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American Masters: Inventing David Geffen Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: Yellow
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 120
  • Studio: PBS
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 8, 2013
  • List Price: $29.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

An icon of the entertainment industry, David Geffen is the paragon of the American dream. The son of working class Ukrainian immigrants, Geffen, a student with poor grades who suffered with dyslexia, managed to carry himself from metaphorical nobody, to big man on top. A notorious deal maker with a keen ear for the great artists in the music industry, Geffen worked his way from mail room to head of his own record label and eventually Hollywood film mogul. Few could claim to have the same success as he, starting not one, but four successful companies in the entertainment business, from his management firm, to Asylum records, Geffen records, and finally, the Hollywood “supergroup” of DreamWorks SDK. The startup film studio started by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen has given us such success as Saving Private Ryan and Shrek.

This intimate portrait of the man and legend in the business by PBS’ American Masters series captures the normally reticent Geffen being unusually candid. It gives a deep understanding of the man behind the myth through his own words and the words of those who know him, from his onetime love Cher, to unlikely friend Neil Young (Geffen famously sued Young in the ’80s for making non-commercial music). Seeing the scope of his influence on the entertainment industry, from music to film and Broadway, laid out in this way is heartening. From his investment in the career of influential singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, to the signing of Guns ‘n’ Roses and the staging of Dream Girls, his touch has set cultural trends not easily dismissed.

Like many American Masters documentaries, Inventing David Geffen is told in an interesting narrative that really draws one in to the life of the subject, in this case, a rather fascinating and enigmatic one. There are more than enough photographs and firsthand accounts, good and bad, to keep it all interesting and real.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement of Inventing David Geffen is more than adequate for presenting this documentary. The interview segments all look pleasantly life-like with little noise and the archival photos look natural enough. Plenty of archival footage is included throughout that is of a much lower quality as well.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtracks are included. They get the job done for this sort of subject material by providing clean and natural dialogue and during the clips of musical snippets, a punchy, and airy soundstage with a good amount of ambience (for the 5.1 mix).

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Only additional; interview segments not included in the final film are included as a bonus.

  • Additional Interview Segments (1.78:1; 1080i/60):
    • World Class to Say the Least
    • Focus Focus Focus
    • Who’s Paying the Shipping?
    • Remembering Mom
    • Free Man in Paris
    • Three Little Words

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Inventing David Geffen is an intriguing documentary that paints an inspiring story about a classic rags to riches tale. Geffen the man is unusually forthcoming in this documentary and it should be of interest to anyone who loves any form of entertainment, or just any good “poor kid makes good” story.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Inventing David Geffen - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase American Masters: Inventing David Geffen on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Inventing David Geffen

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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BestBuy.com:
Inventing David Geffen - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase American Masters: Inventing David Geffen on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Inventing David Geffen

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]



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