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THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
Ron Mann has made a name for himself with fast, clever documentaries like Comic Book Confidential and Grass. Twist, his look at the dance crazes of the 50's and 60's is made in a similar vein, with funny archival footage and interviews with key players, but ultimately it fails to make the case that the dances meant anything more than a lot of foot-shuffling and hip-shaking.
The anamorphic widescreen video looks good. Mann's original footage is colorful and clear while the archival footage looks pretty well preserved for the most part.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is also good. The music is lively and has been mixed with an ear for the range of tone in the songs.
An interview with Ron Mann is included, as is a newly shot "How to Dance" instructional segment. A montage of recent performances from many of those interviewed is also included, which is nice. Even though they've added some years and pounds since their heyday, these performers are obviously still moved by the music. Trailers for Mann's films are also included.
There's nothing wrong with Twist. Fans of the music will definitely enjoy it and those who remember the times will love the old footage. The only drawback is that it never quite proves what it is that makes the Twist and other such dances special.
Email Gil Jawetz at [email protected]