Mortal Thoughts (1991)

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Released 11-Jul-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 98:41
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alan Rudolph

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Demi Moore
Glenne Headly
Bruce Willis
Harvey Keitel
John Pankow
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $39.95 Music Mark Isham

Video Audio
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 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, throughout credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Mortal Thoughts opens with some home movie footage, which spans many years. First, we see two toddlers playing together, then we see them as children, and finally as young teenagers, playing on a beach. Presumably, this footage is of Cynthia (Demi Moore) and Joyce (Glenne Headly), which shows us, the audience, that Cynthia and Joyce have grown up together and are best friends.

    Our first shot of Cynthia all grown-up is in semi-slow motion, walking into a police station. She is there to give her account of the events leading up to Joyce's husband's (Bruce Willis') disappearance. The movie is made up of Cynthia's flashbacks as she answers Detective John Woods' (Harvey Keitel's) questions.

    Bruce Willis's performance as Joyce's abusive, violent (and dead) husband is brilliant. Totally unlikeable, but brilliant.

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Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture sharpness and detail is excellent.

    The colour is also excellent. It is well-saturated with natural looking skin tones. Having said that, the interior of the police station is quite drab and muted colour-wise, so it is a while before you get to see any deeply-saturated colours. No low-level noise, edge-enhancement or colour bleeding was seen.

    Shadow detail is… well, it's excellent, too. I'm really starting to get sick of that word, so let me see if I can find something bad to say about this transfer. Hmmm...rummage, rummage...scratch...rummage, rummage, ah ha! Nope that's not it, toss, scratch, scratch...rummage. OK, now I've got it! There are a couple of minor instances of background grain. The most note-worthy of these occur at 62:23 and 76:40.

    Film artefacts are very rare. In fact, I only saw two, one at 3:57 and the other at 80:53. I'm sure there would have to be at least one or two more in there somewhere, but I did not see them.

    Some home movie-like footage is used at the start and the end of this film, which shows Cynthia and Joyce playing together through their childhood years. This is washed-out and flat, with scratches and film artefacts galore, but these are, of course, all deliberate.

    No MPEG artefacts or instances of aliasing were noted. The latter of these two points is impressive, particularly when considering the sharpness and detail of this transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are five audio tracks on this DVD. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. The other soundtracks are; French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, German Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack.

    I comfortably listened to the soundtrack 3db louder than I normally do.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times, and no audio sync problems were noticed.

    Mark Isham's music supports the movie well.

    For almost the entire movie the surround channels are wonderfully filled with music and effects. Unfortunately, for an equally large portion of the movie the front soundstage is heavily centred, which makes it sound narrow and quasi-mono. If it wasn't for this narrow front soundstage, this would have been one of the best, if not the best, Dolby Stereo SR (Dolby Surround) soundtracks that I have ever heard. Some of the more expansive and enveloping audio sequences can be found at 30:30, 33:30, 44:20 and 79:04. Because this is largely a dialogue-driven movie, I believe that the audio transfer is accurate to the original sound mix and the aforementioned limitation can be attributed to the original sound mix itself rather than to a poor audio transfer.

    The subwoofer gets used frequently to add a little extra punch to the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are limited to two Trailers and Cast & Crew filmographies/biographies.


    The Menu is not 16x9 enhanced, however, I personally found the main menu to be rather visually striking. There are different pictures for each menu. The Main Menu selections are; Languages/Audio Setup, Subtitles, Scene Selections (28), Extra Features and Play Movie. I only have one small criticism of the menu system, which has to do with the Scene Selection menu. This does not have an index, so if you want to jump to, for instance, chapter 21 you have to go through five screens before you can select it.

Theatrical Trailer – Mortal Thoughts (1:50 minutes)

    This trailer is of very good quality and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer – About Last Night (1:56 minutes)

    This is of good quality and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Talent Profiles

    This section contains selective filmographies and brief biographies for Alan Rudolph (Director), Demi Moore, and Bruce Willis.

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;     Both versions appear to be equal in quality and extras. So, if you want the additional Pan & Scan version then the R1 disc is the version to go for, otherwise I would suggest the R4 version, because of PAL's superior picture resolution over NTSC.


    The picture quality is excellent for almost the entire movie, but there are a couple of scenes that suffer from some minor background grain.

    The sound is clear and clean, with excellent surround channel use, but it is let down by a mono-sounding front soundstage.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Wednesday, June 28, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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