Love and Death (1975)

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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 1975
Running Time 81:22 (Case: 77)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Woody Allen
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Woody Allen
Diane Keaton
Georges Adet
Frank Adu
Edmond Ardisson
Féodor Atkine
Albert Augier
Yves Barsacq
Lloyd Battista
Jack Berard
Eva Betrand
George Birt
Yves Brainville
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Sergei Prokofiev


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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    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 from 1975 and is one of the lesser known films in this collection. Once again he wrote, directed and starred in this film.

    Love & Death is a fairly broad comedy, however it is more ambitious and pretentious than his previous broad comedies Bananas & Sleeper (both included in the box set). It is set in Russia at the time of the Napoleonic Wars when Napoleon's armies were marching across Europe and threatening Russia. Most of the film is done as a flashback from Woody Allen's prison cell as he waits to be executed. Woody plays Boris Grushenko, the youngest and most cowardly son of a land owner. Boris loves his cousin Sonja (Diane Keaton). When Sonja decides to marry a herring merchant because Boris' older brother, Ivan, won't marry her, Boris decides to enlist for the war. Through various unintentional activities he comes back a hero and eventually gets Sonja to marry him. She convinces him that they need to assassinate Napoleon and the rest of the plot revolves around their scheme to do so.

    Much of the humour in this film is based upon satirising philosophy, classic literature, the art community, death and religion. This makes the tone slightly pretentious and I think annoying in some parts. Despite this there are also some excellent jokes, slapstick and physical comedy to be found as well. The scenes while he is in the army are probably the best in the entire film. I believe many viewers would find this film more bizarre than funny and some of the jokes just don't work. As usual for this set there is a minor packaging problem with the running time being listed as 1:17 minutes (it is actually 81).

    If you like Woody Allen films (as I do) you will find things to enjoy in this film. If you do not (like my wife), you may lose interest quickly. Overall, a patchy effort that is not on the same level as Bananas or Sleeper.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but certainly not great for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the negative aspect ratio. The film is encoded at a very high bit rate and is thus spread across two layers despite only being an 81 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. Close-ups were especially fuzzy. 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 they come up very well on this transfer.

    There were quite a few white specks and lines on and off throughout the film, some large enough to distract. Some scenes were worse than others. Some thin white vertical lines were also noticeable. There was also a visible curled hair at 16:31.

    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 the end of a scene at 48:20.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is fine, but mono.

    This DVD contains five audio options all in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono encoded at 192 Kb/s. The options are English, German, French, Italian & Spanish.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, although the subtitles did come in handy once or twice.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film is the music of Sergei Prokofiev which fits the setting of this film well given he is a Russian composer.

    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 (2:24)

    This trailer is presented in non 16x9 enhanced widescreen. The video quality here is much worse than the feature and is extremely dark by comparison. Also the black bar is much larger at the top than at the bottom. So, all in all, pretty shoddy.

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 the PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    This disc contains a mildly amusing and pretentious comedy from Woody Allen set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.

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

    The audio quality is fine, but mono.

    The disc has a shoddily presented 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 23, 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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