The box set attempts to present a history of the blues from the dawning of recorded music to the present day. It offers a survey of many different blues sub-genres and tangential music styles, as well as a survey of almost all the most notable blues performers over time. In 2004, the box set won two Grammy Awards for "Best Historical Album" and "Best Album Notes." That same year it was #2 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart.
This 7 DVD set features rare archival performance footage of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton and many more. It also features newly filmed performances by contemporary artists singing classic blues songs. It may have been underrated when first broadcast on PBS on consecutive nights in the fall of '03, but executive producer Martin Scorsese's homage to the blues is a truly significant, if imperfect, achievement. "Musical journey" is an apt description, as Scorsese and the six other directors responsible for these seven approximately 90-minute films follow the blues–the foundation of jazz, soul, R&B, and rock & roll–from its African roots to its Mississippi Delta origins, up the river to Memphis and Chicago, then to New York, the United Kingdom, and beyond.
The box set attempts to present a history of the blues from the dawning of recorded music to the present day. It offers a survey of many different blues sub-genres and tangential music styles, as well as a survey of almost all the most notable blues performers over time.
“This survey of Italian cinema by Martin Scorsese is a worthwhile follow-up to his 1995 documentary A Personal Journey Through American Movies. Packed with insight and film clips, Voyage covers Italian cinema from World War II through the early '60s, the time that the young Scorsese watched these films before starting his career. The heart of the documentary is the Neo-Realism movement – not the lightest of genres, but Scorsese's passion helps considerably. He introduces us to his family and Sicilian ancestors via photos and home movies allowing us to understand how powerfully these films affected him and his family. He talks about how he saw the films, often through inferior prints on television, and calls out details to observe. The filmmaker spends upwards of 15 minutes on a single film, with the bulk of the history centering on five powerhouse directors: Roberto Rossellini (“Open City”), Vittorio De Sica (“The Bicycle Thief”), Luchino Visconti (“Senso”), Federico Fellini (“8-1/2”), and Michelangelo Antonioni(“L'Avventura”).
Scorsese's four-hour-plus survey should come with a college credit for film history. He examines the major films but also spends time on films that may be hard to find on home video (at least at this time): Rossellini's six-part “Paisan”, a heart-breaking look at the last days of the war; De Sica's episodic “The Gold of Naples”; Fellini's atypical “I Vitelloni”, which was a major influence on Scorsese's own “Mean Streets”; Antonioni's “Eclipse” with its radical ending; and Rossellini's “Voyage to Italy”, an examination of a marriage that failed worldwide as a film but was a touchstone for the French New Wave movement. The final results are not as accessible as “Personal Journey” but, at worst, a viewer will have working knowledge of more than 20 Italian films (and be able to cheat their way through a discussion). At best, these are four hours that will end too soon and leave you hungry to view these films that have fueled Scorsese's cinematic vision.”
Despite its nearly four-hour running time, this is a uniquely personal look at movies from one of the late 20th century's great directors and film historians. The film consists of head & shoulder shots of Scorsese speaking into the camera for a minute or two, followed by 10-15 minutes of film clips with Scorsese voice-over. Scorsese approaches the films in terms of how they affected him as a director foremost and as a storyteller/film fan second. Segments include "The Director as Smuggler," "The Director as Iconoclast", and so on. The Journey begins with silent masters like D.W. Griffith and ends in 1969 - when Scorsese began to make films; as he says in closing, "I wouldn't feel right commenting on myself or my contemporaries."Fred Goodridg