Star 80 (1983)

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Released 14-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 99:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bob Fosse
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Mariel Hemingway
Eric Roberts
Cliff Robertson
Carroll Baker
Roger Rees
David Clennon
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.90 Music Ralph Burns


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (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
English for the Hearing Impaired
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 described, in the closing credits, as a fictionalization (interesting neologism — most people are happy with the word "dramatization") of some events in the lives of the real Dorothy Stratten and Paul Snider. Both these people did exist. Yes, Dorothy Stratten was a Playboy centrefold. Yes, Paul Snider was her manager and later husband. And yes, the ending is substantially true. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that that's about all that's accurate, but that's not too important, because this film is much more a study of a character than it is a straightforward biography.

    I initially found myself interested in this film because it was written and directed by Bob Fosse. I've been interested in Fosse's other movies for some time, but I usually passed over this one (mainly because there's no real dancing in it). Eventually I started to wonder: why would the man who directed Cabaret, All That Jazz, and Sweet Charity want to make a movie about a Playmate? Now I've watched it, and I've discovered that it's not about the Playmate (although it does have a couple of gentle shots at the manufactured celebrity that comes with being a Playmate). It's about the man who, well, you'll see...

    It's easy to dislike, and even hate, the character of Paul Snider as presented in this film. Eric Roberts does an awesome job of portraying him as insecure, self-absorbed, a narcissist, and prone to fits of extreme jealousy. Even though this film is notionally about Dorothy Stratten, and Mariel Hemingway does a very good job showing us the transitions from nervous and naive through to somewhat more confident, the film is dominated by his performance. And it's odd — he's not evil, or malevolent. He's just obsessed, and terrified of returning to the nothing that he had before he met her. At times I almost felt sorry for him, but he's just too hard to like. He's a small man with big aspirations and no talent. And an awful moustache!

    I won't try to pretend that this is a deathless piece of cinema. It isn't. But it's a lot more effective than I expected it to be. I wouldn't recommend it for light-hearted viewing, but if you're in the mood for something darker, and a character you can really dislike, then maybe this will suit you. You will have to put up with many glimpses of Mariel Hemingway's undraped body (she had her breasts enlarged for this role, apparently) — all a necessary part of the whole Playmate motif, of course.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, which is quite close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The image is fairly soft, and looks a little grainy (except for some of the darker shots, which look very grainy). Shadow detail is somewhat limited, with darker areas dropping off into black rather too quickly. There is no low level noise.

    Colour is a little dull, but reasonably well-rendered. There's no risk of over-saturation given the dullness, and no other colour-related artefacts.

    There are lots of tiny film artefacts, specks and flecks mostly, but they are all very small, and not troubling except when they come in swarms, such as around 21:48. There's a noticeable vertical scratch at 17:29, and a blue streak at 17:11.

    There is almost nothing in the way of aliasing or moiré — the softness seems to covers that. There are no MPEG errors, but there is some background shimmer.

    There are subtitles in English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the latter, and they are occasionally abbreviated, but fairly accurate, well-timed, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered, which means there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    We get a single soundtrack, English in Dolby Digital 1.0, meaning that this is an unambiguous mono affair.

    The dialogue is clear and readily understood. There are no obvious audio sync problems.

    The music, credited to Ralph Burns, is fine, but the most recognisable parts are the pieces of contemporary music of the period.

    The mains, surrounds, and subwoofer all get to sleep through this one — only the centre channel gets used.

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

Extras

    There are no extras at all.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent, and offers only scene selection and subtitle selection.

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 version of this was released years back. It has no more extras than this one. It is a pan-and-scan effort, so that makes the decision easy — the Region 4 is the preferable one, because it's close to the original aspect ratio.

Summary

    A well-made character study on a barebones DVD.

    The video quality is not good.

    The audio quality is adequate.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, December 05, 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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R1 vs. R4 -