When it comes to the music of that band out of Manchester, The Smiths, there is very little middle ground — you either love them or hate them. If you fall into the latter camp, this DVD will do nothing to convince you otherwise. If, however, you are a fan of their music then ’The Smiths: The Complete Picture’ offers up a nice little collection of music videos and ’live’ performances showcasing many of the band’s hits.
When I say ’live’ what I mean is that some of the clips are drawn from the British TV show ’Top of the Pops’ and feature The Smiths lip-synching their songs in front of the obligatory swaying and fawning crowd of fresh-scrubbed teenagers. There are no true concert videos on this release. The music videos are somewhat more entertaining, although a bit rough by today’s standards. The best part of the disk is Derek Jarman’s short film about the band, ’The Queen is Dead’ featuring the songs ’The Queen Is Dead,’ ’There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and ’Panic.’ This feature is noticeably more polished than the rest of the tracks on the DVD.
The full-frame video on ’The Smiths: The Complete Picture’ is very low-quality due to the 15 year old TV source materials. In addition, many of the videos utilize the distressed film look that was all the rage at the time. So, even if the materials were up to par, the video would never be mistaken for reference quality. It’s not unwatchable by any means but certainly doesn’t take advantage of the high resolution possible on DVD.
The audio is presented in a stereo PCM track that is fairly mediocre. Again, the source materials aren’t that great so the sound is about what you would expect to hear on a good FM radio station.
Wow, with all of these strikes against it why even bother with this DVD? Well, warts and all, ’The Smiths: The Complete Picture’ is still highly entertaining and provides a look at a band that seemingly came and went in the blink of an eye. Fans of the The Smiths will just be happy to see the gang in all of their mid-1980s glory. Plus, it’s not like you’re going to see these videos on MTV anytime soon.
1. This Charming Man
2. What Difference Does It Make?
4. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
6. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
7. How Soon Is Now?
8. Shoplifters Of The World Unite
9. Girlfriend In A Coma
10. Sheila Take A Bow
11. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
12. The Queen Is Dead (A film by Derek Jarman, includes The Queen Is Dead, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Panic)