Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 29th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1972
Director: Ringo Starr
Cast: Marc Bolan & T Rex, Ringo Starr, Elton John
DVD released: June 7th, 2005
Approximate running time: 325 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen
Sound: DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Sanctuary Records
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
“I could never understand, The wind at all, Was like a ball of love, I could never never see, The cosmic sea, Was like a bumblebee, And when I’m sad, I slide” T-Rex – The Slider
Marc Bolan formed the band Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967 with percussionist Steve Took. The bands early sound was mostly comprised of Folk and Rock N’ Roll music. By the 1969 a rift had between the two lead to Steve Took leaving shortly after the release of the album Unicorn. Bolan would quickly replace Steve Took with bongo player Mickey Finn. Bolan would change the name from Tyrannosaurus Rex to T Rex after recording one album with Finn titled A Beard of Stars. With the name change the band would shift to a more electronic style that was in direct contrast to its acoustic roots. By the early 1970’s T Rex’s popularity was reminiscent of Beatle mania with the release of their masterpiece Electric Warrior.
1972 would be the year T Rex would rule the rock world and the two shows they would perform on March 18th, 1972 at Wembley would serve as the foundation for the Ringo Starr directed documentary about the band titled “Born to Boogie”. By 1974 various band members would start to leave the band as Marc Bolan’s behavior had become more erratic and his ego became too large to control. Bolan’s popularity would continue to decline during the final three years of his life. In 1977 there was a proposed reunion with his former producer Tony Visconti and his former band mates Steve Took and Mickey Finn. The reunion would never happen as Marc Bolan like many rock stars from his generation would die tragically in a car crash at the incredibly young age of twenty nine.
Marc Bolan was one of the first musicians to dabble in the look and musical style known as glam rock. Even from his humble beginnings as a two piece folk band he was very aware of presenting himself and his music visually. Born to Boogie is a perfect time capsule moment of an artist at the height of his powers. Bolan’s command of the stage and audience is mesmerizing as he rips through song after song with the utmost confidence.
Born to Boogie has no real story line and it is essentiality footage from two concerts and brief skits all stung together without any regard for a cohesive narrative. This set is lasting reminder of just how brilliant of a performer and songwriter Marc Bolan was. The performance clips are by far and way the best part of Born to Boogie. The free form skits which play in between the concert footage are anything from bizarre to down right surreal. Marc Bolan is a unique artist whose music remains as powerful today as it was during its original inception.
Born to Boogie and the two concerts included for this DVD release are presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves their original aspect ratio. All the footage for the main film and two concerts was shot in 16mm. An extensive restoration was undertaken for this project. The final result is nothing less spectacular as Born to Boogie and the various concerts and outtakes included have never looked better. After years of watching faded and washed out versions of Born to Boogie T Rex fans can now finally see it in all of its glory via this new DVD release.
This release comes with four audio options DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital stereo and for purists the films original mono soundtrack. The audio like the video for this release has been painstakingly restored and all four audio tracks sound nearly flawless with the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 sounding the most impressive of the ones included.
The extras for this release are divided over two DVD’s.
The first DVD includes the following extras Born to Boogie’s trailer and an audio commentary with Tim Van Rellim and Mark Allen for the main feature “Born to Boogie”. The final extra include for disc one is an hour length concert titled “T Rex in concert 8:30 P.M. 18th March, 1972”. Disc one audio features a hidden clip of Marc Bolan and Ringo Starr backstage after the Wembley concerts.
The bulk of the extras for disc two are located in a section titled “T-Rextras” which includes the following extras outtakes and deleted scenes are included for this release and each one is set up by Tim Van Rellim who is interviewed by Rolan Bolan. Also included are additional interviews one with Bill Legend (T Rex’s Drummer) and the other interview is with Tony Visconti (T Rex’s producer). Both interviews are amazing as they remember in great detail working with Marc Bolan. The song Cadillac is offered up with a multi angle option and Jeepster comes with a multi audio option. The extensive video restoration that went into this DVD release is shown via the Bump and Grind segment and the demonstration of the audio’s restoration is provided via the song See you Talking. This release also comes with “Sarah Crazy Child” one of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s first performances from 1967.
Other extras on disc two include an hour length concert titled “T Rex in concert 5:30 P.M. 18th March, 1972”. Also included on disc two is a fifteen minute featurette titled “Re-Born to Boogie”. This is an extensive look at the restoring of all the material that appears on this DVD release. Rounding out the extras is a forty seven minute documentary titled “Cosmic Rock – When T Rex Ruled the World”. The documentary is hosted by Rolan Bolan and includes interviews Bill Legend, Tony Visconti, Mark Harris, Tim Van Rellim, Keith Morris, Mickey Gray, Emperor Rosko and comments from T Rex Fans. The documentary also gives a solid overview of the band T Rex and Marc Bolan.
Also included with this release a collectable booklet which includes many photos and extensive liner notes about “Born to Boogie” written by Mark Paytress.
Born to Boogie is a testament to Marc Bolan and his musical legacy. Sanctuary Records have not only restored this important piece of music history they have also loaded this DVD set up with a wealth of entertaining and insightful extras that give longtime fans and those just discovering Marc Bolan a better understanding about this charismatic musician who ruled the world in 1972, highly recommended.