Fever Pitch (1996)

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Released 11-Feb-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 96:35 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Evans
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Colin Firth
Ruth Gemmell
Luke Aikman
Neil Pearson
Lorraine Ashbourne
Mark Strong
Holly Aird
Ken Scott
Richard Claxton
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Neill MacColl
Boo Hewerdine


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Based on the screenplay (and original book) by Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch is a story dealing with complications and life’s choices.

    Paul (Colin Firth) is a primary school teacher who is more passionate about his local Arsenal Football club than the teaching of his students. He devotes a tremendous amount of time to the school's football team as a coach and passes on his enthusiasm about the sport to students and parents alike.

    Everything in Paul’s life is simple when there is only one thing to focus on. That is, until the new schoolteacher Miss Sarah Hughes (Ruth Gemmell) arrives. The two get off to a rocky start as she is just as devoted about her passion, teaching. There are no points for guessing that these two will either fall in love or lust for each other.

    Now one of them must choose between love or career. Will they both meet in the middle or end up splitting apart? To quote the movie - life’s not that simple when you love 1 woman and worship 11 men.

    There are some funny scenes where Paul is focused so intently on the latest football report over the radio that life around him seems to pause. Colin Firth plays an excellent part as the fanatical football hooligan, which would not have been as easy to portray as one might initially have thought. Neil Pearson is always underrated and he produced another fine performance as Paul's dad during the flashback scenes. These scenes helped to give you an understanding of how entrenched his love for the game was, and what initially started him off on this road to almost destruction.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is rather soft with no specific examples where you will see sharp edges on people or objects. Thankfully, shadow detail is well controlled with deep blacks and a nice level of detail being visible in the darker shots. The majority of this film takes place indoors so this had the potential to destroy shadow detail if it was not handled as carefully as it has been by this transfer. There is some low level noise.

    Colour is not the film's strong point and the softness of the image prevents colours from jumping out with any vibrancy. The Arsenal football colour of red is obviously predominant throughout the feature but it rarely gleams in the same manner as these shirts do when seen with your own eyes. One example of the shirts shot outside is about the best you will get from the transfer - this can be seen at 16:20.

    Other than some very mild posterization, MPEG artefacts are not a big problem with this transfer. Aliasing is essentially contained to John’s house and is subtly visible any time a camera pans past his bookcase. Film artefacts are very common and predominantly white in colour, which gets distracting at times.

    There are no subtitle tracks available on this disc.

    As this is a single sided, single layered disc, there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to the 5.1 track in its entirety and sampled the 2.0 track.

    The dialogue was relatively clear and easy to understand. The dialogue was recorded a little softer than normal, and when combined with a louder music recording does make for a very large dynamic range from the soundtrack.

    Audio sync was only a problem at 72:06 when you hear a football fan say “almost finished” - she obviously uttered a different line during filming. It is quick, so most will probably miss it anyway.

    The music in this film is excellent with a great number of mainstream tunes being played as well as the score. The audio level of the music was rather loud in comparison to the dialogue, so some may prefer to engage their Dynamic Range control to balance the high and low levels for normal listening. The original score is credited to both Neil MacColl and Boo Hewerdine. It was pleasant and suited not only the film but also blended well with the other music titles used throughout the feature.

    The surround channels were very aggressively used for music and the occasional special effect. These effects were predominantly limited to the crowd roars and cheers at the football games, which were perfectly recorded. The well-balanced level between the front and rear soundstages put you right in the thick of the crowd. If you listened carefully enough you could even make out some idle chatter coming from behind to both the left and right.

    The subwoofer was reserved for putting a bottom end onto some of the music sequences. It was not required by the film for any other tasks, nor was its absence missed for the majority of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu design is themed around the movie. It is 16x9 enhanced. The main menu features a brief animated clip from the movie and after playing a brief audio soundbite in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio the menu remains still and silent.

    The extras are limited to a Theatrical Trailer.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15)

    This is of comparable quality to the main feature, albeit presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 disc makes mention of French subtitles but they are not on the Region 1 disc. The subtitles and NTSC / PAL transfer differences are the key factors. The film is the same including the trailer.

Summary

    I found Fever Pitch an interesting movie and something that I would recommend, most likely as a hire title where it can be seen once and returned. Die-hard Arsenal fans may beg to differ because of the strong football slant on the show. It does show some highlights of Arsenal games but don't make that your primary reason for seeing the title.

    The video is soft.

    The music is loud in comparison to the dialogue which may annoy some that want to sit down for a quiet movie.

    There is only one extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Saturday, February 08, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Audiolabs Magnum M30 (Mains); M05 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

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