The Beautician and the Beast (1997)

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Released 8-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Audio Commentary-Fran Drescher (Actor)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 102:44
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ken Kwapis
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Fran Drescher
Timothy Dalton
Lisa Jakub
Ian McNeice
Patrick Malahide
Case DV-4
RPI $24.95 Music Cliff Eidelman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
Italian
Greek
Hebrew
Croatian
Portuguese
Slovenian
Serbian
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is best described as The Sound Of Music (but without the music) meets The King And I meets ... The Nanny. Despite what you might think, references to The Beauty And The Beast are only cursory.

    Joy Miller (Fran Drescher) is a night school beauty school teacher with dreams of being the make-up artist for "celebrities" such as ... the Lotto girl. One day, she manages to save all the animals in the beauty school (please don't ask me what they are doing in the school, I don't want to know) plus all the students during a fire. She is lauded as a hero(ine) in the local newspaper and attracts the attention of Grushinsky (Ian McNeice), who just happens to be working for the President of a little known Eastern European country, Slovetzia.

    As it so happens, the President, Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton), is a widower with a number of lovely children of various ages and therefore is in need of a teacher for his kids. Grushinsky mistakenly believes that Joy is a science teacher and thinks that she would be perfect for the role. It's not until after Joy has accepted the job offer and the pair has landed back at Slovetzia that Grushinsky realises that the only thing she knows how to teach is how to put on make up. However, Joy decides to make the best out of the situation.

    What follows will be very familiar to anyone who has watched either The Sound Of Music or The King And I. Of course, Boris is a hard, cruel workaholic who has no time for his kids. Joy, who has all the time in the world, soon teaches him to chill out and be more of a human being. There is also a sub-plot involving the eldest daughter Katrina (Lisa Jakub) who has fallen in love with a young political agitator who is campaigning against her father and eventually gets arrested and thrown into the dungeon. In the meantime, the Prime Minister (Patrick Malahide) is not very pleased with the new softer, more caring President ...

    The film builds to a climax revolving around a fairy tale dinner for the President's guests from around the world. However, things don't quite go to plan ...

    This is a romantic comedy, so the ending is fairly obvious, but even then the scriptwriter decides to throw in a few twists to prolong the conclusion. I found this watchable, but nothing spectacular.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    We are presented with a widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is close to the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    This is not a bad transfer, with lots of detail, no real sign of compression artefacts, and reasonable colour saturation.

    The colours in the opening animated sequence are bright and vibrant, but the film itself seems to be just a touch dark, with slightly pale colours. Other than that, there were no issues and hardly any film marks.

    There are quite a few subtitle tracks available: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Hebrew, Croatian, Portuguese, Slovenian, Serbian, English Audio Commentary, Spanish Audio Commentary, French Audio Commentary, and Italian Audio Commentary. I turned on the English subtitle track briefly to check that it exists. Dialogue transcription accuracy seemed about average, with some minor dialogue simplifications here and there.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at the end of Chapter 17 at 52:53 . There is a slight pause, but at least the layer change occurs in between scenes.

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

Audio

    There are a few audio tracks present: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is okay, but not exceptional.

    Dialogue is reasonably clear throughout, and there were no issues with audio synchronization.

    The surround channels seem to be reserved for background music ambience, since I did not recall any Foley effects directed towards them. I did notice some instances of panning across the front channels for various sound effects (eg. cars moving).

    Speaking of background music, the original music score is by Cliff Eidelman and is typical romantic comedy fare.

    The subwoofer only seemed to be lightly employed every now and then (eg. during the "underground" night club scene).

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

Extras

    The only extra present is an audio commentary track, which interestingly is subtitled.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced and static, and available in several languages.

Audio Commentary-Fran Drescher (Actor)

    If you can't stand Fran Drescher's voice, then you are not going to like this commentary track! Fortunately, she is not speaking "in character" and it was refreshing to find the real life Fran speaks slower and calmer and enunciates a little bit clearer than her on screen character. She talks a fair bit about shooting in location in Prague and the Czech Republic, as well as the usual comments about casting, production, behind the scenes anecdotes etc. Fran seems to run out of things to say after about thirty minutes, and for the rest of the film there are quite long periods where she doesn't speak, and we get to hear the film soundtrack.

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:

    Both versions appear to be similarly featured, apart from foreign language content.

Summary

    Beautician And The Beast is a ho-hum romantic comedy featuring Fran Drescher.

    The video transfer quality is acceptable.

    The audio transfer quality is acceptable.

    The only extra is an audio commentary track.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Friday, October 24, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB, LiteOn LTD-165S, WinXP, WinDVD5 Platinum), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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