This tense recording-session documentary is no bland behind-the-scenes promo. Little seen since D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop) filmed it for syndicated TV, the hour-long program frames in relentless close- up the exhaustion and sniping of a team that had one day to preserve Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-winning Broadway score for posterity.
Seeing the actors belt out Sondheim’s plaintive laments about big-city single life carries a wallop that listening alone can’t. The high-resolution disc format makes the 16 mm photography look even grainier than it does on tape, but it also makes it easier to replay the highlights: Dean Jones griping at 3 a.m. that he ”can’t spit,” let alone sing, Elaine Stritch straining mightily to nail ”The Ladies Who Lunch,” and icy Sondheim himself, striking fear into the hearts of the performers with the spoken refrain, ”I don’t want to upset you, but….” Original Cast Album: Company is a riveting mix of short tempers and brilliant temperament.