Home Movies/Out on Digital: June 29, 2017
“Hee Haw: Pfft! You Was Gone!”
They keep coming: DVD packages of an unlikely 1969-1971 network TV comedy. The latest, the two-disc “Hee Haw: Pfft! You Was Gone” begs the question: Why? Nostalgia? Or something more?
The country-themed show was likely conceived as an “Okie From Muskogee” counter-punch to the counterculture, yet attracted a hip audience for its sheer oddness and innovation. “Hee Haw” moved fast, incorporated animation into live action and was aware of its own silliness. Nowadays critics would call it “meta”—it was almost a show about a show set in imaginary hillbilly country.
And then there was the music. With genial hosts Roy Clark and Buck Owens, “Hee Haw” showcased top country stars of the time, both in live and lip-synched performances. Dolly Parton, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and Marty Robbins rode the range from rueful balladry to Bakersfield exuberance. “Hee Haw” regular Grandpa Jones anchored the roots with a little banjo playing.
Alone in Berlin
Otto (Brendan Gleeson) and Anna (Emma Thompson) are a couple whose marriage has fallen into sullen silence. But when their son dies at the front, they are spurred to act against the Nazi regime. Otto and Emma leave anti-Hitler postcards in public places, drawing the attention of a Gestapo investigator (Daniel Brühl). Suffused with dread and the anticipation of disaster, Alone in Berlin is a surprisingly absorbing story of resistance by painfully ordinary people.
Paul Simon: The Concert in Hyde Park
London’s Hyde Park was the setting for this 2012 concert, released in a DVD/two-CD set. With acoustic guitar slung around his shoulders but backed by a large ensemble including keyboards and horns, Paul Simon surveyed his 50-year career, focusing mostly on his post-Simon & Garfunkel repertoire. He turned the spotlight to seminal reggae star Jimmy Cliff who performed a mini-concert within the concert and brought out Graceland collaborators Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a couple of numbers.