That Touch of Mink (1962)

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Released 3-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 94:55
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Delbert Mann
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Cary Grant
Doris Day
Gig Young
Audrey Meadows
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music George Duning


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, although the airline does not exist anymore!
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Philip Shayne (Cary Grant) is obviously one of the extremely wealthy privileged of New York as he gets to be chauffeur-driven to work. Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) is not one of the privileged of New York as she has to get squashed on the subway to get to the unemployment office to collect her dole cheque. The lives of these two people cross paths, almost quite literally, one rainy morning when Philip's car hits a pothole and splashes dirty water all over Cathy. Philip is surprisingly a little upset by this, but despite driving round the block cannot find Cathy to apologise to her. Coincidentally, after collecting her welfare cheque and surviving the lecherous onslaught of Everett Beasley (John Astin), Cathy happens to take lunch at the automated food hall where her roommate Connie Emerson (Audrey Meadows) works. This food hall just so happens to be right outside the office window of Philip, who of course sees her and sends his woefully overpaid, and over-boozed, financial advisor Roger (Gig Young) in hot pursuit with money to compensate the lady for her dirty clothing. Roger thinks he has found the woman who might just restore his faith in the masses as Cathy is not enamoured with the apology he provides and rejects the cash offering. With some potential fireworks that will enlivened Roger's day as well as restoring his faith in himself, he takes Cathy back to Philip's office to allow her to give him a piece of her mind. Of course, once she sees Philip, all thoughts of protest go out the window and the course is set to navigate the rocky voyage of true love. Which is normally fairly easy when the lady is likely to bestowed largesse of significant proportions by a very wealthy man.

    With all the trappings of wealth, the short voyage should be no problem for Philip - but he did not count on exactly what sort of girl Cathy is. And so follows the antics as both sides of the partnership grapple with their feelings and what to do about them.

    Well, that is what I am guessing is supposed to be the point of this rather wandering tale that has both parties lurching all over the place like a couple of drunks with seemingly little obvious connection being made. Not that that seems to stop where this story ends up (rather predictable 1960s stuff in that regard). Most of what ails the film can be laid squarely at a rather odd screenplay that strives to be something that it really is not (it is definitely a bit too pretentious for its own good) and as a result the whole film seems to find itself bogged in the sand spinning its wheels furiously trying to find direction (which I might add you will not find from Delbert Mann). Maybe that could be the result of the time in which it was filmed: were it done today, there would have been none of this wishy-washy, namby-pamby tripping around the fact that all the film wants to do is get Doris Day into bed with Cary Grant. In the 1960s, of course, they could not be direct about such things, so all the innuendo in the world has to be applied and perhaps the writers really got too clever about the whole thing.

    With the screenplay being so weak, it would need plenty of serious commitment from the leads to at least give the film a chance. Unfortunately, what we get here is two stars basically going through the motions with little if anything in the way of chemistry. The whole thing comes off as a piece of toss-away work for the money only.

    On just about every level this is a very disappointing film and when combined with a fairly lacklustre transfer, it is basically a non-starter, even amongst the body of work of the two leads.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in its theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced. Quite what possesses distributors to produce DVDs without the essential of 16x9 enhancement, most especially these really widescreen presentations is quite beyond my comprehension. Frankly, 16x9 enhancement is so essential that the lack of such enhancement should automatically consign any DVD issued without it straight to purgatory.

    The worst thing is that the lack of 16x9 enhancement is the least of the concerns with this release and those other problems well and truly suggest that this release should never leave said purgatory. This is one instance where the source material is clearly not of sufficient enough quality to warrant issue onto DVD. It is also the first instance I have ever seen where an anamorphically-shot film displays anything other that sharpness in the transfer.

    Quite where to start with what ails this transfer is a problem in itself, compounded by trying to rank the problems in some manner to suggest relative importance. The transfer is one of the softest I think I have ever seen on DVD, although remarkably inconsistently so. When the obligatory soft focus appears to "enhance" the image of Doris Day, you would swear that a pall of light smoke had descended to rob whatever precious little definition the film had completely. There are simply no words adequate enough to describe how soft and indistinct this transfer gets at times. This all compounds an at-times quite narrow depth of field used in the film, too. Around the 7:00 mark the transfer really descends into something quite weird looking with everything being very unidimensional as if the compression simply lost track of what was foreground and what was background. At its best, the transfer is barely better than average, and at times there is an impression of motion blur to the image. Thankfully, grain is not too much of a problem but the overall clarity of the film is robbed by the other problems.

    Colours are all over the shop, with a distinctly poorish, flat look at times contrasting quite markedly with some quite vibrant and well saturated colours such as during the modelling of the clothes at Bergdorf Goodmans. Basically the transfer lacks vibrancy and veers a lurching course between near undersaturation and nothing near oversaturation. Just about all colours could have benefited from some serious improvement in the tonal depths.

    The source material is patently of poorish quality and that is where most of the problems lie. There is a constant but not too annoying slight motion blur on anything involving left-right movement. The transfer at times has a hint of macro blocking indicating that the compression was not quite right. There was some evidence of rather crude edge enhancement at 68:10. Whilst the film-to-video artefacting is usually quite minor, there are nonetheless plenty of instances of aliasing and moiré artefacting to be found. The most obvious examples are at 39:29 in the jetway, 40:30 in the seat, and general aliasing and shimmer between 40:46 and 40:58. You are going to be having a hard time to try and ignore some of the film artefacts in this transfer, most notably the whopping great black ink spot-type effort at 7:09. Around the 41:30 mark there is a distinct light white vertical line towards the left of frame that appears for around ten seconds or so. The bulk of the film artefacts are thankfully of the more modest speck variety.

    This is a single layered, single sided DVD so there is no layer change to worry about. I was actually quite staggered by how little data there is on the DVD and cannot help but wonder whether using a bit more space to raise the average data rate might have aided the transfer a bit.

    There are a ton of subtitle options on the DVD. I can only hope that the foreign language efforts are better than the English effort, which simply loses way too much of the dialogue for my liking. At times I would have to guess that the accuracy rate was only 50%.

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

Audio

    There are three soundtracks on the DVD, being Dolby Digital 2.0 efforts in English, French and Italian.

    The dialogue comes up well in the transfer, being generally easy to understand. The audio sync is ever-so-slightly awry at times it seems, although this can possibly be attributed to some slightly poor ADR work. I cannot say that it annoyed me but there were occasions when it was slightly perturbing.

    The original music score comes from George Duning and really unmemorable stuff it is too. At the end of the film there was simply nothing that I could recollect about the music.

    The soundtrack itself is rather an ordinary affair. Sounding distinctly mono at times, it is reasonably free of any blemishes which was a nice change to the video transfer, but that is about all that could be said about it. With nothing in the way of dynamic and plenty of long dialogue, this becomes something of an innocuous drag by the end of the film.

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

Extras

    Another Paramount offering with nothing whatsoever resembling an extra.

Menu

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 release features some biographies and the theatrical trailer. By the sounds of the reviews sighted, the biographies are incomplete and the trailer a visual disaster area so the presence of these extras, though tipping the decision possibly in favour of the Region 1 release, are hardly the stuff essential purchases are made of. Those reviews also have little pleasant to say about the video transfer either. It is probably best to give this release a complete miss until someone decides to do the job properly.

Summary

    With a very pedestrian story and two leads that really seem to be just going through the motions with sod all chemistry between them, That Touch Of Mink really is a film that can easily be ignored. When then adding into the situation a rather pedestrian transfer in just about every way possible, as well as a very impoverished DVD package, the only place that this should reside is in the warehouse. If you have to have a Doris Day film, then pick one of those from the Doris Day Collection - they are much better than this. If you need a Cary Grant film, then pick just about anything else he has done that is available on Region 4 DVD, such as Arsenic And Old Lace, Monkey Business, An Affair To Remember and even Houseboat. This is really for hard core fans only. Very disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
THAT TOUCH OF MINK NOT ANAMORPHIC - GARRY ARMSTRONG