Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)

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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 1998
Running Time 111:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gregory Nava
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Halle Berry
Vivica A. Fox
Lela Rochon
Larenz Tate
Little Richard
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.90 Music Stephen James Taylor


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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 Yes, The real Frankie Lymon under the closing credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is a dramatised re-telling of something that really happened. I don't know how much of it is true, and how much is dramatic licence. It doesn't really matter, I guess, as long as we treat this as drama, and not history. The story I'll outline is the story told on this disc.

    In 1955, a young man called Frankie Lymon (and some of his friends) had a monster hit with a single called Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Thirty years later, Diana Ross recorded the song, and so there were some royalties coming for Frankie's widow. The man with the money (record producer Morris Levy, played by Paul Mazursky) is somewhat taken aback to be confronted by not one widow, but three. This being the USA, there was only one place this would get sorted out, so the next thing you know we're in a courtroom with the three putative widows. We get to hear each one's story in flashback in the court.

    The first, Elizabeth (Vivica Fox) married him first. She met him after his career started to slide, and stuck with him even as he became a junkie and a has-been. She finally threw him out when he went too far.

    The second, Zola (Halle Berry) met him at the start of his career (she was already a hit, singing with the Platters) — they became an item, but they didn't marry. Years later, he asked for her help to get some gigs — they ended up getting married.

    The third, Emira (Lela Rochon) met him later again, after he was drafted into the army. After a somewhat inauspicious start, they got close, and ended up getting married.

    The stories are interesting, and the women are surprised to hear how each of them got along with Frankie (played well by Larenz Tate — he's quite good at lip-syncing), fell in love with him, and supported him. They start to develop an appreciation of each other's position.

    This is an entertaining story, with some comedy, some drama, and some real pathos. They've done a really good job of showing the segregation of black and white in the 1950s and 60s, and the changing attitudes.

    This is a surprisingly good film — quite a bit better than I expected it to be. And the ending is interesting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so this is quite close.

    The image is beautifully sharp and clear in the first-person footage. The footage that emulates 1950s TV is quite low resolution, and the footage that's simulating the effects of drugs looks like grain gone insane, but all that is deliberate. Shadow detail is very good. There's no noticeable film grain in the normal scenes. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is very well-rendered, and does an excellent job of showing the bright and brash colours of the early 1960s. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no significant film artefacts — most look like they are deliberate, although there are one or two that are probably genuine artefacts.

    There is some aliasing, but it is very well controlled. There is no moiré and no MPEG artefacts.

    The only subtitles are English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the English for the Hearing Impaired: they are easy to read, mostly well-timed to the dialogue (occasionally they run fractionally behind), and close to word-for-word, including even the lyrics to the many songs in the soundtrack. The only difference between the two is the occasional sound cue on the Hearing Impaired subtitle track.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered, so there is no layer change. Given that this disc holds just the movie, and absolutely no extras, the single layer seems to be sufficient — the movie does not look over-compressed.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is only provided in English. It's a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (384kbps).

    The dialogue is easy to make out. The audio sync on the dialogue is perfect. The lip-sync on the songs is very good, although there are one or two slips.

    The music is credited to Stephen James Taylor, but all the important music is songs from the 1950s and 60s — lots of songs.

    The surrounds are used nicely for the occasional directional sound effect, and a bit of music, plus they get some nice ambience during the performance scenes. The subwoofer gets nothing of any significance, but it's not missed.

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. It's simple to use.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film was released on DVD in Region 1 a few years ago, on one of those double-sided discs with widescreen one side and fullscreen on the other. Reports are that the transfer is very good. What we have in the Region 4 is effectively the widescreen side of that disc, except that the R1 has extras. It includes some notes, and even a commentary from the director, writer, and producer.

    Even though I dislike double-sided discs, I have to admit that the R1 takes the award this time.

Summary

    An entertaining, but sometimes bittersweet film, presented nicely on a bare-bones DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    There are no extras — it's a shame we don't get the commentary that's on the R1 disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, December 16, 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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Comments (Add)
R1 is good - but. - Anonymous