Daisy Miller (1974)

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Released 3-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Peter Bogdanovich (Director)
Featurette-Daisy Miller - An Introduction By Peter Bogdanovich
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 87:38
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Bogdanovich
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Cybill Shepherd
Barry Brown
Cloris Leachman
Mildred Natwick
Eileen Brennan
Duilio Del Prete
James McMurtry
Nicholas Jones
George Morfogen
Jean-Pascal Bongard
Albert Messmer
Jacques Guhl
Hubert Geoldun
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Slovenian
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Finnish
Dutch
Bulgarian
Icelandic
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Arabic
Turkish
Polish
Italian
Spanish
Romanian
Czech
Hungarian
Serbian
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Perhaps director Peter Bogdanovich was lucky that he made this adaptation of Henry James' novel before the advent of the Merchant Ivory wave of nostalgic films. Had he had to endure comparisons to those productions, he would not have suffered the simple indifference he endured - it could have well been a career breaker. His indulgent love token for Cybil Shepherd is a pretty and witty lemon that has the viewer pulling grimacy faces in the attempt to survive the experience of watching this film.

     This is an abject lesson for film makers. Pretty pictures, witty dialogue and charming settings doth not a picture make. You can see what it's trying to do, but it just doesn't do it.

     La Shepherd plays Daisy Miller, an American confection having her continental experience. She is travelling with her mother (Cloris Leachman, who should have known better) and young brother Randolph, and all of them are fish out of water in the cool, sophisticated environs of European society. Whilst staying in a Swiss hotel, she meets and enchants young Frederick Winterbourne (Barry Brown), a man of high breeding but low character and even lower intelligence. As their paths cross backwards and forwards, he consistently fails to realise that little Miss Daisy has fallen for him, forcing her to attempt to induce his jealousy with other men (as you do.) All of this leads to dire and drastic measures, where Daisy is shunned from society (quelle horreur!) takes up with the wrong men, and suffers the tragic consequences (well, when in Rome.....)

     By today's standards, this film doesn't work. And when looking at its contemporary reviews, apparently it didn't work then either. In the commentary, Bogdanovich defiantly claims it was one of his better films - he's wrong.

     Perhaps the only thing for which we can be grateful is that he originally intended to star in this film as Winterbourne, until Orson Welles dissuaded him - the world is full of small mercies!!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

     The transfer is flat, compressed, soft and dull. The luminance is utterly ordinary and there are parts where the contrast levels leave much to be desired. It all looks rather faded and jaded, with little shadow detail and the murky presence of low level noise.

     The colours were very muted and drab, which made everything look tired and wan. Skin tones were dead and flat and scenes which would normally be resplendent with colour were washed out and ordinary.

     Grain levels were frequently quite high and there were plenty of dust specks throughout the picture. Aliasing appeared and the picture felt almost unstable at times, including a very peculiar jump at 5:03.

     Subtitles were rather abbreviated but acceptable, and reasonably easy to read.

     This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 45:04.

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

Audio

     This is a wretched audio transfer that is almost beyond endurance at times.

    The audio tracks available are English Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0. With the exception of the commentary, all are equally unpleasant.

     The dialogue was submerged behind a wall of distortion, pops and hums that left it barely discernible at times. This was further exacerbated by the annoying shrillness of what dialogue could be heard. Sync was just passable.

     There was barely a real musical score beyond the incidental music available, and what was there was unremarkable.

     There was no surround or subwoofer activity.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu is static and silent.

Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich (Director)

     He looks at the film after 30 years. There are some interesting insights into both the film, his relationship with Cybil Shepherd and his career at the time, but he occasionally becomes a tad defensive about the project. At one point he says he didn't know who his audience was going to be - Ya got that right Pete!

Daisy Miller - An Introduction by Peter Bogdanovich

     More of the same really. 12:41 long and a bit redundant after having listened to the commentary.

R4 vs R1

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

     With the exception of an offering of subtitles as long as your arm, there appears to be little difference between the two versions.

Summary

     Damp, dull and overblown, it is difficult to suppress the desire to just tell Daisy to SHUT UP!!!! While it may earn applause as being an early example of a period film, it was soon to be blown off the screen by far superior examples. The one thing Bogdanovich did right was to leave large chunks of James' dialogue intact, which meant at least there's some interesting and witty ripostes, but the quality of the production and the appalling quality of this transfer conspire to produce an utterly underwhelming viewing experience.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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