Of the many documentaries that have been released in 2013 a few stand out above the rest. Featuring Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Bette Midler with a host of amazing singers that backed them up just 20 Feet From Stardom. The impressive, touching and completely engrossing film will have you clapping to the music and dancing in your living room now that it’s released on Blu-ray and DVD.
The film shows the many singers who added the power to stars from the early 1950’s to today’s hot and inspiring music. Most were not able to break away on their own in the crowded recording era and found themselves working as background voices for the likes of Ray Charles, James Taylor, Cher, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Elton John, The Rolling Stones and Bette Midler.
It was a tough world for female black singers who kept the best of the bands and solo artists on top of the charts. Those that were fortunate enough to obtain representation or get discovered on stage made it to the big time. Featured in this film are Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love who were able to give audiences their amazing talent with their backups twenty feet behind them. This is their story and it resonates from their hearts and souls.
Director Morgan Neville who’s not a stranger to music bringing American Masters to television for several music artists and The Biography Series that included Ray Charles does a superb job with 20 Feet From Stardom. He uses interviews with those that broke out on their own from the backup quartets that put the zing in most all the great singers through the years while showing film footage of their careers. He doesn’t stop there getting the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Bette Midler to talk about the greats that backed them up in concerts and recordings.
The film tugs at the heartstrings and gets down to the soul of the long struggle that still exists today. It’s a lot of music history crammed in an hour and a half and I found myself wanting more. Remembering the music that was made through the years and the voices of those that still resonate in my mind puts this Blu-ray on my top shelf for repeated viewing.
If the film wasn’t enough, there are some very cool Bonus features you may want to take a look at.
- “Short Film: The Buddy System”
- “Q&A with Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Director Morgan Neville”
- “Deleted Scenes”
The presentation on Blu-ray is magnificent, very clear and clean. Captivating my whole 16×9 Television with the 1.78:1 Aspect Ration provides a dynamic presentation for home viewing. Even the captured film from archives, television shows and personal files shows well considering the condition they are in from the years gone by.
The sound clarity is also amazing played either through my television or my upgraded sound system. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 can be cranked up to blow the walls off remaining crystal clear throughout the showing.
Specifications and additional film information:
Cast: Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love
Director: Morgan Neville
Genre: Documentary, Music
Running Time: 1 hr 31 min
Video Release Date: January 14, 2014
Original Film Release Date: November 28, 2013
Format: Blu-ray (also available on DVD)
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Video: Widescreen presentation fills 16×9 TV’s Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: Anchor Bay/Radius TWC