Parts" on DVD
by Jim Bray
"Elephant Parts" was billed as the first made-for-home-video
production and when it was first released in 1981 it was definitely innovative
Seventeen point five
years later, it holds up quite well on DVD, and if you liked it way back
when, you'll find it a warm and wonderful walk down video memory lane.
Elephant Parts is
an hour-long (well, 62 minutes) collection of skits and music videos starring,
executive produced and co-written by former Monkee Michael Nesmith, the
guy who wore the woolen toque and who was arguably the most talented musician
of that 1960's TV-created quartet.
The show is funny
and irreverent and the songs are enjoyably played and shot.
One thing Elephant
Parts is not is politically correct, and that's another reason to like
it. I daresay if it were shot today, there'd be picket lines set up over
such bits as "Elvis Drugs," "Name that Drug" (a game
show in which contestants are required to smoke a joint and tell what
type of illicit weed it is) and "battered wife." Too bad; too
many of us are afraid to laugh at such stuff today
opposed to "ET") appears to have been a pretty low budget effort,
but they did a really good job of maximizing their bang per buck quotient.
The cast are all virtually unknown (I still haven't heard of them), director/co-writer
William Dear was near the beginning of his Hollywood career (he went on
to helm "Harry and the Hendersons" and other cinematic fare),
and the video effects used look positively cheap by today's flashy digital
Still, none of that
stuff is important and "Elephant" is greater than the sum of
The packaging claims
there's no regional coding or copy protection on the disc. I didn't test
this, but must applaud DVD International for taking this brave, and welcome,
also says it went back to the original source material for the mastering
of this disc, and it's a good thing. Picture and sound quality are good,
but not up to the standards one expects from big budget Hollywood film
conversions. That doesn't really work against this disc, though.
A pile of extras has
also been included on the DVD, including an alternate audio track in which
Nesmith expounds on, well, I'm not sure. Seems as if Mike's having a bit
of fun with the DVD medium's capabilities. There's also a section that
includes photos, a bio of Nesmith, press clippings, discography, etc.
etc. Some of this stuff is in really small type, however, and extremely
difficult to read.
I didn't really care
about the extras, though; I was a fan of Elephant Parts from its first
release, and found the DVD like a visit with an old friend.
Try it; you just may
Michael Nesmith in
Elephant Parts, from DVD International
62 minutes, full screen, Dolby Digital Stereo, no regional coding or copy
Starring Michael Nesmith
Written by Michael Nesmith, William Dear and Bill Martin Executive Producer
Michael Nesmith, Produced by Kathryn Nesmith
Directed by William Dear
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