The Turning (1992)

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Released 15-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 87:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By L.A. Puopolo
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Karen Allen
Raymond J. Barry
Michael Dolan
Tess Harper
Gillian Anderson
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Herb Pilhofer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, returns to start of film

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

Plot Synopsis

    All the promotional artwork I have seen for this film features Gillian Anderson, and generally it shows her unbuttoning the top of her dress. Some of it even mentions The X-Files. I haven't seen the R4 slick (I received an early disc without artwork), so I can't say if the R4 cover will be the same, but I rather suspect that it might. Why do I point this out? Mainly because Gillian Anderson plays a minor character in this film — I think she only appears twice (three times if you count her looking across a street at some of the other characters). It's not exactly false advertising to feature her prominently, but it does create a false impression.

    It is interesting to notice that the copyright date on this film is 1992, making this the first feature film Gillian Anderson appeared in, and hence her credit as "introducing Gillian Anderson". The X-Files didn't start until 1993, so this was before that, too. However, this film didn't get released until 1997 (which is why IMDb shows that date), by which time she was quite well-known. I guess that explains the artwork, and the fact that hers is not an especially accomplished performance. If your main interest in this film is Gillian Anderson, then you're wasting your time with this film. Oh, and yes, there is a fraction of a second when she is topless, but I can't imagine you'd want to buy this film because of that.

    This film is really centred on a young man called Clifford Harnish (Michael Dolan). Clifford has just come home to Pocahontas, a very small town in Virginia, after being away for years. He has come home because he got a letter from his mother, Martha (Tess Harper), telling him that she is getting divorced from his father, Mark (Raymond J Barry). Clifford doesn't want them to get divorced. He wants them back together, even though his father is living with another woman, Gloria Lawson (Karen Allen, in a rather good performance), and his mother is alcoholic.

    Clifford comes across as not very bright, but he is very determined that his parents should get back together. That could be a simple thing, except that Clifford's time away from home was spent with a number of radical groups (including the Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Nazis), and he has little respect for the law. Once he sees that he can't simply talk his parents back together, he takes other steps...

    This feels like a bit less than an hour's worth of story stretched into a (short) feature-length film. It's not a particularly pleasant story, and it's not too well written, either. I really can't recommend it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. I cannot find out what the intended aspect ratio was, but every version I can find listings for is in the same aspect ratio, so there's nothing better than this.

    The image is fairly sharp in close-ups, but not so good in medium range, and rather less good in long shot — there's some ugly haloing on the long shots. Shadow detail isn't very good. There's what looks like more than a little film grain, but it's confined to backgrounds, which makes it seem likely that it's really over-compression of the background. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is not consistently rendered. Indoor scenes look fairly reasonable, but outdoor scenes show a variety of lighting, and skin tones range from somewhat washed out through to orangey-red. Even so, colour is not a big problem.

    There are lots of small film artefacts, mostly white specks and flecks, although there's a long fine scratch at 34:21.

    There's a fair bit of aliasing (like on the Venetian blinds at 23:35, and van grille at 29:43), but I didn't find it disturbing. There's moiré on some of the clothing. As I mentioned above, I think the background has been over-compressed, resulting in MPEG shimmer and compression artefacts.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is only provided in English. It is Dolby Digital 2.0, but it sounds mono.

    The dialogue is generally comprehensible, but a few words get mangled by the accents and shouting. Audio sync is usually fine, but there are a couple of moments, a couple of words, that look wrong.

    The score, from Herb Pilhofer, is a bit over-dramatic in places, and more than a little repetitious.

    Those surrounds and subwoofer you spent a heap of money on? They aren't called upon by this soundtrack.

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

Extras

    There are absolutely no extras on this disc. Heck, you know those things that they sometimes list as extras, like a menu, and scene selection? This disc doesn't even have those!

Menu

    This DVD is the only one I have ever seen without a menu. When you put the disc in it plays the Universal logo, a few warning pages, and then the film starts. At the end it goes back to the beginning and starts playing the film again. If you press the Menu button, nothing happens. If you press the Top Menu button, it returns to the opening sequence.

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 disc was released by an independent company called Leo Films. It seems to have been their first DVD release, and it's a bit rough around the edges, with menus that are a bit painful to navigate, but it's not too bad (at least it has a menu!).

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    The Region 4 DVD is clearly inferior in terms of features, but the transfers are pretty comparable. If you really want to buy this film, the Region 1 disc is the better one.

Summary

    A film that I can't recommend, on the only DVD I've ever seen without a menu.

    The video quality is not good.

    The audio quality is adequate.

    There are no extras at all.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, August 21, 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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