Sleeper (1973)

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Released 10-May-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 83:31 (Case: 88)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Woody Allen
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Woody Allen
Diane Keaton
John Beck
Mary Gregory
Don Keefer
John McLiam
Bartlett Robinson
Chris Forbes
Mews Small
Peter Hobbs
Susan Miller
Lou Picetti
Jessica Rains
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Woody Allen


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
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
French Titling
German Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, but its probably a joke!
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I should preface this review by pointing out that, unlike other reviewers here at Michael D's, I am a fan of Woody Allen and enjoy most of his films (although I will admit that Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex is pretty ordinary). I should also reveal that when I first saw this film on television many years ago I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I have not seen it since, more due to the lack of opportunity than anything else. I was very keen to review this DVD and I have not been disappointed. This DVD is one of seven contained in The Woody Allen Collection box set which includes all of Woody's feature films from the 1970s.

    Sleeper is a very funny and quite silly film. Unlike most other Woody Allen films, the focus is on physical comedy rather than acerbic wit. In some scenes it seems more like a silent comedy than a movie from the 1970s. This is due to many of the comedic chases and other scenes being set to a jazz soundtrack with no other sounds. There is also some political satire and great one liners, including one of my favourites from the film:

"My Brain? It's my second favourite organ!"

    The plot that holds the silliness together is that Miles Monroe (Woody Allen), a clarinet player and health food restaurateur from 1973 is frozen after mistakes are made treating him in a hospital. He is thawed 200 years later in 2173 by some rebellious scientists who want him to help them in their struggle against 'Our Leader', a totalitarian ruler. The scientists are breaking the law by unfreezing him and are soon captured by the police. In order to escape, he hides by impersonating a domestic robot servant and hiding in the robot delivery truck. The delivery driver leaves him at the house of Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton), a bad poet but good citizen who believes that 'Our Leader' provides her with everything she needs, including sex toys like The Orb and the Orgasmatron. Shortly thereafter, Miles & Luna are on the run together trying to get to the Western District to uncover the highly secretive Aries Project. What follows are some truly hilarious comedy set pieces featuring oversized fruit, a hydrovac suit, Jewish tailor robots, A Streetcar Named Desire, and a disembodied nose.

    This is the first feature film of many in which Diane Keaton starred and Woody Allen directed, starred and wrote the screenplay (although in this case, he co-wrote it with Marshall Brickman). They had appeared together before in Play it Again, Sam which Woody wrote but did not direct. Both Woody and Diane play their parts well in this film and show great comedic timing.

    Overall, if you are a fan of Woody Allen, this is one of his greatest films and if you are not, this is the one which may make you think twice.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.The film is encoded at a very high bit rate (nearly 10 Mbps) and is thus spread across two layers despite only being an 83 minute film.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout although one scene seemed unfocussed and the picture generally did not have the sharpness of a more modern film. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was reasonable with night scenes showing some details.

    The colour was good throughout with all colours being well saturated and free from colour bleeding. The skin colouring was natural. The colours were not as vibrant as more modern films but considering the age of the source material, they come up very well in this transfer.

    There were quite a few white specks on and off throughout the film - noticeable when you are looking for them but not too bad. They were more noticeable during the few dark scenes. One scene which lasted a few seconds at 16:54 jumps quite badly. There was some minor edge enhancement and one spot of minor aliasing on an escalator at 70:43.

    There are subtitles in ten European languages including English and two sets for the Hearing Impaired (English & German). The English subtitles were clear and easy to read, but were slightly different to the spoken word.

    This is a dual layered disc and the layer change is well placed at 48:22, although there is a reasonably long pause.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good, but mono.

    This DVD contains five audio options all in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono encoded at 448 Kb/s. The options are English, German, French, Italian & Spanish.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand. There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film played by Woody Allen and his jazz band is very good traditional jazz and is well suited to the film.

    The surround speakers & subwoofer were not used at all.

    

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu included a scene selection function and had no motion or music.

Theatrical Trailer (2:16)

    This trailer is presented at 1.33:1 and is pretty good. It includes Woody Allen being interviewed and scenes from the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is available on a very similar disc in Region 1 with the exception of  the Region 1 disc having a full screen open matte transfer in addition to the widescreen one. Unless you desperately want a full screen transfer, I would go for the Region 4 disc due to the standard PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    This disc contains a classic comedy from Woody Allen.

    The video quality is very good considering the age of the film.

    The audio quality is good, but mono.

    The disc has the theatrical trailer as its only extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, July 02, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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