Tony Palmer is a famed British filmmaker who has won numerous awards - including the Prix d'Italia (twice) - for his film work, which includes numerous documentaries on legendary composers, actors and others. However, one of Palmer's biggest achievements in a career filled with highly-regarded works is "All You Need is Love", a 17-episode series that aired in the 1970's and provided viewers with performances from a remarkable variety of musicians - everyone from Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker to Bing Crosby to Benny Goodman to Muddy Waters to Elvis to the Beatles and many others.
All together, the series gives a remarkable overview of popular music and the sheer scope of the program is unbelievable. Palmer clearly traveled far and wide to capture musicians offering both performances and interviews, as well as thoughts from other industry veterans. There's also a wealth of archive footage that will delight many fans. Rather than present music in a "talk show"-style format (like "The Tomorrow Show", with Tom Synder), the series did an amazing job giving a look at the history and major events that shaped each genre. This is an amazing, ambitious work that must be seen to be believed.
Each episode (there are 17 and they are presented in their original form here) runs a little under an hour and takes a look at a different genre of music. Introduction/Pilot Episode. 2. "God's Children" (The Beginning), 3. "I Can Hypnotize 'Dis Nation" (Ragtime), 4. "Jungle Music" (Jazz), 5. "Who's That Comin'?" (Blues), 6. "Rude Songs" (Vaudeville), 7. "Always Chasing Rainbows" (Tin Pan Alley), 8. "Diamonds as Big as the Ritz" (Musicals), 9. "Swing that Music!" (Swing), 10. "Good Times" (Rhythm and Blues), 11. "Making Moonshine" (Country), 12. "Go Down, Moses" (Songs of War/Protest), 13. "Hail, Hail Rock N' Roll" (Rock N'Roll), 14. "Mighty Good" (The Beatles), 15. "All Along the Watchtower" (Sour Rock), 16. "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" (Glitter Rock) and 17. "Imagine" (New Directions).
VIDEO: "All You Need is Love" is presented by MVD in 1.33:1 full-frame. The presentation quality is - considering the age and likely production budget for a TV series from the era - pretty good. There is some noticable wear and dirt on the elements at times, but I didn't find this issue too overly bothersome. Sharpness and detail varies, but the picture generally looked clear and at least fairly well-defined. No edge enhancement was noticed, but some minor artifacting was seen. Colors varied depending on the footage, but generally looked a touch faded - although again, given the age program, colors looked in-line with expectations.
SOUND: The mono soundtrack remained clear, but did sound somewhat thin and tinny (although that seemed to vary depending on the footage.)
Final Thoughts: While a little expensive, "All You Need is Love" is a treasure for fans of music history. Additionally, considering the music rights costs are probably enormous with a set like this, the price doesn't seem as unreasonable. The DVD presentation boasts fine audio/video quality, considering the age of the show. Recommended.