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Produced By George Martin [Blu-ray]
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Produced By George Martin is a feature length profile of Sir George Martin, Britain s most celebrated record producer. The film talks about his childhood, his war experience and his early days as a music student. In the early fifties he joined EMI/Parlophone and started working on orchestral music, comedy records and music for children. Then in 1962 he signed The Beatles. Together George Martin and The Beatles revolutionised pop music and recording techniques forging probably the greatest producer / artist collaboration there will ever be. The film is in an intimate portrait of George Martin at home and at work. It features numerous classic clips of the artists he has produced and new interviews with many of them including Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Michael Palin, Jeff Beck, Rolf Harris, Cilla Black, Millicent Martin and Bernard Cribbins.
Produced By George Martin è uno straordinario documentario che ripercorre la vita e la carriera del più grande produttore inglese. Si parla della sua infanzia, della sua esperienza durante la guerra e dei suoi inizi come studente di musica. Nei primi anni '50 ha incominciato a lavorare su musiche orchestrali e per bambini all'interno della EMI/Parlophone. Nel 1962 ha firmato i Beatles e con loro ha rivoluzionato il mondo della musica pop e le tecniche di registrazione dando vita alla più grande collaborazione della storia fra una band ed un produttore. Molti gli interventi degli artisti con i quali ha lavorato: Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Michael Palin, Jeff Beck, Rolf Harris, Cilla Black, Millicent Martin, Bernard Cribbins, Rick Rubin, T Bone Burnett, Howard Goodall, Jimmy Webb e Ken Scott.
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If you are coming to this film to learn about Martin's work with the Beatles, you will find plenty here but you will need to wait till the 38-minute mark (on your DVD counter) for that info. That's because the classically-trained 81 year-old Martin started his career at EMI in the early 1950s (producing orchestral records and comedy records - mostly with Peter Sellers and The Goons) and, by 1955, was head of EMI's Parlophone label. We hear (a few times) in the film that, before Martin, record producers "reproduced sounds" while Martin was the first to "paint with them". He was a true pioneer.
There is a large section on those British comedy records and many of these artists will be unfamiliar to Amerucan viewers (remember this was made for the BBC), but they only add to the depth of Martin's career.
As noted above, we soon get to the Beatles and Martin relates how they worked in the studio and what part each of the Beatles took in the recordings. What's great is that Martin is still alive and the film is loaded with interviews with Martin and the likes of McCartney, Starr, Michael Palin (Monty Python), Jimmy Webb in which the musicians ask Martin questions. Both McCartney and Starr discuss World War II in a non-music-related section.
The interviewer who gets the most screen time is Martin's son, Giles, who is also a record producer (and CO-produced the Cirque du Soliel soundtrack for "LOVE"). The father-son dialogue is fascinating. Along the way we learn about Martin's charitable efforts and meet his charming wife, Judy, who he met at EMI when he started there in the 1950s.
The bonus material (totaling 55 minutes) features the extended interviews with Martin and his wife, the ones with Giles, and those with Palin and Webb which were excerpted in the film, plus new interviews (about Martin's influence on current record producers) with T. Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin. This supplemental material gives us an even deeper knowledge of Martin as person.
An additional comment: Throughout the film there are "captions" at the bottom of the screen which provide additional info. These are in white letters and, in a few cases, are hard to read on standard def televisons. Not a major defect but if the letters were in color they would be easier to read when the background image is light.
Eagle Rock has priced the DVD at a reasonable price and anyone interested in how the recording industry works (there is archival footage of the EMI plant from the 1940s and 50s included) or how the Beatles created their studio masterpieces will want to get this DVD.
This is a review of the standard DVD version of this title. To my knowledge there is no additional material on the Bluray disc.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
This wonderful documentary, originally broadcast on the BBC, runs the gamut of Sir George's life, from his Depression-era childhood, to his World War II service in the Fleet Air Arm, to his musical education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, to his start with EMI's tiny Parlophone label (as an assistant to Oscar Preuss) in 1950; he became the head of Parlophone when Preuss retired in 1955. The EMI "big boys," according to Martin, were His Master's Voice (HMV) and Columbia, mainly because of their longstanding ties to RCA Victor and Columbia/CBS Records in America, respectively. When EMI lost the RCA and CBS contracts in the 1950s, EMI then purchased Hollywood-based Capitol Records, primarily to obtain new American product. Oddly enough, today, Parlophone is the longest continuously surviving EMI label, though other imprints (e.g., Stateside Records, and the on-again, off-again Regal Zonophone label [now two separate imprints, Regal Recordings, a Parlophone specialty label, and Zonophone, used primarily as a reissue label for Capitol and other back-catalog product]) have been revived and folded from time to time. The Columbia Graphophone Company was folded into the larger EMI Records label in the early-to-mid-1970s, and the Columbia trademark itself was transferred to Sony Music (the new owners of CBS Records) in the early 1990s. HMV became a classical-only label by the end of the 1960s (except for a few Morrissey recordings issued with retro HMV labels in 1988, at the artist's insistence) and was later folded into EMI Classics (now Warner Classics). EMI also sold off the HMV music store chain to new ownership in the late 1990s, and transferred the Nipper-and-gramophone trademark (except in America, where it is owned by RCA Trademark Management) to HMV Group PLC in 2003. With EMI's 2013 takeover by Universal Music Group, Parlophone was one of several EMI labels sold to Warner Music Group because of European Union antitrust concerns. The Beatles' catalog will still be owned by UMG, under either a new Capitol Records UK imprint or Universal Music International; whether The Beatles' older albums and CDs (the first eight, from Please Please Me to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) will still be pressed with historic Parlophone labels (with a licensing fee paid to Warner Music Group, the new owners of Parlophone) or reissued with Capitol UK labels is unknown at the present time. Another possibility is that The Beatles' entire catalog may be shifted to the Apple label, as was the case with U.S., German, and Japanese reissues (and possibly other countries as well) in the 1970s.
Sir George's most famous signing was, of course, The Beatles, in 1962, but his range of artists that he produced over his 50-plus year career included jazz (Humphrey Lyttleton, John Dankworth, and his wife-to-be Cleo Laine), pop chanteuses such as Shirley Bassey, comedy (Peter Sellers, The Goon Shows, Rolf Harris of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" fame, The Complete Beyond The Fringe (1961 Original London Cast), and the music for That Was the Week That Was: Classic TV Satire of the 1960's, which was also produced in the U.S. on NBC), other British Invasion acts (Billy J. Kramer With The Dakotas, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Cilla Black), and the solo Beatles (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr's Sentimental Journey, and one posthumously orchestrated track, "Grow Old With Me," on The John Lennon Anthology). Martin was also successful with the group America, and his final work was with son Giles (a fine producer in his own right) for The Beatles' Cirque du Soleil show, Love (CD + Audio DVD) and its companion documentary, All Together Now: A Documentary Film.
There are interviews with Sir George's wife Lady Judy, son Giles, Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Rolf Harris, Cilla Black, singer Millicent Martin (no relation), and others. The DVD also contains an additional 52 minutes of bonus interviews not aired on the BBC special.
In addition to this DVD, I would also recommend the EMI 6-CD box set Produced By George Martin, released in 2001, which covers the entire spectrum of Martin's career up to that time.
Rest In Peace, Sir George Henry Martin, CBE (born January 3, 1926, died March 8, 2016 - two months and five days after his 90th birthday). You've earned a key to Heaven, sir! Thanks for all of the great music through the years - not just The Beatles, but everything you did!
Martin is profiled in this engaging and beautifully crafted 2011 BBC documentary. The film traces his career from the early 50s to present day. His early days at EMI are particularly fascinating; a generous portion of the film focuses on his work there producing classical and comedy recordings (including priceless footage of Peter Sellers from his Goon Show days). Disparate as Martin's early work appears to be from the rock'n'roll milieu, I think it prepped him for his future collaboration with the Fabs, on a personal and professional level. His experience with comedians likely helped the relatively reserved producer acclimate to the Beatles' irreverent sense of humor, and Martin's classical training and gift for arrangement certainly helped to guide their creativity to a higher level of sophistication.
The film is a bit of a family affair as well. You get a good sense of the close and loving relationship Martin has with his wife Judy (who he met while working for EMI) and son Giles (who is following in his dad's footsteps; they collaborated on the remixes of Beatle songs for the LOVE soundtrack album). At 81, Martin is still spry, full of great anecdotes and a class act all the way. He provides some very candid moments; there is visible emotion from the usually unflappable Martin when he admits how deeply hurt and betrayed he felt when John Lennon rather curtly informed him at the 11th hour that his "services would not be needed" for the Let it Be sessions (the band went with the mercurial Phil Spector, who famously overproduced the album). Insightful interviews with artists who have worked with Martin (and admiring peers) round things off nicely.