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Reviews Wanted: Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July (Broadway Theatre Archive)

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Reviews Wanted: Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July (Broadway Theatre Archive)

Old 04-08-02, 08:43 PM
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Reviews Wanted: Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July (Broadway Theatre Archive)

How good of a DVD is this movie? Special Features etc?Nudity? Swearing? How good of a plot does it have?Worth a purchase?Is it better than the original?

Your thoughts/feelings?
Old 04-12-02, 02:46 PM
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Firstly, this isn't a "movie," and it IS the original, so I'm not sure about your question... I can only speak about the production, not about the DVD itself, but Broadway Theater Archive doesn't typically have much in the way of "Special Features"...

This is an excellent PBS filming of a great modern stage drama/comedy... Seeing it on TV back in the early 80s practically saved my life... The very first hopeful portrayal of a romantic gay couple I ever saw... Richard Thomas and Jeff Daniels are terrific in it, as is the rest of the ensemble cast, also featuring Swoozie Kurtz, and a barely-teenage Cynthia Nixon from Sex & the City...

Richard Thomas is a VietNam vet (with two artificial legs) worried about how he'll fit in when he starts teaching school back in the smalltown he's returned to... The play's incredible, but it's not much of a story-plot; and it's still very much a stageplay...

Takes place in one house, over one weekend... I suspect that this play had an big influence on "The Big Chill" a year later...

I love this production enough to have bought the dreaded VHS, back when there was no indication that Broadway Theater Archive would be making discs of all their stuff... I'll certainly be replacing my tape when I can afford it...

Last edited by adamblast; 04-12-02 at 02:52 PM.
Old 04-12-02, 07:06 PM
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I just played a few minutes of this DVD to check out the video and sound. I have no idea what the VHS version of the production looks like but I can't imagine it is worse than the DVD. The DVD starts with a warning that the DVD technology "may" reveal limitations in the original recording. I can not believe that the original is this bad, the colors seem to pulse and bleed into surrounding objects. At first I thought the DVD player or TV I was using were causing the problem so I tried another DVD player and TV, same problem. I'm sure there is a DVD with worse video, but I can't tell you which one it is.

Either The Broadway Theater Archive should be ashamed for allowing the master of this production to degenerate, or Image should be ashamed for the lousy job of mastering the DVD.

Old 04-12-02, 09:26 PM
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Sorry to hear the DVD looks so crappy... I'm assuming you had reasonable expectations for a zero-budget videotaped production from over 20 years ago?

I see plenty of poor color (and some bleeding) on the VHS, too, but I'd be surprised if the show looked much better when it was first shown... I certainly share your frustration if there's been further degradation since the VHS pressing--although the packaging and the prolog lead me to think they're from the same, fairly recent transfer...

I do know the pre-recorded VHS looks a lot better than the home-made recording I did myself back in the 80s. Still looking forward to getting the disc myself, although now with some concern...

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