I don't know if I've ever been as skeptical of the legitimacy of a DVD release than I was while watching You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks. Now, I've seen some unsanctioned documentaries on iconic bands in my time, but if the disc was commercially sold in stores and on website, I was always pretty certain that its distributer operated in within the bounds of copyright law--either by not using the band's music or by legitimately licensing what they did use.
And ABC Entertainment must have gone through the normal licensing channels when releasing this sorry excuse for a documentary. Otherwise major retailers like Amazon wouldn't stock it. DVD Talk probably wouldn't receive screeners either. But there were several reasons to suspect something shady was going on:
1. The picture quality of the footage was terrible. Like a video taped off TV. Surely if there were rights involved, they wouldn't have to add letterbox bars to mask part of the image and see TV station IDs (see the video quality section).
2. The filmmakers had absolutely nothing to say about The Kinks. The awkwardly read voice-over provides little insight that couldn't be found in the band's Wikipedia entry. It tells us that so-and-so left or joined the band after this or that album, but stops short of giving us any sense of the personalities and styles of these musicians.
3. Making matters worse, the footage generally isn't even from the era in question. Most of the performance come from but from a couple concerts, at least one of which can be seen on DVD elsewhere. So the film might bring up a song the band played in the '60s, but show it performed in the '80s (without ever offering the year of the performance). There are also some music videos, most of which come at the end of band's career and make the sloppy, disorganized structure feel even more lopsided. At one point, the narrator talks about what a hit "Lola" was while another song plays in the background.
I can only imagine that a company had the rights to certain Kinks footage, and cynically set out to make a documentary that used that footage and only that footage, regardless of what was needed to make the movie worth watching.
I'd love to see a documentary that really studied the shifts in sound and band dynamics of these iconic British rockers, but to call this mis-mash a documentary is an insult to an artform that requires organization, skill and thought.
So this is the attitude that drove this DVD: "Make no effort to find quality materials, and if the footage is too shoddy to release as-is, attempt to trick the audience by depriving them a quarter of the screen."
Much of the footage comes from the concert film One for the Road, which was released on DVD with a 5.1 soundtrack that must sound and look better than the clips here. (No way it's worse).