First, the good news: A CHORUS LINE finally arrives on DVD.
Now, the bad news: A CHORUS LINE on DVD is still the inferior movie version of the quintessential 1970s stage musical.
Since that was a mistake made 18 years ago, there's not much anyone can do about it, so let's not dwell on what a bad stage-to-screen adaptation the film is. Let's take a closer look at why you may want to own this title on DVD.
1. When compared to the previous panned-and-scanned VHS/laserdisc versions of this film, this anamorphic widescreen version preserves the 2.35:1 aspect ratio the film was shot in. The group dance sequences look better, and the continuity errors of the background people (arms shifting position from folded to outstretched on change of camera angle) are not as noticeable since they're much smaller.
2. The color and sound have never been better.
3. In addition to the theatrical trailer, there's a nice 20 minute featurette where Marvin Hamlisch talks about his experiences writing the music for A Chorus Line for the stage and for the screen. What's annoying is that this featurette was clearly edited by someone unfamiliar with the show. When Hamlisch says original lyricist Edward Kleban came out of some sort of retirement to compose two songs for the film version... the documentary cuts to an excerpt from the wrong song! The clips featured are from "Who Am I Anyway?" and "Surprise", when the new songs written for the movie were actually "Surprise" and "Let Me Dance For You". This lack of even basic research shows a total lack of respect for the material, and such a mistake shouldn't have been made.
4. Many of the excellent songs from the Broadway version did make it, anyway... despite those two lousy replacement songs filling in for some fan favorites.
If you never saw the stage version of this musical, then maybe you can enjoy this DVD. But if you did and are expecting to relive the show's magic by purchasing this disc... then you're in for a huge disappointment.