"All That Jazz" is a semi-autobiographical recounting of Bob Fosse's life. Directed by the master himself, the film follows Broadway producer, Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider)as he spirals into an oblivion of drug addiction, alcoholism and womanizing while preparing to launch his greatest show yet. Joe is ably pushed to the edge of the great beyond by the lovely Angel of Death (Jessica Lange)who eventually gets her wish. This is perhaps the only time in my viewing experience that a musical film has given me chills. The entire plot functions on the mental anguish of its protagonist and his inevitable demise and the final few moments are truly unsettling.
So is FOX's DVD transfer quality; the image suffers from dated - often muddy - colors, washed out and pasty flesh tones, weak blacks, an excessive amount of film grain and various age related artifacts that generally detract from the visual experience. Edge enhancement and pixelization are big problems in certain scenes but others appear to be free of their frustrating inclusion. The soundtrack is Stereo Surround, well balanced though, on occasion, strident.
EXTRAS: An interview with Scheider while he was making the film that is needlessly divided into chapter stops that don't matter. Ditto for several snippets of Fosse at work on the set. The theatrical trailer is also included.
BOTTOM LINE: If you simply can't live without this film - as I could not (for its brilliant story telling vision and disconcerted charm)then I recommend it highly. The transfer, however, will disappoint - especially for a film of seventies vintage!