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 Post subject: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2020, 22:19 
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Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]



Another disc I picked up on a whim and am again pleasantly surprised with. It turns out that Berlin Blues is a super obscure thriller/drama pumped out of the wonderful Cannon Films stable.

You can pick up Berlin Blues on an R2 DVD from Spain, however it only has a Spanish soundtrack, making this English Laserdisc somewhat sought after. Berlin Blues isn't available anywhere (bar an inferior VHS) else at the time of writing.

The film itself is actually rather good. Certainly not awards worthy but absolutely worth your time. The big cast draw here is Keith Baxter, but everyone puts in a decent effort here. The film revolves around two friends both in love with the same woman who sings at popular music venue Berlin Blues. It's more than just a flaccid helmet of a romantic drama, Berlin Blues has a political edge to it as the two brothers live on opposite sides of the wall, and one of them wants to defect...

The musical pieces are a surprise here (composed by Lalo Schifrin). They are EXTREMELY 80's (and I love that). Lots of sax, moody stage lighting and posing, fingerless gloves etc. Accompanying the musical element of the film is a superb audio track on the Laserdisc. It's analogue, with a choice of CX on or off, and that's all you are getting here. Yet it is really nicely mastered. As with many discs I have watched, this one too seems to have wonderful audio but is mastered just a little too low, so you wili need to give your volume knob a bit of welly to get the best out of this disc.

Picture quality is sensational, especially as the film is very dark with a lot of blue tones and fluorescent street lighting which could easily maul any hope of a decent image transfer.

The film looks like a direct transfer of the original reels and is all the better for it. If I had to gripe it would be that the disc is 4:3 letterboxed so you end up watching the film windowboxed. It does look fairly juicy if you switch on panorama mode on your video processor, however I don't like messing about with original AR's so I just watched it as God intended but upscaled to 1080i50.

Berlin Blues looks and sounds superb. Definitely ranks as one of the better discs I've seen. It's not a bad film to boot. You could spend 100 minutes watching something far worse. Give this one a try if you happen to come across it on your travels.


Last edited by teddanson on 04 Oct 2020, 00:25, edited 2 times in total. _________________
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2020, 23:49 
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Is this film dubbed in English?? Hard to figure out as imdb says the film is supposed to be Spanish.

I've also experienced some mid to late 80s and very early 90s LDs need to have the volume turned up more than normal, not
a real big issue when you have a nice amp/speakers but it is an issue.
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 03 Oct 2020, 23:54 
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No it is an English language film. It just seems Spain is the only place it appeared on DVD as far as I can see. A shame really as it is an alright little May to December film. A 'nice' window in to Germany's past too (I of course use that term very loosely) with lots of scenes filmed at the wall and border.
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2020, 10:24 
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rein-o wrote:
Is this film dubbed in English?? Hard to figure out as imdb says the film is supposed to be Spanish.

I've also experienced some mid to late 80s and very early 90s LDs need to have the volume turned up more than normal, not
a real big issue when you have a nice amp/speakers but it is an issue.


Just triple checked what little information there is on this film and it all seems to state the film is in Spanish. I'll take another look at the disc because either it is in English or it has a seriously good dub track.

With that said, there doesn't seem to be any other version of the film with an English track so I imagine it makes this disc a bit of a rarity?
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2020, 15:20 
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From that trailer even if it is dubbed they are trying to speak English, thanks for posting the trailer I may take a risk and get it.
Seems cheezy and interesting at the same time.
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2020, 10:23 
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It's from the Cannon Films stable (well, Cannon International) so the bar is kind of set for you. :lol:

It is fairly cheesy but it's a good little film and a nice piece about a country that many young folks today can look at and get a glimpse of one of the last countries divided. Alas I am old enough to remember watching the wall come down. Go on, take a punt on it! :D
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2020, 14:17 
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I know it would have been crazy if it happened during an ebay world.

Remember hearing that they were selling off pieces of the wall, can you imagine what the cost of that would be when it first happened if on ebay :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 27 Jul 2021, 19:52 
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OK Finally have a chance to watch this, picked it up on ebay months ago after searching for a few weeks.
Probably shortly after I made my last post under this topic.

Wanted to add that I feel this film is shot in 4.3 or its an open matte and would never have been widescreen.
Ted notes some great info in his reviews, but films like this catch me in a certain way, good way but my angle on what I see.

I love seeing these better films with semi poor actors trying to pretend to play instruments or the poor dubbing that you just don't see anymore.
Its almost like an exaggerated 80s version of Cabaret and some other films I can't place right now.
Only about 15 minutes into it and it seems fun and I can see that its going to show a slice of time, the before times that we will never have again.

Sad part is that its not on DVD as Ted posted and the only way to get this one is on LD, good thing is that its cheap on LD.

Seems like they had a bad audio issue on set? possibly mic's on set or something, the early scene with a coffee shop seems to be all dubbed but then the next
scene is recorded in the room and no overdubbing.
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 28 Jul 2021, 12:01 
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Oh cool, glad you got to finally see Berlin Blues! What did you think of it after watching it? It's an alright film I think.

I agree with you on the AR. It feels a bit odd yet I think it was 1:85:1 or something around there still rather than 4:3. I'm not 100% though it's a weird film. The audio too. I couldn't believe it was native Spanish audio. Either that or the dubbing is exceptional. It is on DVD but only in Spain and it's a) hard to get and b) a bit weird in terms of the source used I think. I've not seen it though as the Laserdisc is good enough.

It's a fun film to waste some time on. Far worse out there to watch. :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: Berlin Blues (1989) [31072]
PostPosted: 28 Jul 2021, 16:20 
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I did catch a burn reel change mark in one scene and it looked more like open matte.

Audio had some hissing in the musical numbers, but I believe these were from the original source or how they made it.

The film did have a real Golan Globus feel to it due to being a Cannon film.
Unknown if they were involved but it did fit the formula.

Seemed like the ending was shot as filler or something, day before its clear and the next it has old snow on the streets for days.
Did like the twist ending, didn't expect that and gave some hope, was also fun for the pre Bloc situation, probably one of the later or last
films to deal with such a topic while it was still going on.

Overall if I were to rate it in total of other films, its watchable and if you put it with all films I would say it gets a 2 or 3 out of 10.
But if you rate it for the type of film it is I would say it gets a 6 or even 7, lower budget but overall fun and I was actually thinking of it now
that I could watch it again in the future.
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