THE PLOT THUS FAR
Bing Crosby was, without a doubt, the most popular and influential multi-media star of the first half of the twentieth century. His remarkable appeal, which continues to this day, was in his seemingly effortless ability to pull an audience in to his intimate, laid-back voice and innate charm.
For over three decades, through radio, film, television, and records he reigned supreme. A brilliant entrepreneur, Crosby played an important role in the development of the postwar recording industry. As one of Hollywood’s most popular actors, he won the Oscar for 1944’s Going My Way and starred in the iconic “Road” films with Bob Hope. Crosby recorded nearly 400 hit singles, an achievement no one–not Sinatra, Elvis or the Beatles–has come close to matching. Thirty-seven years after his death, he remains the most recorded performer in history.
Narrated by Stanley Tucci and directed by Emmy-winner Robert Trachtenberg (American Masters–Mel Brooks: Make a Noise), this film explores the life and legend of this iconic performer, revealing a personality far more complex than the image the public had only thought they’d known.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Bing Crosby Rediscovered” is an amazing follow-up to Trachtenberg’s previous work on the Mel Brooks documentary. Stanley Tucci does a great job on the narration, but there’s something about the film that feels a bit too much like a love letter. Crosby was an incredible performer and a hell of a singer. Plus, his work recording MLB games saved a lot of World Series footage from times when it didn’t get broadcast. Did you not know that? Google it and learn something about the man.
American Masters does this thing that always leave me feeling iffy. I don’t like watching attack documentaries, but I also want to see attention paid to the darker aspects of major performers. Crosby beat the hell out of his kids, if you believe the older portion of them. While it was SNL humor fodder in the 1980s, I still feel that attention needed to be paid to the issue. But, he’s the most recorded performer in history. That’s got to mean something.
The DVD comes with an interview, deleted interview scenes and related material as the special features. The A/V Quality is pretty strong for the release. The transfer is on par with the last couple of PBS documentaries. The same goes for the Dolby 5.1 surround track. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 12/02/2014