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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)

Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011)

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Released 15-Aug-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Deleted Scenes-(12.22)
Theatrical Trailer-(2.07)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 84:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jason Cohn
Bill Jersey

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jason Cohn
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
James Franco
Jeannine Claudia Oppewall
Paul Schrader
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Michael Bacon

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Arthouse Film series distributed in Region 4 by Madman Entertainment is not only to be commended for providing documentaries highlighting famous performers and artists whose lives and works are well known on these shores. It also, from time to time, brings to light artists and creators who were important in their field and crucial to the development of our modes of living and yet not so well known.

     So it was for me with Eames: the Architect and the Painter the story of husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames. Although this documentary brings together a wealth of intelligent art critics and design gurus, who almost worship at the altar of their greatness, I must admit that until putting the DVD into my player I had never heard of Charles and Ray Eames. Those who have heard of the pair will no doubt gain volumes from this DVD and others will get a benefit from exposure to a world of industrial design.

     The title of this DVD sets out the basic theme. That is, the success of the couple depended upon the skilful blend of his precise mind (though he dropped out of architecture school) with her creative ideas. Together they would come to define modernism in American design, most famously through the Eames Lounge Chair Wood a bold idea to do away with the complexities of chair design replacing it with a single moulded body. It was art for the masses with a high degree of functionality. Time Magazine awarded it the greatest design of the 20th Century.

     Through their association with corporate entities the designers, who established a centre in Venice, California that resembled nothing so much as a Renaissance artist studio, brought Modernist design to the masses. At home they lived in a modernist triumph, the Case Study House, in Pacific Palisades, which is still a mecca for design students today.

     Not only were they involved in furniture design but also in film-making. Indeed, some of the most interesting parts of this documentary are those dealing with the presentations that the pair put on for global trade fairs and the incredibly detailed and technical production for IBM.

     It wasn't all practicality. One of the funniest moments in this documentary is when an interviewee recalls how at the conclusion of a meal at the Eames house they were presented each with a bowl of flowers representing a “virtual desert"!

     The film makes extensive use of archive footage but also former colleagues (both Charles and Ray are long deceased). Their colleagues relish the opportunity to talk about the days when the team were constantly creating and changing. Other subjects include Eames design studio alumni and 4 time Oscar design nominee Jeannine Oppewall and her ex-husband film-maker and scriptwriter (Taxi Driver) Paul Schrader. The thinking person’s Hollywood star James Franco provides a heartfelt narration.

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Transfer Quality


     Eames: the Architect and the Paintercomes to DVD in a 1.85:1 transfer consistent with its cinematic aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a decent looking film. Much of the archive footage was filmed on 8mm and 16mm film. The material appears to have been cleaned up but otherwise perfectly represents its age with attendant artefacts.

     The talking heads segments are clear and crisp without defects.

     There are no technical defects with the transfer. The colours are accurate, the flesh tones are also appropriate and there is no evidence of compression defects.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired.

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


     Eames: the Architect and the Painterfeatures a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack running at 448 Kb/s.

     For a film which largely consist of talking heads and old footage this is perhaps an overkill, and there is very little for the surrounds and sub-woofer to do. However, the added bit rate is always welcome.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There are no technical defects with the sound.

     The score for the documentary is by experienced TV composer Michael Bacon who brings the right light and shade and modernism to the score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The DVD contains a few short extras.

Bonus Scenes (12.22)

     There are a few scenes on offer, most notably sizeable extracts from a 1973 documentary on Charles and Ray. Charles gives Los Angeles as a prime example where artistic freedom in city design has led to ugliness and disorder. Ray struggles, revealingly, with a question of what she and Charles do for fun. More work, she suggests, there being not enough hours in the day for all their ideas.

Theatrical Trailer (2.07)

     The trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  The version available in Region 1 and 2 is the same.


    The enduring message from this film is that Charles and Ray Eames were more of an ideas machine than just designers. An interesting insight into the pair.

    The DVD is of perfectly good quality. The extras are brief but worth a watch.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE