This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 118:17 minutes Other Extras Main Menu Audio
Cast & Crew Interviews
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (78:57)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection,
then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Shekhar Kapur

Starring Cate Blanchett
Geoffrey Rush
Christopher Eccleston
Joseph Fiennes
Richard Attenborough
Fanny Ardant
Kathy Burke
Eric Cantona
James Frain
Vincent Cassel
John Gielgud
Case Super Jewel
RRP $34.95 Music David Hirschfelder

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No

Plot Synopsis

    Elizabeth is a sumptuous drama starring Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I. It tells the early story of her turbulent rise to power and her subsequent stabilization of an England divided between Catholic and Protestant. It is a powerful story, wonderfully told and with some absolutely stunning cinematography and music. It additionally features Christopher Eccleston as the Duke of Norfolk, Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley and Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham and numerous other actors in a strong ensemble cast.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is excellent and there is very little to complain about. The cinematography has been captured superbly on this disc.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very sharp and very clear at all times, except for some deliberately overexposed shots. Shadow detail is excellent, and there is no low level noise.

    There is one minor video glitch early in the movie, at 1:24, where the titles "THE CATHOLIC'S GREATEST FEAR IS THE SUCCESSION OF MARY'S PROTESTANT HALF SISTER" appear on the screen. Underneath this, a thin purple and yellow line appears for most of the duration of the title.

    The colours were beautifully captured. There are many contrasts to be seen in this film, from dark, dank and dreary locations to stunningly coloured sequences of pageantry.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts went unnoticed. Film artefacts were very rarely present.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 78:57, between Chapters 13 and 14. This is less than ideally placed, as it has been placed immediately after a scene change rather than at the scene change, so it is moderately disruptive.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1 and German Dolby Digital 5.1.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand, critically important with a movie such as this one.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by David Hirschfelder is generally very suited to the on screen action, though some of it sounded a little too modern for my liking, even though I am a great fan of this composer's work.

     The surround channels were used far more than I expected, mainly for music and also a great deal for ambience. This soundtrack is surprisingly enveloping, despite there being little in the way of action sequences. There is nothing striking about the soundtrack, just lots of subtle sound placement and echoes.

    The .1 channel was used moderately to support the music.


    All of the extras are presented at an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16x9 enhanced (windowboxed) with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Clips from the movie itself are presented within the extras at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The extras are not particularly great, but they are better than nothing.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    Compared to the Region 1 version, we miss out on;     The Region 1 version misses out on;


    The menu design is average and is the usual Polygram-style menu. There is a little splash of audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 when the main menu is displayed for the first time, which is more of a distraction than anything else.


    This contains detailed cast biographies and production notes. They are excellent, and well worth the reading time.

Cast & Crew Interviews (7 minutes)

    This is more along the lines of a promotional featurette with intercut movie, trailer, behind the scenes and interview footage. It is reasonable.

Featurette - Making Of (11 minutes)

    This is similar to the above but showing different aspects of the production of the movie.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (6 minutes)

    This is uncommented behind the scenes footage and is of limited value.


    Elizabeth is a great movie.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is above average.

    The extras are limited and they aren't great, and we miss out on the Director's commentary track.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
14th July 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer