Lady Jane (1986)

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Released 4-May-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 135:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:48) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Trevor Nunn
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Helena Bonham Carter
Cary Elwes
John Wood
Michael Hordern
Jill Bennett
Jane Lapotaire
Sara Kestelman
Patrick Stewart
Warren Saire
Joss Ackland
Ian Hogg
Lee Montague
Richard Vernon
Case DV-4
RPI $24.95 Music Stephen Oliver


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian 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
French
German
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Finnish
Dutch
Bulgarian
Icelandic
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Arabic
Turkish
Polish
Italian
Spanish
Romanian
Czech
Hungarian
Slovenian
Serbian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I recently reviewed and greatly enjoyed the historical drama Charles II. Accordingly, when I noticed this disc had been waiting some time for a review, I decided to give it a shot.

    Lady Jane is a film about the life of Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter in her screen debut), whom I knew of before watching this film, but was not really aware of why I knew of her. This was not the first film made about Lady Jane Grey, as her story was made in the 1930s as Tudor Rose.

    Lady Jane Grey was born in 1537 toward the end of the reign of Henry VIII. She was related to the king as her mother Lady Frances (Sara Kestelman) was the king's niece. Her father was Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk (Patrick Stewart). Upon the death of Henry VIII in 1547, his son Edward VI (Warren Saire) became king. As he was only 10 years old, initially his uncle, the Duke of Somerset was named protector. By the time this film opens, he had been replaced by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland (John Wood), charged with treason and beheaded. Dudley proceeded to control the kingdom during Edward's short reign. When Edward was dying in 1553, Dudley convinced him to name Lady Jane Grey as his successor, despite the stronger claims of Henry VIII's daughters, Mary & Elizabeth. He also arranged for Jane to marry his youngest son Guilford (Cary Elwes). Once the king died, Dudley had Jane crowned as Queen, obviously planning to control the kingdom through his son and her. Unfortunately, this plan was shortlived as Mary gathered a force of supporters and marched into London, ending the reign of Queen Jane after just nine days. Dudley was captured and executed shortly afterwards. Jane & Guilford were also captured, however were imprisoned in the Tower of London. They were eventually executed in 1554. At this stage Jane was only 17 years old.

    The film generally seems to be quite true to the history laid out above (at least in terms of the events which occurred), however, it does seem to go a bit overboard on the romance between Jane & Guilford and portrays them as idealistic and naive, trying to solve all of England's problems. Jane is also portrayed as a rebel, which doesn't seem to have a lot of basis in fact. The film is generally well made, however tends to be melodramatic especially with regard to Jane & Guilford. Helena Bonham Carter does a good job in her first film role effectively playing the young girl caught up in the political machinations of Dudley. The rest of the cast are also quite good. The biggest issue I have with this film (in addition to the melodrama) is that at 135 minutes it is far too long. The 1930s version (which I have not seen) managed to tell the story in 80 minutes. As you watch, you can easily pick a number of scenes which could either have been shortened or removed entirely without detracting from the film.

    If you are a fan of historical costume dramas, or are interested in where Helena Bonham Carter's career started, this film may well be worth a rental.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is nothing special.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is most likely the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was distinctly soft, but was watchable, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was not great with only some details being visible in dark scenes. There was also some light grain, more noticeable in indoor scenes.

    The colour was average. The outdoor scenes had quite decent colour, however, the indoor scenes were quite murky with very little well saturated colour. This could be by design, however, I have seen many films set in a similar period which showed much better colour. Skin tones were a little pale.

    The only noticeable artefacts were fairly regular white specks.

    Subtitles are available in just about every European language (Icelandic anyone?). The English subtitles were clear and easy to read, but were summarised on occasion.

    The layer change occurs at 67:48 and is quite well done.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is average, bordering on poor.

    This DVD contains five audio options; an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in German, Spanish, French & Italian.

    Dialogue was mixed too low, requiring the volume to be turned up 10dB higher than my normal reference level. This is not a big problem in itself, but unfortunately the music was at a normal volume, so tended to be quite loud. The subtitles came in handy to work out what was being said sometimes, even with the volume turned up.

    The score of this film by Stephen Oliver overdoes the pomp and melodrama a bit. It starts off quite well but toward the end of the film you start to find it intrusive.

    The surround speakers are not used.

    The subwoofer came on once during a particularly loud piece of music but this has more to do with my amp's bass management than the disc itself..

    

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu included photos from the film and the ability to select scenes and audio options.

Photo Gallery

    The only extra is a reasonably uninteresting selection of approximately 30 black & white photos both from the film and behind the scenes during production.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film is available in Region 1 & Region 2 on very similar discs. Region 1 & 2 reviews note the same issues as I have mentioned with regard to the volume of the dialogue. On this basis I will give Region 4 the nod due to local availability and PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    This disc contains a decent historical costume drama from 1986 featuring Helena Bonham Carter in her first film role.

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is average, bordering on poor.

    The disc has only a photo gallery as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, August 12, 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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