Send Me No Flowers (1964)
|Category||Comedy||Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:00)|
|Year Of Production||1964|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Norman Jewison|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|RPI||Box||Music||Frank De Vol|
|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||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The last of the three films, in chronological order, from the Doris Day Collection is the most atypical film of the three. Send Me No Flowers is possibly the film that I have seen the most often of the three making up the collection, and to me is the strongest of the three films - notwithstanding the fact that Pillow Talk garnered the more awards. The reason that the film is noteworthy enough to be the strongest is simple - it is the one where we don't have to endure the blatantly obvious girl hates boy, boy meets girl, boy gets girl routine. It is also the one film of the three where Doris Day, and her trademark sweetness, is not the whole focal point of the film.
George Kimball (Rock Hudson) works for an electrical engineering firm, but that is completely irrelevant to the film. What is relevant is that he is a chronic hypochondriac. So when his latest ailment results in a pain in the chest, the sympathy he gets from his wife Judy Kimball (Doris Day) is not exactly high. Despite having had a previous full medical examination a couple of weeks ago, George heads off to his doctor for another. Of course, his poor suffering doctor knows darn well there is nothing wrong with George but a spot of indigestion and so gives him the usual placebo to shut him up. However, George manages to overhear a conversation between his doctor and a leading cardiologist regarding another patient and thinks that they are talking about him. Of course, the news is not great and George thinks he is doomed with only weeks to live. On the train home that evening he confesses to his best friend, and next door neighbour, Arnold Nash (Tony Randall) about his impending doom, which completely devastates Arnie. Aside from getting rotten drunk on the train - an American institution that probably has long since died - Arnie's contribution to the impending event provides the comic relief for the story. George, however, is a more practical man and starts contemplating suitable bachelors to whom Judy can be married after his death, and after the time deemed suitable by her bridge club! His worries in that regard may all be resolved by the return of an old college sweetheart of Judy, Bert Power (Clint Walker), who has it all - looks, money, err... Anyway, George starts forcing Judy and Bert together, which might not be the wisest thing under the sun, especially when he is caught in a compromised situation with another not-so-near neighbour.
When you see who wrote the screenplay, you can guess that it will be a good one - Julius J. Epstein. That is exactly what we get and whilst not quite as tight as the story afforded Pillow Talk, it certainly is much tighter than that for Lover Come Back. Whilst the dialogue is not always so snappy, the pacing of the story is almost spot on, and with what now seems to be some rather sly digs at American society of the period, the result is a rather enjoyable romp. With the focus more on Rock Hudson, the sweetness factor is down and as a result Doris Day is also a bit more bearable than usual. Whilst Rock Hudson still has a tendency to hammy performance rather than actual acting, his limitations this time suit the role very well indeed. However, Tony Randall carries this one off with aplomb and is the arguable highlight of the film. With the assured direction of Norman Jewison pulling the strings, the whole film holds up much better than say Lover Come Back over the course of the past forty years.
Of the three films making up the Doris Day Collection, this is by far and away the one I enjoy the most. Simple, good screenplay, minimal doses of Doris Day sweetness and decent performances across the board are all ingredients that go into making this an enjoyable film. It has aged a little nowadays but it still ranks amongst the best stuff that Doris Day ever did. People who have done the back lot visit at Universal Studios in Hollywood might well recognise some of the settings used in the film.
Whilst this is again an unrestored transfer, the quality improvement seen in Lover Come Back continues - although this is hardly surprising as it is three years younger than that film.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The one immediately noticeable aspect of this transfer is that the soft gauze filter has finally been thrown out! As a result the transfer is much more consistent, with very decent sharpness and detail throughout. This is readily apparent when you freeze frame the film during playback - everything is much sharper than in the previous two films. There still remains a consistent light grain throughout the transfer but aside from early on in the film where it is quite noticeable against the light, pastel coloured walls it really is not that noticeable. The transfer is slightly clearer than the previous film and this certainly is the best looking of the three films making up the Doris Day Collection.
The colours here really are very nicely handled, with a degree of vibrancy to them that has been absent in the earlier two films. Whilst there are less flashy colours here, the palette has a much stronger degree of saturation and tone, with the result that this is a really natural looking transfer in all respects. The only possible issue I could come up with is the fact that colours of the interior shots are just noticeably less glossy than the exterior shots. There is no indication of over saturation or colour bleed in the transfer. Just on the odd occasion, I did wish for a bit more oomph to the blacks, but otherwise there are no real complaints here. It should be noted that for about six minutes around the 50:00 minute mark onwards, there is a whitish tinge to the colours which may be the result of some lighting flare.
There are no obvious MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are restricted to some minor aliasing (most noticeably in the pathway at 40:13) and shimmer. There is some minor posterisation in Rock Hudson's face around 2:49 but this is not that big a deal. The biggest problem with film artefacts in the transfer is the rather obvious reel change markings in the top right corner of the frame at 19:08, 37:30, 57:31 and 76:26. It is a pity that a slightly more original source could not have been used for the mastering, for otherwise the transfer is blessed with only minor specks.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD, but once again (and despite an eagle eye) I cannot detect where the layer change is located.
The same subtitle options are available on this DVD as for the previous two films from the collection. Of course I failed to vary the ones I checked out and pretty much in all respects they are the same as those on the earlier two DVDs. The only comments to add are that there is the odd spelling error (63:00: "You've kidding" instead of "You're kidding") and the dialogue deletion here is a bit more obvious and extensive at times.
The missing Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack from Lover Come Back makes a reappearance here, bringing the total number of soundtracks on this DVD back to five: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and the Spanish effort. Not that it makes the slightest bit of difference to the soundtrack that I checked out of course - the English one.
This is another decent soundtrack in most respects, and you will have no problems hearing and understanding everything here. There are no indications of any audio sync issues with the transfer.
The original music score again comes from Frank de Vol, although this time he is credited simply as de Vol. Must be delusions of grandeur or something. Aside from the title song sung by Doris Day, which frankly is garbage notwithstanding the source of the song, this is another uninspiring effort overall, with little to pass comment upon. Which of course means that it must be doing its job fairly well!
This is a surprisingly much improved sounding effort, and there is actually some presence to the soundtrack that has been absent from the earlier two films. Indeed, there was almost some indication of bass in the sound, even though it remains strictly 2.0 stereo. This is a much smoother sounding effort, with less straight centre channel bias than previously. Clean and clear, definition is quite good and there is little evidence at all of any background blemishes.
|Surround Channel Use|
Don't get me started on another completely underwhelming misuse of the DVD format...
The same presentation as the other two films in the collection.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Aside from a slightly hissy sound, and a few film artefacts floating around, this is actually pretty good quality throughout. Definition is good, contrast generally good and colour good too.
Whilst there are no definitive reviews of the Region 1 release that I would like to rely on, all the information I could find points to a similar content for the Region 1 release barring soundtrack and subtitle options. I would presume the Region 2 release is the same as the Region 4.
Send Me No Flowers is the strongest contribution to the Doris Day Collection in my view, with a good film given a good transfer. Just don't bother about the extras package, which represents another sad black mark against Universal in this regard. I remember the days when Universal DVDs were something to look forward to, with a decent bunch of production notes and bios as a minimum. Pity that we cannot get anything for this collection barring the trailers - which really are almost a defacto standard nowadays as opposed to being a real extra.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1600, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Aconda 9381ZW. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|