La Fille Mal Gardée

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Details At A Glance

Category Ballet Booklet
Listing - Cast and Crew
Web Links
Year Released 1981
Running Time 97:26 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection then Menu
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Directors John Vernon
NVC Arts
Warner Vision
Starring Lesley Collier
Michael Coleman 
Brian Shaw
Leslie Edwards
Garry Grant
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $39.95 Music Ferdinand Hérold

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

Plot Synopsis

    The broad story of La Fille Mal Gardee is another of those relatively clichéd efforts along the lines of girl loves boy, girl denied boy, girl overcomes obstacles and gets boy.

    Lise (Lesley Collier) is the daughter of widowed, wealthy farm owner Simone (Brian Shaw) and is in love with a young farmer neighbour in Colas (Michael Coleman), but Simone has higher plans for Lise than a mere farmer, namely the incompetent buffoon of a son of wealthy vineyard owner Thomas (Leslie Edwards), Alain (Garry Grant). Lise is not overly enamoured with the buffoonery of Alain when they meet and is not in the least bit interested. It is harvest day and the farm is filled with visitors as the harvesters and associated hangers-on congregate before heading off to the fields for the exertions. Alain tries his best to impress Lise but Colas, with the aid of the harvesters, keeps on butting in and usurping Alain's efforts. The more this goes on, the more obvious it is that Lise only has eyes for Colas. Even Simone eventually has to agree, but he sure makes it hard for them. This includes trying very hard to keep them apart, but when Colas manages to get into the farmhouse and Simone disappears off to have a drink with the harvesters, things take a decisive turn. Even when Thomas turns up with a contract of marriage that Simone signs, things are still not resolved as Lise and Colas are discovered together in her bedroom.

   The story may be banal but the ballet is lifted out of the ordinary by the excellent music, and some different choreography (you have got to love the chickens!). The result is a reasonably enjoyable experience, with just enough variety here to avoid falling into the extended technical dance that purists might love but the rest of us find boring. I mean, this ballet even includes a clog dance of all things! The dancing seems to be quite well done, although Lesley Collier in my view is significantly better than Michael Coleman. Brian Shaw and Garry Grant both get into the buffoonery side of things well and the result is something altogether more palatable for the non-fans.

   Whilst the art does not get any closer to entering my heart as something worthwhile, this is just a slightly less stiffer style of ballet that is quite an enjoyable effort. After all, any ballet that includes both a chicken dance and a clog dance has to be worthwhile watching! It might not be hauteur stuff, but it is the sort of stuff that the masses can enjoy.

Transfer Quality


    The recording was made way back in 1981 and thus demonstrates the sort of flat look that we have seen before from this sort of vintage.  The transfer is presented in a Full Frame format and is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    The flat look is amply demonstrated by the slightly diffuse transfer that does not quite show the full detail that we would expect of something recorded in the last five years. There are the occasional lapses in focus, which don't exactly help matters enormously. The overall result is something that lacks just a little in the depth of field. Shadow detail is not much of an issue here, whilst clarity is hampered somewhat by the presence of consistent minor grain. It is nothing really ugly, but just enough to make your eyes gravitate to it. There are no problems with low level noise in the transfer.

    The colour palette is also just a little flat, lacking a little in saturation. This is again quite similar to other transfers seen from this era. It is nothing close to being a vibrant transfer, but after allowing for the lack of saturation the result is reasonably natural looking. Oversaturation is not an issue here, and nor are there any problems with colour bleed at all.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There are just a few odd indications of aliasing here and there, most notably around 66:13 during an upward and then downward pan shot. There are no real film artefacts present in the transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is just the one soundtrack on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.

    The music comes up pretty well in the transfer and is quite clear. Obviously with this being a ballet programme, audio sync is not something that has to be considered.

    The music, composed by Ferdinand Hérold and arranged by John Lanchbery, is mostly very good indeed: plenty of good tunes are dotted throughout the score, and this really helps to keep the interest level up a lot.

    This is yet another Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that really does not have much wrong with it. It is quite a clear-sounding effort, although a bit more clarity would not have gone astray, and it has no indications of distortions or other blemishes. There is nothing in the way of surround and bass channel use at all. The overall sound is just a little bit too central but this is perhaps to be expected in a soundtrack of this nature.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Another single sided, single layer DVD that does not contain an overall impressive extras package. Given the length of the programme here, I would have expected a little bit more here than we have received. Biographical notes about the composer? History of The Royal Ballet Covent Garden? They might have gone down well.


    Another relatively straight-forward, functional effort.


    Not a terrific effort but provides a decent listing of the chapters and a short synopsis.

Listing - Cast and Crew

    Basically duplicating the information on the first page of the booklet, so has little point really.


    A basic but helpful synopsis by chapter.

Web Links

    The basic automated link to the NVC Arts site.


    As far as we have been able to ascertain, there are no censorship issues with this title.

R4 vs R1

    As far as we have been able to ascertain, this has not yet been released in Region 1.


    La Fille Mal Gardée is a good ballet for the non-aficionado to indulge in, as it has plenty of good music and enough variety in the dance to keep the interest level up. The transfer is nothing especially wonderful, but is good enough for a twenty year old video.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
10th June, 2001.

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL