PETULA CLARK:  AT THE TURN OF THE YEAR (DVD) Image

This 1978 concert film was shot during British pop star’s Petula Clark New Year’s Eve performance in Chichester (the West Sussex city where she lived during her childhood). But it is also a bit of a cheat, since the entire concert is not included and the songs that are here do not represent Clark at her best.

Much of the material in this DVD consists of Clark doing sedate, easy-listening covers of famous pop tunes including “Your Song” and “What the World Needs Now.” Her singing has none of the vibrancy and style one associates with this beloved entertainer, and even her mostly-elderly audience is polite in their response to the presentation.

But midway through the concert, the scene switches away from the stage to the streets of Chichester. Clark walks around in a raincoat on a bleak winter day, gazing endlessly at the city’s cathedral. Renditions of “Look to the Rainbow” and “The Other Man’s Grass is Always Greener” are heard on the soundtrack, even though none of the imagery corresponds with the lyrics. She finally ventures inside to hear the cathedral’s choir sing a hymn, and then she joins in with the choir to belt out “Fill the World with Love.” Then it is back to the concert, but then back to the cathedral with a reprise of “Fill the World with Love” as the closing credits roll.

Clark fans who want to see and hear performances of her most famous songs, such as “Downtown” and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” won’t find them here. And at 45 minutes, what is found here is too little to crow about.

I’ve always loved Petula Clark, but this time she let me down.

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