Bananas (1971)

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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 1971
Running Time 78:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Woody Allen
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Woody Allen
Louise Lasser
Carlos Montalbán
Natividad Abascal
Jacobo Morales
Miguel Ángel Suárez
David Ortiz
René Enríquez
Jack Axelrod
Howard Cosell
Roger Grimsby
Don Dunphy
Charlotte Rae
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Marvin Hamlisch


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 1.85:1
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 No
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 Region 4 DVD Info Page, 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 was very keen to review this DVD and I have not been disappointed. This DVD is one of seven contained in the box set The Woody Allen Collection which includes all of Woody's feature films from the 1970s. This is the earliest film in the box set.

    Bananas was Woody Allen's third feature film as a director after the revoiced Japanese Film, What's Up Tiger Lily and Take The Money And Run. It was released in 1971. The film is very funny and features comedy of many styles including political & social satire, sight gags, slapstick and some absurdist touches. Woody is very funny as Fielding Mellish, a product tester for a major corporation.

    The story follows Fielding as he meets a girl, Nancy (Louise Lasser), who is a political activist, goes out with her for a while, get dumped because 'something is missing' and then decides to take a holiday. He decides to travel to San Marcos, a small South American country because of Nancy's opposition to the dictatorship in power there. Through a bizarre and funny series of events he ends up becoming a rebel fighter against the government and eventually their leader. Eventually, he is charged with treason in the United States which results in a very funny courtroom scene. The film is bookended by a couple of great sequences where both an assassination and sex are covered as if they are sports events including Howard Cosell, the famous American sportcaster appearing as himself.

    Overall, this is a light and very funny film that pokes fun at everything from sports, American foreign policy, relationships, society and the media. Most of the jokes work and even though I had seen the film before, I found myself laughing quite a bit.

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Transfer Quality

Video

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

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the correct aspect ratio. The film is encoded at a very high bitrate and is thus spread across two layers despite only being a 78 minute film.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout although some scenes were a little soft 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. There was also some occasional grain.

    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 they come up very well in this transfer. I did notice some minor chroma noise in a wall at 22:20.

    There were quite a few white specks and lines on and off throughout the film, noticeable when you are looking for them but not too bad. Some scenes were worse than others. During the credits I noticed that one the left hand side of the screen small patches of light were visible, I would guess from the sprocket holes in the side of the film source. There were also a couple of instances of minor aliasing at 8:30 on a shirt and at 12:33 on a car grille. There was also a visible curled hair at 6:58.

    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 57:42.
    

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, although I did use the subtitles to check one word. There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film written by Marvin Hamlisch is very suited to the film but fairly dated.

    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 (3:13)

    This trailer is presented in 1.33:1 and is pretty funny. 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 due to standard PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    This disc contains a very funny early comedy from Woody Allen about a product tester who becomes a terrorist.

    The video quality is quite 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?)
Wednesday, July 14, 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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