Ray Davies

Return to Waterloo/Come Dancing [DVD]

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This DVD combines two features built around the work of Ray Davies and the Kinks, respectively, on a single platter -- Davies' movie Return to Waterloo (1984), which starts the disc automatically (unless one accesses the main menu manually) and Come Dancing With the Kinks, the promotional film by the Kinks dating from 1986. One sorely wishes that Return to Waterloo could be reconstituted and restored from original negative elements, because what's here is not in great shape -- a lot of the focus is soft and there should be better color and detail in Roger Deakins' cinematography; it's sort of the video equivalent of a CD derived from a production master of an album, rather than a studio master tape, the resolution of the DVD exceeding the quality of the film elements. Still, it does look marginally better than the old laser-disc edition, and is superior to many broadcasts out there so in that sense, it's an improvement over prior releases. And on the plus side, the producers have set the volume fairly high, and that attribute gives good play to Davies' music, which is sort of the raison d'etre for this feature in the first place. The 59-minute feature has been given a generous 12 chapters, and is mastered full-screen (1.33-to-1). Come Dancing With the Kinks isn't in better shape visually -- the film elements all look soft and the color washed out, and while some of that is deliberate in the "period" scenes, such as the "Come Dancing" video, some of it is also the result of the makers using what was handy as a source for the DVD. On the plus side, the audio is clean and sharp, and this makes a special difference in the live clips, such as on "Lola," "You Really Got Me," and "Celluloid Heroes" -- the video selection and the performances are so charmingly beguiling, that many fans may wish to access this feature first, ahead of Return to Waterloo, and to do so they must access the menu manually; it's just a pity that videos such as "Don't Forget to Dance" and the title-track, as beguilingly as they are conceived, don't look quite as good as they ought to. Each song gets its own chapter marker in the programming. The image, as with Return to Waterloo, is mastered full-screen (1.33-to-1).