Loving You (1957)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1957|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Hal Kanter|
Visual Entertainment Group
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, the band.|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is the sixth Elvis Presley DVD I have reviewed to date, and I must say that it is the best of the films so far. In fact, I had taken a break from the Presley movies of around 6 months as they had become rather repetitive (and the family threatened me with bodily harm if I reviewed another too soon). Even those complaints were stilled after viewing this effort.
Loving You is the second film Elvis made, after the rather more famous Jailhouse Rock (which has been inducted into the Michael D Hall of Shame). If you check out my review of that disc you will find that, apart from the technical issues with the disc, the story and acting also left a lot to be desired. Interestingly, Loving You features a much better performance from Elvis, in fact it is one of the best in his early career, which may in part be due to the fact that the story is apparently semi-autobiographical. In the course of the movie Elvis performs with members of his real-life backing band, so that he is more relaxed and natural looking than in many of his other films.
The plot, while a little melodramatic as it wears on, is also a bit more naturalistic than many Elvis films, which often feature him in exotic locations warbling to spoilt rich girls with nothing much apart from the exotic scenery to differentiate between one film and the next. This time around we are treated to a simple tale of a young country boy plucked from obscurity who works his way from small town concerts to national television, and finds a bit of romance along the way (in the shape of Susan, played a bit too quietly by Dolores Hart). It seems that the star could identify with the plot (hardly surprising) and looks much more comfortable with his role as a result.
While the romantic angle doesn't convince, a subplot involving Lizabeth Scott (as the Public Relations guru Glenda Markle) and Wendell Corey as her ex-husband "Tex" Warner, fits better. Subplots aside, the key to the film lies in the fresh and energetic performances that Elvis gives in one small town after another. He is in full swing here - as one member of the audience states, he seems to have "jumpin' beans in his jeans". By way of contrast with the lazy performance he gives in many of his other films, in this one you can see just what made audiences so excited to see him perform live, and I have given an extra half star to this disc purely on the basis of this great performance, which lifts this film above the Elvis pack for pure energy.
Once again by way of contrast with Jailhouse Rock, Loving You features a nice video transfer, which has apparently undergone some restoration work.
The aspect ratio of the transfer is 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced. It has been rather difficult to determine if this is the correct aspect ratio or not. One source lists the original aspect ratio as 1.85:1, and an alternative DVD version from Region 2 is framed at 1.66:1. The film was originally shot in VistaVision, which is often shot with redundant information at the top and bottom of the frame such that with proper masking the film can be viewed at any ratio between 1.33:1 and 2.0:1. As there does not appear to be any Pan and Scan effect on view here it seems that the 1.33:1 framing is as valid as any of the alternative versions on offer.
Overall transfer sharpness is mixed, a little soft for my taste at times, but clear enough on the whole. There are only a few night scenes where shadow detail is an issue, and it holds up pretty well in the car at night at 68:30, though things are a little on the dark side in the cemetery scene which follows. There is no low level noise.
The colours are generally good, and are the best indication that this print has been restored, as they look a lot brighter and natural than in most of the other Elvis films of this era. There are some nice flesh tones at 96:15, though they can have a little too much blue in them at other times.
There is minimal damage on view here. You will spot some minor aliasing and the occasional negative artefact, but I would be overly critical if I complained about what is generally a pretty good print.
There are no subtitles. Once again I am disappointed at the lack of English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles, which should be on every disc released in this country if appropriate for the content.
There is no layer change.
The audio transfer is adequate, presenting the music well enough, which is essential for this film.
There is only one audio track, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track encoded at a bitrate of 192 Kb/s. The placement of dialogue is a little imprecise unless you switch to ProLogic mode, which sounds much better overall.
The dialogue is clear at all times, with good audio sync, except for some outdoor scenes and occasional moments during songs, when the dubbing appears to be a little bit off.
There is little music in the film, apart from the songs; this is pretty common in Elvis Presley movies. Luckily the soundtrack is pretty good, and while I don't know many of Elvis' early songs, I did recognise Teddy Bear and the title track. The rest of the songs are pretty good too, and they come across fairly well in the audio transfer, with a good presence across the front of the screen.
Apart from the music which makes good use of the stereo sound image, surround presence is fairly limited, and the subwoofer does not get a look in except as bass accompaniment in some songs.
|Surround Channel Use|
While there are some extras (or an extra - do you classify four celebrity interviews as singular or plural?), they are rather strange and seem to have been tacked on as an afterthought, having little to do with the main feature.
The menu is animated and accompanied by an excerpt from the title song. From the menu you can Play the film, go to the Chapters, or to the Extras. There are only 6 chapters to choose from. It's a pity they did not incorporate the optional chapter stops from one of the Region 1 versions of the disc, where you could jump to each of the songs.
This one is an oddity - interviews of varying length with people of varying levels of fame, answering a disjointed bunch of questions about Elvis from an off screen interviewer who is so quiet you can barely hear what the question was, so the answer often makes no sense. The best of these runs 8:48 with a rather bemused Martin Sheen. The rest are a lot shorter, varying between 1:17 and 2:03. I also don't recognize some of the 'celebrities', but they include Carson Daly and Tom Verica.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film is available in a variety of editions in both Region 1 and Region 2. Apart from the different aspect ratio on one of the Region 2 offerings, and the interviews on the Region 4 which are not on some of the Region 1 versions, they all seem pretty much the same. Given the superior PAL picture, the local version is probably your best bet at the moment.
This is a fairly enjoyable Elvis Presley film, certainly better than many of his later movies, where he often seemed quite disinterested in proceedings. In this film he gives a very lively performance and there are some pleasant songs to listen to as well. The video transfer is good, and the audio transfer does the job, though the extras are fairly short and add little to the experience.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|