Release Date(s)2006 (May 31, 2019)
Studio(s)Hip-O/A&M/Universal Music (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: C-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B-
The Police seemingly came out of nowhere in the late 1970s and early 80s, co-opting punk and new wave to gain attention, then blending and transcending those genres with reggae, rock, jazz, and pop influences to create a new and unique sound of their own. Beneath their bleached-blonde hair, Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers were consummate musicians whose artistry, edge, and energy evolved with each new album. And Sting had an undeniable knack writing catchy tunes. The Police briefly became the biggest band in the world as a result and, though they only recorded five albums, they’re still among the most interesting and influential groups of the era, not to mention first-vote inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Just as The Police’s popularity began taking off, drummer Stewart Copeland purchased a Super 8 movie camera and began documenting their life on the road. He captured hundreds of hours of footage, from the band playing on stage, to an endless series of hotel rooms and tour vehicles, and goofing off in between. Highlights include Sting and guitarist Andy Summers working on Shadows in the Rain in the recording studio, the band sharing a tour bus with XTC, and even the infamous photo shoot for the cover of Zenyatta Mondatta. Assembled into a 73-minute documentary, the result is Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out... an inside look at the band as shot, narrated, edited, scored, and lived by Copeland.
First released on DVD back in 2006, the film has now arrived on Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment. But don’t expect reference quality video. Remember, this footage was shot on Super 8, finished in standard definition, and upsampled to 1.78:1 HD. So it’s soft, grainy, and color bleedy—like watching home movies edited on a NewTek Video Toaster. And that’s okay, because that’s exactly what this documentary is meant to look like.
Audio-wise, you’re mostly hearing what was captured via the camera’s microphone. But Stewart has taken that audio and cleaned it up a great deal. He’s also added his own narration, along with Police tunes, and snippets of remixes of a number of classic Police tracks (which I’d love to hear in their entirety) to enhance the mood. And whereas the DVD release included PCM 2.0 stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1, the new Blu-ray includes PCM 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, the latter being a modest but appreciated upgrade. There are also optional subtitles in English, German, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
In terms of extras, you get the same entertaining audio commentary (carried over from DVD) with Copeland and Summers. The track succeeds in capturing much of the playfulness and humor that was apparent in their music. The disc also offers about 25 minutes worth of additional footage not seen in the film (again carried over from the DVD). It includes:
Behind Andy’s Camel (14:16 in all):
- Andy in the Car
- Stewart vs. Sting
- Miles Sings “Every Breath You Take”
- Andy vs. Sumo
- Blondes Over Los Angeles
- Breakfast Cafe
- Obsessing Over Charts
- Tokyo Streets
- On Our Way Home
- End Titles without Credits
You also get bits of live performance footage shot on tour around the world, including:
Live “Shards” (10:20 in all)
- So Lonely – Orange, France
- Roxanne – Spain
- Can’t Stand Losing You – Spain
- Roxanne – Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island
- Fall Out – Spain
- Landlord – Spain
- Truth Hits Everybody – Pink Pop Festival
- Truth Hits Everybody – Belgium
- Walking on the Moon – Belgium
- Message in a Bottle – Belgium
Yes, that’s right—one of the clips was filmed in a minimum-security prison. These aren’t complete songs, mind you, just pieces of them. But it’s fun stuff.
When I reviewed the DVD back in 2003, I began my summary thusly: “Short of an unlikely reunion album or farewell tour, Everyone Stares is about as rare and rich a gem as Police fans could ever want.” Color me shocked when The Police did eventually do a reunion tour in 2007 and 2008. (I saw them five times during the tour, to make up for having missed my chance to see them in the 80s.) If you already own this documentary on DVD, there’s limited value in the Blu-ray upgrade. But hey—it’s only $13. And if you love this band like I do, you’re going to savor every minute of it.
- Bill Hunt