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Posted October 1, 2010
This documentary, produced by Clint Eastwood and Bruce Ricker, examines the Tony Bennett catalog as a means to tell the story of how Bennett became the master interpreter of popular music. An often repeated story about a racist military officer who didn't care for Bennett's friendship with an African-American soldier in the days following the end of World War II is used to explain why he felt a kinship with the civil rights movement and the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King. There's a great sequence of clips from the "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" that help tell the story of Bennett's collaboaration with jazz pianist Bill Evans. More "Tonight Show.." clips compliment an interview with Mel Brooks (both were guests on the "Tonight Show" when Johnny Carson debuted as host in 1963, a pairing that was recreated during the final week of Carson's tenure in 1992)
You will learn that "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was the planned B-side to another song. There's a respectful tribute to the contributions to Bennett's career by Mitch Miller. The documentary includes many clips I've never seen before such as Miller playing the clarinet to Bennett's singing on a 1960's TV broadcast. You'll also see clips from a "Make Room for Daddy" guest appearance as well as a duet from "The Doris Day Show" sitcom.
If there's a weakness at all, it's in not employing Eastwood's appreciation for the genre more in his interview with Bennett. There appears to be a good give and take with the pair at a piano, but it came across at times as a set up to something bigger that never really happens.
Concert footage from 2005 recalls for me the one and only time I saw Tony Bennett perform in 2004.
This is a real treat for fans of Tony Bennett
I went to a Tony Bennett concert in 1966 in St. Louis. He was very big then and had several really popular albums. Forty-four years later and he's an even bigger star. With Clint Eastwood producing a mini-biography on him. The music is good, and the accolades don't stop. I bought this for my brother for Christmas. It's a very inspiring story, and Tony Bennett is a very charming guy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.