Sweet Dreams (1985)
|Year Of Production||1985|
|Running Time||110:19 (Case: 115)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (61:26)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Karel Reisz|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Robert L. Dasch
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Lots of it - and around babies, too!|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Patsy and Charlie, dancing together.|
This genuinely interesting romance is carried on through strong central performances by Jessica Lange and Ed Harris as Patsy and Charlie. Lange in particular is a revelation, bursting with energy and emotion. She has considerable chemistry with Harris, lending a compelling spark to their many bedroom scenes (and back-seat scenes, and kitchen floor scenes…), and also plays well with on-screen mother Ann Wedgworth. Other actors necessarily take a back seat to these two – not even a young John Goodman makes much of an impression. These supporting parts are not poorly played; there’s just very little for them to do, with the focus so closely on the two leads.
Beyond the romance and the acting, Sweet Dreams boasts a third reason to watch: the music. Unless you’ve irrevocably decided to despise country music, Patsy Cline’s voice will take your breath away. Lange lip-syncs convincingly to expertly integrated recordings of Cline herself singing Crazy, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Sweet Dreams, and more. These classics serve their intended dramatic and biographical function, while also making much of this film sheer pleasure to listen to.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, slightly cropped from a theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is a little soft throughout, although never distractingly so. Black levels and shadow detail are reasonable, and although most daylight scenes look slightly hazy, this is most likely the source material rather than the transfer.
Despite the haze, there is no shortage of vibrant and attractive colour, from the rainbow sign at 9:23 to the red theatre at 97:40. The grey ordinariness of the workaday world is vividly contrasted with the bright colours of country showbiz, and of the things that showbiz money can buy.
This is generally a surprisingly good-looking film, but the transfer is let down a little by slight but constant posterisation – particularly of backgrounds. The resulting flicker is no more distracting than moderate grain is, as long as you don’t concentrate on it. Stick to the film, lest pedantry ruin your evening! Furthermore, this twenty-year-old film has an unsurprising collection of minor film artefacts. Small flecks and dots are common, but not overpowering. The worst is a hair at 120:14, and even this is unlikely to ruin your suspense.
Sadly, there are no subtitles at all for this film. This is very annoying, especially since they were included on the Region 1 release. How hard could it have been for Universal to stick that stream on our disc?
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change perfectly positioned on a blackout between chapters at 61:26.
All we get is one English Dolby Digital 2.0 track, at 224 Kbps.
All dialogue and singing is clear and intelligible – and in fact the latter is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to! There is no hiss, and audio sync is no problem even when Jessica Lange is miming to Patsy Cline’s records.
The recorded music by Cline and others is superb, a well-rendered and essential part of the auditory landscape in this film. The original score, however, is a depressingly mediocre piece of mid-1980s synthesiser hackwork, for which generic composer Charles Gross is responsible. Although the score doesn’t crop up often, it is deeply unworthy of the rest of the soundtrack.
Obviously, neither the surrounds nor the centre channel had anything to do in this Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Left and right, all the way!
The subwoofer had no dedicated channel, but received plenty of redirected information to support low frequencies for the left and right channels. This meant that the music sounded terrific, but that incidents like the plane crash at 103:49 lacked the oomph that a generous whack of LFE might have provided.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extra features.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The video quality is pretty good for a minor film of its age.
The audio quality is as good as stereo allows.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Sony DVP-NS730P, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic PT-AE500E projecting onto 100" screen. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR601 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||Jensen SPX-7 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 centre and rear centre, Jensen SPX-4 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|