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There are not many artists who can boast of a career which spans over thirty years, and still does not look his age. Sir Cliff Richard is as popular now as he was in the 60s. Along the way he has kept his fans and has in fact added to his fan base.  Love him or hate him, Sir Cliff is a wonderful ambassador for Britain. He has released over 120 singles in the UK and is a regular contributor to charity. I still remember a few years ago at the Wimbledon tennis championships, where bad weather meant that play was suspended for the most of the day. Without prompting Cliff started a sing-along with the crowd. This is perfect example of his unselfish nature, which has made him so popular over the years. During the early 60s Cliff was in his prime, and released several films which proved to be extremely popular. This is a review of the Cliff Richard boxset. The boxset contains what are considered to be his best movies.

Cliff Richard DVD Collection, The
Summer Holiday
Summer Holiday is probably the most famous movie that Cliff has starred in. The film has even inspired a musical, which Darren Day recently appeared in, and many people will know the title song. In this movie Cliff plays garage mechanic Don, who persuades London transport to loan him a double-decker bus. Don plans to travel Europe in the unlikely vehicle. He persuades his friends Cyril (Melvyn Hayes), Steve Jones (Teddy Green) and Edwin (Jeremy Bulloch) to accompany him on a trip from London to Athens. While in France, the lads bump into some English ladies, who are having car trouble. The girls soon find themselves joining the lads on their tour of Europe. The group visit Paris, and upon boarding the bus for their next destination they find another passenger. Unknown to everyone, an American pop star called Barbara Winters (Lauri Peters) had been hiding aboard the bus.

This movie marked the film debut of director Peter Yates (Bullitt, Breaking Away). From the beginning it is clear that this movie is something special. Love him or hate him, Cliff Richard is certainly someone who has great screen presence. There are enough classic hits from his collection included to keep even the most sceptical movie-goer entertained. Songs such as “Summer Holiday", "Bachelor Boy", "Dancing Shoes" and "The Next Time" all provide good set pieces in which Cliff can strut his stuff.  Also appearing throughout the film is Cliff’s backup band, The Shadows. They have cameo roles in several of the songs.

Cliff Richard DVD Collection, The
The Young Ones
Nicky Black (Cliff Richard) is a promising young pop star, who loves his local youth club. Unsurprisingly he is distressed by the news that a property tycoon (Robert Morley) is planning to demolish the club. What makes things more interesting is the fact that the tycoon is actually Nicky’s father. Nicky enrols the help of some of his friends to hold a benefit concert with the aim of buying the lease for the property. The group are determined to raise the money in order to save the club, and set about doing the only thing they can to save it. That involves singing and dancing their way to the £1,500 that is needed. After much publicity (pirate radio shows) Nicky finds that he has a lot of fans who enjoy listening to his voice and want to see the person behind it. The movie focuses on whether the group can gain enough money to save the club, and a lot of the movie covers the concert that they set up.

The Young Ones was the first film musical that Cliff was involved in. As expected the movie proved to be a smash hit when released in the UK, however it faired much worse in the States. It struggled in the States, and was re-edited for American audiences. The final cut of the film contained music by Burt Bacharach. What a cheek! While not being as accomplished as Summer Holiday, it still has enough positive points to make it a worthwhile addition to this boxset. The songs are not as catchy as Summer Holiday, but the set pieces are far more elaborate. The movie features a wealth of Cliff Richard #1 hits including "The Girl In Your Arms" and "The Young Ones". What is obvious from the beginning of the movie, is that all the cast seem to put a great deal of energy into their roles. This helps to make the film a free flowing, energetic, musical which should keep you entertained for an hour or two.  

Cliff Richard DVD Collection, The
Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life is the final movie in the boxset, and in my opinion the least entertaining. The movie stars Cliff and the Shadows in what is a pretty pointless couple of hours. Apparently Cliff was sick of making movies with ‘set in their ways’ directors so decided to make his own musical film.  The storyline is simplistic, and just about sums up the lack of effort that went into making it. Cliff and The Shadows are recruited to star in a movie, which luckily for them is being shot a tropical location. The Canary Islands is the destination, and the group provide entertainment for the locals. The movie has its fair share of musical moments, but the overall film lacks any direction, and is disappointing considering his past movies. What made Summer Holiday and The Young Ones great successes were the various lively characters involved. Apart from Cliff Richard this movie only really has The Shadows, and sadly they are boring

Video
All movies are presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. There is very little difference between the transfers for all three movies. Summer Holiday may have the slight edge, as the colours seem more vibrant. However, that’s not to say that the other two movies are dull. Blacks are near perfect and contrast is excellent, with detail in even the darkest scenes generally spot on. Generally all three transfers are in pristine condition, and show no obvious sign of print damage. Grain levels vary between the transfers, and even between particular scenes. Overall grain levels are not distracting, and in fact are hardly noticeable for the majority of the time. There are slight signs of edge enhancement (particularly in Wonderful Life), but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the movie. Considering the ages of these movies (over 40 years), the quality on offer is superb. A definite plus point from the set.  

Audio
Each movie is given an English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono soundtrack. There is not an awful lot that I can say about the audio side of this disc. Plainly put, it is adequate. The dialogue is clear throughout, and the lack of output doesn’t spoil any of the musical moments. There’s not much more to be said about the sound really, however the same cannot be said for the subtitles. Somewhat disappointly, there are no subtitles provided with the three movies, which is poor seeing as this is a region two disc.

Cliff Richard DVD Collection, The
Extras
This boxset comes with two discs. Disc one of this boxset is devoted to Summer Holiday, while disc two contains The Young Ones and Wonderful Life. When disc two is inserted you are give the option to choose one of the movies. Once the movie is chosen, the relevant menu appears and gives you the choice of options relating to that movie. Each movie is accompanied by a theatrical trailer and feature length commentary. The trailers are quite amusing, and provide a perfect example of the 60s. Catchphrases like ‘The gayest movie of the year!” and ‘The sunniest picture this side of the equator” are used throughout. Advertising has definitely changed since then! Each trailer runs for about four minutes, but surprisingly they don’t give much of the storylines away. The commentaries are also worth listening to. My favourite is the Summer Holiday one. Director Peter Yates provides the most enthusiastic commentary in the set, and seems to know everything about the movie even thirty years on. Worth listening to is the section relating to Cliff’s legendary string vest! Apparently Cliff chose to wear the vest, and started off a craze (of David Beckham proportions) with the clothing.
 
Cliff Richard DVD Collection, The
Overall
I can guarantee that fans of Cliff Richard will not be disappointed by this boxset. Nearly six hours of your favourite pop star, all for the bargain price of £24.99. Add to that, the fact that the movies have never been presented so well, and it is obvious that this is a must-have purchase for die-hard fans. The boxset contains very few extras, but the commentaries for each of the movies are worthy additions.  Mums everywhere will be delighted by this release!


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