Horse Feathers (1932)
|Year Of Production||1932|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Norman Z. McLeod|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
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||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Horse Feathers was the fourth film released that starred the Marx Brothers. This time the theme is the American college system and in particular the high jinx surrounding college football.
Groucho plays Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff, who has been appointed president of Huxley College and knows exactly what makes a college successful. It is not the academic record that counts but their performance on the football field. Harpo plays Pinky, an employee of the local speakeasy. Chicko is Baravelli, a dog catcher who seems to sideline as Pinky's assistant. Zeppo is Frank Wagstaff, Prof. Wagstaff's son who appears to be making a career out of staying in college. The reason he appears to be failing all his exams is that he is involved with the College Widow. This is played in the film as someone who is present at every college.
The college with which they are due to play the next big game has brought in a couple of ringers. Prof. Wagstaff heads to the local speakeasy to hire a couple of ringers for his college. He ends up hiring Pinky and Baravelli not only to play football but also to try and kidnap the ringers for the competing college and thus knobble them out of the game. It is a shame that neither knows how to play football nor how to kidnap two burley football players.
Mixed in with this is the Prof's efforts to get his son to stop seeing the College Widow and pay attention to his studies. He also ends up involved with her as she tries to get hold of the secret calls used by the Wagstaff team. From my limited knowledge of American football, this list is the sequence of numbers that the guy calls out just before the other guy throws the ball back. It tells the team what 'play' they are making. Knowledge of this would give the opposing team a real advantage.
The final section of the film is a whole series of jokes based on the game of football. This is probably funnier for those that know the game as opposed to the rest of the world. Having said that, there is still some very funny material in here, in particular the chariot ride.
Key moments in this film include: The Song 'I am against it', The password for the speak-easy, The bottomless cup, The parking ticket, Prof. Wagstaff taking a class, The whole kidnap sequence, and of course the chariot scene.
As with the other films, the aspect ratio of this transfer is 1.33:1.
Sharpness is bad and made worse by the amount of grain and other film artefacts. Shadow detail is poor but there is no low level noise. Contrast is very low adding to the many problems. There is also some ringing of the whites that leaves a halo around some objects.
Thankfully, colour does not come into the equation other than to say that there is no false colouration present.
There are no MPEG artefacts. I can't tell if the judder that is present is source related or not but it is a real problem. Film artefacts are probably the worst of the three films with some very bad scratching, marks, dirt, grain and what appears to be a manually scratched-in reel change mark (32:29)!
The subtitles are easy to read but could not be expected to keep up with some of the faster delivery of dialogue.
This is a single layered disc.
There are five Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks on this disc with English, French, German, Italian and Spanish being represented.
Even with the distortion present, the dialogue is pretty clear and easy to understand.
There are no transfer related problems with the audio sync.
The music is in the same vein as the other Marx Brothers films; a combination of orchestral and musical pieces. The music suffers from the distortion more than the dialogue does.
The mono soundtrack does not make use of the surrounds or the subwoofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Yet again it would appear that the R1 version of this disc is out of print. The equivalent box set is also out of print and appears to be selling for ridiculous amounts of money in America. This leaves us with an R4 winner by default.
Not the strongest of their films in my opinion but that is in comparison with some of the best comedy material ever placed on celluloid. The chariot scene has already been mentioned as a highlight and there are many more laughs. Another quick but great laugh is where they fill the different types of drink bottles from the same hooch source.
The video is disappointing.
The audio is also a bit of a problem.
The trailer makes up the extent of the extras.
|DVD||Skyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||B&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)|