Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War (2000)

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Released 4-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 106:04
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ian Sharp
Studio
Distributor
Evolution Films
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Pauline Collins
Peter Capaldi
Anna Wilson-Jones
John Alderton
Isla Blair
Terence Rigby
Alice Bruce
Gwenllian Davies
Sheila Reid
Frank Middlemass
Frank Mills
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Alan Lisk


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     I have to admit that the main reason I volunteered to review this disc was the interesting title. What the hell is a cabbage war? Perhaps the protagonists in this war threw cabbages at one another? Maybe cabbages are the latest thing in weapons of mass destruction? I just had to know.

    The plot is fundamentally pretty simple and a touch predictable at that. Thelma Caldicot (Pauline Collins) is the wife of Henry (Terence Rigby). Henry is a bully who treats his wife as a slave and clearly cares much more for his golf clubs and chrysanthemums than he does for poor Thelma. One day while watching a cricket match, and paying much more attention to Victoria Reynolds (Wanda Ventham), the president of the Chrysanthemum Society than he ever did to his wife, he is killed when he is struck in the head by an errant cricket ball. Henry has left the house he shared with his wife to their son Derek (Peter Capaldi)  with the proviso that Thelma is allowed to live in it until she dies. Derek has a few financial problems and when Thelma kills the chrysanthemums and takes a hacksaw to the golf clubs, Derek uses these actions as an excuse to ship her off to a rest home. Once in the rest home, Derek persuades Thelma, who is heavily sedated, to sign away her right to live in the house and then proceeds to sell the house, for a tidy sum, to the property company that he works for who need it as part of a large redevelopment project. Once Thelma is free of the sedatives and comes to know the other residents of the rest home, it doesn't take long before she becomes disgusted by the way they are treated. She vows that she will never again allow herself to be stood over and bullied as she did in the case of her late husband and so she begins a revolt in the rest home aimed at getting improved treatment for the residents. This causes no end of headaches for her son Derek, the manager of the rest home, Henry Hawksmoor (John Alderton) and the matron (Isla Blair).

    Mrs. Caldicot's Cabbage War is an amusing film. As a comedy, it's not going to have you rolling around on the floor laughing, but it will bring a smile to your face on more than one occasion and as such is successful in providing an entertaining diversion. As a tale of the put-upon little people fighting a war against injustice and big business, it's always nice to see the little people win and I don't think I'm giving too much away by saying that there's a happy ending in store for our rest home residents.

    What was the reference to cabbages in the title? Well, cabbages come up a few times in the story, firstly as a frequent part of the menu at the rest home, and secondly as the rather unique bowling balls used in a rather unusual game of lawn bowls that some of the residents play when they escape from the rest home for the day.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. I couldn't verify the original aspect ratio but my guess would be that it was 1.85:1.

    There was some variability in the sharpness of the image with the picture sometimes being very sharp and very detailed and at other times very slightly soft. For some reason it was the close shots that were typically the most detailed while the wider shots were more likely to exhibit some softness. Minor edge enhancement is noticeable if you look closely.

    The colour was accurately rendered and the picture was free from any bleeding. A full palette is used.

    Unfortunately, the transfer suffers from all manner of compression artefacts including macro blocking (for example at 38:48) and pixelization (for example at 34:11). These are visible quite frequently in the background of the picture. Film artefacts were limited to only the occasional small mark. Film to video artefacts were limited to some very minor aliasing that will most likely be overlooked.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles included on this rental disc.

    This is a single layered disc so there's no layer change to disturb the flow of the movie.

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

Audio

    Two audio tracks are provided. The default audio, which is the audio I listened to, is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. An English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio track is also provided.

    The dialogue was always perfectly clear and very easy to understand. I wasn't aware of any problems in the audio sync department.

    The music, composed by Alan Lisk, ranges from sedate to cheerful and is eminently suited to the story.

    The surround channels weren't called upon to play much of a part in this movie, mostly providing support for the musical score and providing some ambience from time to time. There was only one occasion in which they really came to life - to support some gunshots at 2:56. This is not really a big disadvantage as this is a dialogue-driven story.

    Similarly, the subwoofer also didn't play much part with it only making its presence felt on one occasion at 13:38.

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

Extras

    The extras (well, really, that should be extra) on this rental disc consist of a trailer. That's it, there is nothing else.

Menu

    The 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced menu features animation and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio.

Theatrical Trailer (2:27)

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can determine this title is not yet available in Region 1. It is, however, available in Region 2 and the UK version is identical to our Region 4 disc except that our disc also has Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. On this basis, I would take our local disc as the version of choice, although given the nature of the story, 5.1 audio is not really that big an advantage.

Summary

    Mrs. Caldicot's Cabbage War is a nice little film about a British lady who takes on big business and fights for the rights of the elderly in a rest home. While this is not exactly a unique story, it certainly turned out to be reasonably amusing and certainly more entertaining than I had expected.

    The video quality is not the best with the picture exhibiting various compression artefacts and variable sharpness.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The only extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-655A [SACD & DVD-A], using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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Comments (Add)
In reference to Peter's comments on the Plot! - The Ladyau