Today’s classic Christmas song is “Last Christmas” from Wham!, which looks fantastic on YouTube. In 2019, the original clip got a 4K digital makeover. “Last Christmas” was shot on film, so director Andy Morahan was able to find most of the original footage and get it rescanned at higher resolution. A few shots were missing, so they were up-rezzed and improved as much as possible. Other than the haircuts and clothes, the video looks like it was shot last week and not 1984.
Rescanning the footage also makes the image a little wider than what was seen on TV in the ‘80s. You’ll notice nothing very important happens at the left and right edge because they were never expected to show. By comparison, look at the official (but unrestored) version of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” It’s dark, muddy, and hazy.
Jumping back to “Last Christmas,” the video was shot at a Swiss ski resort with friends of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley playing … their friends. You can spot Wham! back-up singers Pepsi & Shirlie, who also had a couple UK hits on their own, as well as Spandau Ballet singer Martin Kemp, who married Shirlie in 1988.
Here’s Andrew Ridgeley telling a couple stories about shooting the video, including someone slamming glasses of wine and why some folks think it looks like George Michael gets nailed in the “knackers” by a snowball.