All That Jazz [Blu-ray]
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The preternaturally gifted director and choreographer Bob Fosse (Cabaret) turned the camera on his own life for this madly imaginative, self-excoriating musical masterpiece. Roy Scheider (Jaws) gives the performance of his career as Joe Gideon, whose exhausting work schedule—mounting a Broadway production by day and editing his latest movie at night—and routine of amphetamines, booze, and sex are putting his health at serious risk. Fosse burrows into Gideon’s (and his own) mind, rendering his interior world as phantasmagoric spectacle. Assembled with visionary editing that makes dance come alive on-screen as never before, and overflowing with sublime footwork by the likes of Ben Vereen, Leland Palmer, and the awesomely leggy Ann Reinking, All That Jazz pushes the musical genre to personal depths and virtuosic aesthetic heights.
Choreographer-turned-director Bob Fosse (Cabaret, Lenny) turns the camera on himself in this nervy, sometimes unnerving 1979 feature, a nakedly autobiographical piece that veers from gritty drama to razzle-dazzle musical, allegory to satire. It's an indication of his bravura, and possibly his self-absorption, that Fosse (who also cowrote the script) literally opens alter ego Joe Gideon's heart in a key scene--an unflinching glimpse of cardiac surgery, shot during an actual open-heart procedure.
Roy Scheider makes a brave and largely successful leap out of his usual romantic lead roles to step into Gideon's dancing pumps, and supplies a plausible sketch of an extravagant, self-destructive, self-loathing creative dynamo, while Jessica Lange serves as a largely allegorical Muse, one of the various women that the philandering Gideon pursues (and usually abandons). Gideon's other romantic partners include Fosse's own protégé (and a major keeper of his choreographic style since his death), Ann Reinking, whose leggy grace is seductive both "onstage" and off.
Fosse/Gideon's collision course with mortality, as well as his priapic obsession with the opposite sex, may offer clues into the libidinal core of the choreographer's dynamic, sexualized style of dance, but musical aficionados will be forgiven for fast-forwarding to cut out the self-analysis and focus on the music, period. At its best--as in the knockout opening, scored to George Benson's strutting version of "On Broadway," which fuses music, dance, and dazzling camera work into a paean to Fosse's hoofer nation--All That Jazz offers a sequence of classic Fosse numbers, hard-edged, caustic, and joyously physical. --Sam Sutherland --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"To be on the wire is life. The rest is waiting."
The above is said by the main character, Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), in this movie.
This movie is a semi-autobiographical fantasy based on the life and career of dance man, Bob Fosse (he was also a choreographer, director, screenwriter, and actor). Fosse directed, co-wrote, and was choreographer for this movie.
We follow Gideon's (Fosse's alter ego) life where at this point in his life he starts each day with Vivaldi, Visine, Alka-Seltzer, and Dexedrine (a prescription upper). Gideon has to start each day like this because he is a chain-smoker, a womanizer who cheats on his wife, drinker, takes drugs, and is a workaholic on the road to self-destruction.
This is a movie you either love or hate. For me, I found the dancing frenzied, the dialogue piercing, the photography superb, and the acting first-rate. (Actor Roy Scheider gives a brilliant performance.) This is a great-looking film with some humorous parts that sometimes is not easy to watch.
There are ten song and dance numbers in this movie. Don't worry!! These pieces are integral to the movie, are short and sweet, and in a word are...fantastic. I especially enjoyed these songs (accompanied by dance):
"On Broadway," "Everything Old is New Again," and "Bye-Bye Life" (part of the lyrics is given in this review's title).
In 2001, the U.S. Library of Congress deemed this film "culturally significant" and thus selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
As well, this movie won four Academy Awards.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released in 2007) is perfect in picture and sound quality.Read more ›
I liked the Roy Scheider commentary and wished there was more. There are great clips of Scheider in character commenting during production and a series of clips of Fosse himself directing the opening "cattle call" sequence (the real "Joe Gideon" at work!). For a very surreal moment, listen to Scheider's commentary for the final death dance sequence where Fosse tells him, "They've all forgiven me!"
Hopefully, as the film is rediscovered by a new generation of fans (the CHICAGO phenom has to help), a special edition that includes more of Fosse's life and background information will come out. I'll buy that one too. ALL THAT JAZZ has what so many films are missing these days: a personal vision unafraid to bare its soul. I remember Fosse took a lot of flack for his "ego" back in 1979, but the honesty and boldness of his vision remains.
I was impressed from the opening scene of dancers leaping across the stage to the final zipper at the end of the movie the very first time I saw this movie 20-odd years ago, and every time since.
As Joe Gideon's producer said, "every dollar is on the screen".
I had the feeling I was really watching a work of genius. Even if the movie is Bob Fosse's bloated egotistical account of his life and career (not my viewpoint), it is still amazing in its scope. To predict your own death is one thing, but to put into one of the best 20 minutes on film is quite another.
Good acting, writing, directing, cinematography - you name it, it's there.
Sparse extras on the DVD, but worth it for the movie alone.
Seeing this movie there are many elements that make it hard to believe that it was released a quarter of a century ago. The best example of how current it looks can be found in the sensual and acrobatic choreography that defines Fosse. But the kicker here that although Fosse is does an excellent job in the serio-dramatic sequences, it is the MTV-like direction that Fosse brings to brilliant dance sequences that feel more than contemporary as no amount of grinding or posturing by Madonna, Britney et al can compare to a sequence titled "AirRotica.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I will assume if you are reading this you are already a fan of the movie and are trying to decide whether or not it is worth buying the Blu-ray. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Glenn M. Frost
Lots of interesting special features. Good quality transfer for blu-ray.Published 14 months ago by catmom
Sometimes the Zeitgeist goes retro in the most entertaining and intriguing ways. A new biography of Bob Fosse, Fosse by Sam Wasson, landed on my desk just before a touring... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Drew Rowsome
This is an old movie that features dance by Bob Fosse. We loved it years ago when we first saw it. When I saw it was available on Amazon, I had to order. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lynne Holden
This is one of my husband's favorite movies and I got this copy for his birthday. He was pleased and surprised.Published on April 22 2013 by VivianCanada
ALL THAT JAZZ is a phastasmagoria of memories passing through Bob Fosse's mind as he dies of heart failure. Read morePublished on March 24 2012 by T. Pawels
The delivery was very slow. Came about a week later (maybe more) than stuff ordered the same day from the States. It's a shame! Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2010 by mike alberto