The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)

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Released 23-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-For Pete's Sake; The Way We Were; Sleepless in Seattle
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 92:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Herbert Ross
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Barbra Streisand
George Segal
Robert Klein
Allen Garfield
Roz Kelly
Jacques Sandulescu
Barbara Anson
Case ?
RPI Box Music Richard Halligan


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Hindi
Portuguese
Smoking Yes, tobacco and marijuana
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

George Segal has been in some wonderful romantic comedies. So has Barbra Streisand. I was expecting a romantic comedy starring the two of them to be something special. It isn't.

It doesn't help that it has been messed around with to suit Barbra Streisand's sensibilities (and to get a PG rating instead of an R). The semi-mythical nude footage is unimportant (the film was never released with that footage, after all). But the scene where she is being harassed by the young louts in the car doesn't make sense any more; in the original she told them to f*** off, and they took offence now we are supposed to believe that they take offence because she says "you're invading my privacy"...?! There are reputed to be other cuts, but I can't tell you where they are.

George Segal's character is a wannabe novelist, living in a crumby building run by a autocratic building super. He gets a rejection letter for one of his novels, and is then told that a woman is complaining about the noise of his typewriter. He goes up to his apartment and happens to notice through the window that the woman he suspects of complaining is getting paid, apparently for sex. He rings the building super and dobs her in. Later, she invades his apartment and berates him for getting her thrown out. She makes so much noise that he gets thrown out, too.

He is Felix Sherman. She is Doris (Barbra Streisand). They can't afford a hotel, so they go round to his friend Barney (Robert Klein) to beg a bed for the night. She can't sleep, so she keeps him awake wanting to make conversation...

The attraction between them is supposed to grow, but there's no real sign of it. George Segal spends all his time being frustrated and grumpy, while Barbra Streisand is loud and a touch obnoxious. The idea of love growing between this mismatched pair just doesn't come across. We've seen mismatched pairs work in romantic comedies before Streisand and Ryan O'Neal in What's Up Doc, for example, or Segal and Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class and Lost and Found. Both these actors are capable of lighting up a romantic comedy, we know, so where's the flaw? Perhaps the script? Perhaps the direction? Perhaps both? I don't know. One thing I do know is that I really disliked the scene at the end, at the dog-training part of the park.

If you are especially fond of one of these actors, I suggest looking for another film starring them. This really isn't their best work.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

The original theatrical aspect of this film was 2.35:1. This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. That's a good start.

The image is somewhat variable. Some shots are reasonably sharp, some are fairly soft. I was wondering if they were trying for a soft focus effect on Barbra Streisand, but if they were, they went way too far; have a look at her shots around 73:50 she is quite out of focus. Shadow detail is somewhat limited. Film grain isn't really a problem. Low-level noise is absent.

Colour is quite good, as it needs to be with some of the outfits Doris wears note the knickers she is wearing when she arrives at Felix's apartment. There are no colour-related artefacts, although there is a moment where a pillow verges on blooming in Felix's apartment.

There are some film artefacts, but they are insignificant, especially in a film this old.

There's minor aliasing, and a bit of moire, but both are kept well below troubling levels. There are no MPEG artefacts, but there's the very occasional touch of shimmer.

There are subtitles in eight languages, including English. I watched the English subtitles they are easy to read, and well-timed, and although somewhat abbreviated they do catch Felix's grandiloquent style of speech sufficiently to render Doris' incomprehension credible.

The disc is single sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 46:06 in a momentary black screen in the middle of a scene clever placement that renders it virtually invisible.

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

Audio

The soundtrack is provided in five languages, all in Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded, but I only listened to the English.

The dialogue is surprisingly clear and easy to understand, even when dialogue from two characters overlaps, even when Barbra Streisand gets strident. There are no audio sync problems.

The score, from Richard Halligan, is good at supporting the on-screen action when required, and staying quiet during periods of detailed conversation.

The surrounds and subwoofer are not catered for by this soundtrack.

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

Extras

Menu

The menu is static and silent, but perfectly functional

Filmographies

Three brief (2 pages each) filmographies for:

Trailers

Three longish trailers, on a menu available directly from the main menu, and from the special features menu.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

The Region 1 version of this disc sounds quite similar to this one, judging by what I've been able to discover about it. Looks like another case of it not really mattering which version you get.

Summary

The Owl And The Pussycat is a movie with plenty of unrealised potential, on a rather good DVD.

The video quality is reasonably good.

The audio quality is good.

The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, May 03, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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