'50 Years With Peter Paul & Mary'
(Peter Paul & Mary / DVD / NR / (2014) 2016 / MVD Visual)
Overview: '50 Years with Peter, Paul, and Mary' examines the era of the group’s emergence in Greenwich Village through the Civil Rights and Anti-War years where their anthems contributed to America’s soundtrack of social and political change and into the 21st century where their legacy and music continues to inform, inspire and enrich successive generations.
DVD Verdict: Peter, Paul and Mary was an American folk group formed in New York City in 1961, during the American folk music revival phenomenon. The trio was composed of songwriter Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. After the death of Travers in 2009, Yarrow and Stookey continued to perform as a duo under their individual names.
Presented here on this highly informative '50 Years With Peter Paul & Mary' DVD (originally broadcast on PBS) are memorable performances interwoven with voice-over insights provided by Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and the late Mary Travers. Culled from hundreds of hours of radio and television interviews in an 80 minute performance-based documentary, it celebrates the impact of this preeminent trio. One that inspired America through its music and its advocacies.
Produced and directed by Four-time Emmy Award winner Jim Brown, the documentary takes us back to the early black and white days of TV right from the off. Indeed, the story begins when manager Albert Grossman puts the three individuals together in 1964, but if you're looking for indepth history of exactly who Peter, Paul and Mary were; their own journey's to being who they were then, well, sorry, for there is no such history of the individuals themselves.
This is about the group, as a whole. Indeed, when sitting on a sofa, they are asked how long it had taken them to be commercially successful in folk music. "We rehearsed for seven months and then we started to perform. Three months later we released our first album and three months after that is a number one album and the bestselling album in America. It hadn't happened because of a lot of promotion, or because a lot of people had seen us, because they hadn't. It was what we call an Underground Phenomenon."
The archival footage that Brown gathered – from commercial TV shows, PBS’s “25th year reunion” and even heart-rendering video from the memorial service for Mart Travers, who died in 2009 is very satisfying though, if you are simply looking to peak into their world back then. While not all the performance clips are complete, there is enough to satisfy most general fans.
All the hits are here, of course - "Leaving On A Jet Plane", "Blowin' In The Wind", "Puff, the Magic Dragon", "Five Hundred Miles", "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime", and more - and for those looking for the complete Peter, Paul & Mary "group" flashback, well, the “fourth member” of the band was indeed guitarist Paul Prestopino, who is shown in nearly every clip, but neither identified or interviewed. That aside, this is a very heartwarming and fulfilling story on one of America's most beloved and adored folk bands. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.