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Chorus Line

Michael Douglas , Terrence Mann , Richard Attenborough    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
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Chorus Line + All That Jazz (Bilingual) + Cabaret: 40th Anniversary Edition
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Product Description

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If you've never seen this popular production performed on stage in its original form as one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history, the movie version is probably your next best option--heck, it's your only option! But beware the major difference between the experience of stage and screen, because A Chorus Line is a perfect example of a show that doesn't translate well from one medium to another. Director Richard Attenborough gives it his best shot, cutting some of the production numbers and adding new ones while "opening up" the show to explore the off-stage lives of struggling performers as they prepare for another grueling audition. Michael Douglas plays the harsh, workaholic director who puts the auditioning "gypsies" through the paces, winnowing a large group of hopefuls down to eight lucky cast members for his next big show. There's a subplot about the director's former girlfriend, who returns for the big audition, and along the way the other hopefuls sing and dance while revealing their various hopes and fears. On screen, the musical works best when focused on its dramatic passages; otherwise it's impossible to escape the fact that this material is best suited to live performance. --Jeff Shannon

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A Chorus Line

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's No Chicago! April 14 2003
Format:DVD
If you've never seen A Chorus Line do yourself a favor and try to catch it when it invariably tours around the country. What you'll see is an innovative, (particularly for the time when it was conceived) edgy show. Unfortunately little to none of that "edge" or energy translates to this lackluster, useless film. Michael Douglas' role, which in the stage version could arguably be reduced to nothing more than a voice on the theater's sound system, is here nonsensically heightened, tragically altering the major thrust of the stage show. What is supposed to be a peek into the motivations, loves and fears of otherwise "faceless" Broadway talent is turned into a star vehicle for a woefully miscast star.
Bottom line: find a touring company of the stage show to experience this story. What's featured in the film is a travesty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappontment April 13 2003
Format:DVD
Anyone who has seen any live production of "A Chorus Line" will know what a disaster this film is. Richard Attenborough was a terrible choice as director and whoever butchered the story should never work again. What was once a truly remarkable piece about 'gypsy' dancers has been turned into a soap opera about Zack & Cassie. It's too bad that the only filmed record we have of the remarkable show is this waste of time. No wonder it flopped at the box-office. Better to buy the Original Cast album and close your eyes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One... Singular Semi-Sensation... April 13 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
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.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Better to pass on this one... April 5 2003
Format:DVD
This movie is unfortunate, because it ignores the elements that made the stage version so intense without replacing with anything else.
The stage version of the show runs in real-time. You watch the singers/dancers do the first number, after which they go through an initial cut down to "the line" of hopefuls, and then watch as each presents himself/herself to the casting director. The intensity of the stage show is that those folks on stage remain there, leaving once or twice, but largely, they stare back at you and don't leave. You stare at them, and it gets scary. Just like an audition.
The movie tries to "open it up" by messing around with the pacing and timelines. There are flashbacks, people arrive at different points into the audition, there is footage included from outside the theater. Worse, the concept of "the line, no stars" from the show is lost in a poor subplot involving the director and one older dancer. (Yes, in the stage version that subplot's there. It's not the focus of the show, however, and the single top-10 song from the show, "What I Did For Love", is stolen from its focus about the love of dance/art and used in this wretched context instead.)
Do not see this movie before seeing the stage show.
It's considered, by Broadway types, to be the worse movie adaptation of a Broadway show that's been done. (Oliver and Chicago are the opposites, both adapting the shows excellently without being a simple film of a stage production.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give it 0 stars March 9 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Those who have not seen the stage production please understand. This film is not horrible just because it is different from the stage production. It is a travesty in its own right - unquestionably one of the worst musical films of any kind ever made. I just rented the video again recently after having seen a wonderful revival of the stage production in New Orleans, and I had forgotten just how bad this film is. First, Richard Attenborough has directed some fine films, but I can't imagine a worse choice to direct THIS - sort of like asking Michael Bennett to direct "Gandhi," I suppose. Second, never has a more unappealing, more clueless, and less musical cast ever been assembled. Then, as others have said in their reviews, several songs and important pieces of dialog are cut or rendered unrecognizable, and weak replacements are added. Perhaps someday someone will have the guts and the money to remake this film properly. In the meantime, if you've never seen "A Chorus Line," don't bother with this mess. I would recommend you buy the newly remastered Original Cast CD with it's extended liner notes, and wait for a moderately competent stage production to come to your town sometime soon.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars If You're a Musical Fan...Give it a Try.
Well, I know that this is the film that is "cool" to run down. Yes, it is a pale shadow of the original stage show and so certainly counts as a disappointment. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Glenn M. Frost
5.0 out of 5 stars love the movie
awesome movie haven't watched it yet but i'm sure its fine :) took a while to get, but got it :)
Published 4 months ago by April
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent movie
This film is one of the best musicals I've ever seen. However, the Blu-ray production has only stereo and I was hoping it had been remastered in 5.1 sound.... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pierre Aubin
1.0 out of 5 stars A Chorus Line
No "booklet" arrived. The DVD is not in English. AND I can't use it: "Windows Media Play cannot play the DVD because the disc prohibits playback in your region of the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by grace
5.0 out of 5 stars A remake without profanity sounds terrific
I love this movie so much, it is the most wonderful broadway musical movie ever made. However the profanity, including in some songs must be changed to more appropriate words for... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2010 by Kevin Barton
4.0 out of 5 stars Two things wrong.
Firstly, I was disappointed that the number by the girl who just couldn't sing is not in the movie. Secondly, Michael Douglas was not right for the romantic lead -- he is too... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2009 by Lorne M Rachlis
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun movie, very true to life of a dancer
Considering I have never seen the Broadway show, I found this movie to be quite enjoyable. The songs were fun, the dancing fantastic, the acting was relatively good, and I thought... Read more
Published on July 11 2004 by Aly
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't delete old songs
While I can understand the need for space and time in a movie, the two new songs, Richie's "Surprise" & Cassie's "Let me dance for you," are both... Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Franklin Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Unjustly Underrated!
I can't believe all the negative reviews I am reading for this film, but then again, I haven't seen the stage version, so I can't compare. Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by Mark Twain
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing can replace the broadway show, but ....
Nothing can replace the broadway show, but this cast does a wonderful job! If you can look at it without comparing it to the broadway show, you find an excellent show!
Published on April 18 2004 by Dean G. Shullick
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