|Index||4 reviews in total|
This video is the only preservation of a truly remarkable musical that
never really got its due. Murray Head, a performer who also never
really got his due, stands out in this rare collection of videos, made
before the musical was staged in London. I happened to work in a video
store in the early eighties, and was able to get a copy, but I know of
no one else who has even heard of this video. It is a good thing,
because the American version of the show suffered two fatal blows: by
the time the show came to Broadway, the Iron Curtain had fallen and the
show became a dated period piece. Further, changes were made to what
was an excellent script, and the new script eliminated some wonderful
songs and replaced them with mediocre ones. Some of the songs on this
video were removed when the show came to America. In subsequent
regional and community theatre productions, companies were forbidden to
use any version of the show except the inferior American production.
Though these concept videos in no way represent what was finally presented on stage, they capture some fine performances. If you can find it, drag out the old VCR and enjoy.
Here you've got five music videos from the concept album of that fantastic musical CHESS. "One Night In Bangkok"...Murray Head/"Nobody's Side"...Elaine Paige/"The Arbiter"...Bjorn Skifs/"I Know Him So Well"...Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson/"Pity The Child"...Murray Head are the featured songs. Elaine, Murray, Barbara and Bjorn of course all sang these roles in the full concept album, while only Elaine and Murray recreated their roles in the London stage production. Missing in action here is Tommy Korborg as "The Russian"(eventually named Anatoly). These videos definitely create a great vision of what the show would become, and stand alone as individual music videos. Tim Rice(the lyricist) serves as the narrator who introduces each segment. Unless you're able to get a DVD of the Swedish cast, or were able to see a televised production in New Zealand, this is the closest you'll get to experience CHESS on video...it's LONG out-of-print on VHS, but you should be able to find a copy on eBay. This is a great sampler for one of the most exciting musicals ever created, and is a must for lovers of Musical Theater!
I remember hearing the orchestral opening to "One Night In Bangkok" on the
radio back in 1985 and being utterly blown away. I rushed out and bought
the Chess soundtrack the very next day. Chess Moves is a cool compilation
of videos made for the Chess album. It broke my heart when the actual
musical production of Chess bombed.
This collection of videos is a great slice of 1980's pop culture. Pity The Child is probably my fave video of the bunch, The Arbiter being a close second. I Know Him So Well is the only weak link in the bunch. It's a pretty sappy ballad that doesn't really fit with the rest of these fine songs. Maybe some smart Hollywood producer will make a feature length film of Chess someday. We can only hope....
Bobby Fisher died recently. To me, he was "The American". So I pulled out and played my "Chess" CDs that I bought when I saw the musical in London. I was a teenager then, on holiday with my father. He took me to the musical for a surprise. I was so impressed that I probably held my breath during the entire performance. Even just now, listening to that fantastic music brought tears to my eyes again. Now to the point: it is an big shame that there is practically no video material availably of the excellent show. Nor is there likely to be any, ever. I call upon the owners of any video material in English, companies or individuals, to make it available to all those Chess musical and ABBA enthusiasts that still exist all over the world. Official distributions are probably not very likely, but how about P2P distribution? I do not want to invite anyone to possibly break any copyright laws, but if - I - had a copy, I would certainly create a Torrent and make it available to the entire world to enjoy this wonderful music before it gets lost forever.
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