump on the bandwagon with a CD reissue of the soundtrack album.
A strong case was made for a full remaster of the CD, using all the complete musical numbers from the original film soundtrack elements (which were all within reach) but creating new complete tracks would mean paying re-use fees, and a lot more money than Fox Records wanted to spend.
Polygram/Fox Records had the rights, but not the masters. Just a digital tape of HALF of the original album. Because the album rights had changed hands more than once, the original master tapes resided in another company's vault. Instead of making a polite request, the Fox Records producer simply demanded them back. Arrogance is not a winning trait, so of course the answer was no. Fox then had to master the CD from what they later claimed were "the best available elements."
One of the original soundtrack engineers had kept a copy of the masters on an old reel of tape stored in his garage since 68.. That's what the other half of the album was mastered from, and that is why the CD sounds as it does. The material on the digital tape had to be degraded to match the old analog reel.
A small budget was allowed to reconstruct the extended version of the title song from the original masters. This version had been released as a 45 single, so no re-use fees were necessary.
Daniel Massey graciously granted permission to include Forbidden Fruit (without compensation - Fox Records didn't even give him copy of the CD). Fox Records would not let Forbidden Fruit be inserted where it belongs in the album sequence, because they had already sent the track list and liner notes to a graphic designer, and they didn't want to pay to have the graphics for CD liner and booklet changed. (though nothing had been printed yet - apparently tacking the song title onto the end of the printed list was cheaper than inserting it where it belonged??)
The Fox Records producer then decided to ignore the actual (vintage 40s mono) Fox Fanfare used in the film, and instead added a technically perfect new stereo version with the CinemaScope extention. While the actual fanfare from the film would have better matched the limited fidelity of the garage tape, this newly recorded fanfare only made it more obvious that the rest of the album sounded inferior.
So yes, the CD was mastered quite cheaply, And so was the new DVD, which is in every way is an atrocity compared to the quailty of the LaserDisc. It's even missing material from the feature that was carefully presented on the LD.
One can only hope that by the time HD DVD and CDs become common, both the album and film of STAR! will be remastered with care, but this assumes that the young people in charge will listen to older folks who know the material, and they don't like to be told anything.
The LaserDisc Release of STAR! capped a turnaround, following a successful art house revival, cable debut, and print articles that turned the film's reputation from a lameted flop into a "lost cult classic." It's a better film than it's been given credit for, and deserves better treatment. As for the fans, Fox's attitude is "they'll buy it anyway.""
Great Julie Andrews Soundtrack! Disappointing remaster!
Joe NY | 02/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This soundtrack from the troubled Julie Andrews 1968 movie STAR! is a great find. What ever problems the movie had are not transfered to this wonderful soundtrack. Julie Andrews is in top form singing many great theatre standards associted with Gertrude Lawrence (whose biography STAR! is). The Lennie Hayton arrangements are fabulous and worthy of their Oscar nomination. I would love to give this long awaited soundtrack reissue 5 stars, however I was disappointed to learn that its contents replicates, with 2 exceptions, the LP release of 30 years ago. The new additions are FORBIDDEN FRUIT, sung by Daniel Massey and omitted from the original album, and an alternate, single version of STAR. Due to licensing problems with Polygram, who owns the LP rights, the release could not be expanded beyond its LP contents. This is a shame since a number of the selections had to be edited to fit on the orginal LP. An expanded CD would easily hold over 60 minutes of music. However, fans of the movie and Julie Andrews would still love having this recording in their collection as is. Despite my disappointment in the abbreviated contents, I wholeheartly recommend this release."
JULIE ANDREWS IN TOP FORM
Dewey Mee | ELLENSBURG, WA. | 04/14/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
""STAR!" is the film-bio of tempermental, self-absorbed, incandescent Gertrude Lawrence. Lawrence may have been the subject but JULIE ANDREWS IS THE REAL STAR OF "STAR!" Some of the songs are clinkers, but Andrews gets to go all soft with "Someone To Watch Over Me" and "My Ship" and then belt out slightly risque and bawdy renditions of Cole Porter's "The Physican" and the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin classic "Saga Of Jenny." Andrews also does a fantastic version of Noel Coward's "Parisian Perrot." Julie Andrews would not have as varied a role as this until "VICTOR/VICTORIA" some 14 years later."