Two for the Road (1967)
|Year Of Production||1967|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (53:53)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Stanley Donen|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.30:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I am interested in movies from the 1950s and 1960s and always enjoy the chance to see any which I have not previously seen. The presence of Audrey Hepburn in one of her last roles before semi-retiring in 1967 also encouraged me to review this disc.
Two for the Road is an interestingly structured romantic drama which follows the romance of Mark Wallace, an architect (Albert Finney) and his wife Joanna (Audrey Hepburn). It tells the story of their initial romance, marriage and the various ups and downs of their relationship by interweaving footage from various road trips through France which they took during the 10+ years covered by the film. These include their initial meeting when Mark was hitchhiking through France looking at architecture and meets Joanna when the group she is travelling with crash their bus; a later trip with just the two of them together in an old MG; a hellish trip with a family including a little girl who the parents don't believe need discipline; a trip he made alone working; a trip they made with their young daughter and the last trip with them in a flashy Mercedes, attending a party. In between they are variously very happy, angry, unfaithful, bitter, talking about divorce or thinking about having children, sometimes many of these at once. This film is a fascinating portrait of a marriage and most married couples will recognise some of the situations shown. There is drama, comedy, passion and sorrow.
The film was directed by the very talented Stanley Donen, also responsible for films such as Singin' in the Rain, Charade & Funny Face. There are some nicely done transitions between the various road trips such as the couple hitchhiking being passed by a car which is then shown to be them on another trip. There is also a transition which goes from the couple badly sunburnt to a lobster dinner. The screenplay by Frederic Raphael was nominated for an Academy Award and Audrey Hepburn was nominated for a Golden Globe. The score by Henry Mancini was also Golden Globe nominated, however this is now badly dated. Jacqueline Bisset also appears in an early small role. Fashion watchers will like the constantly changing array of haute couture displayed on Audrey Hepburn. The fashion houses are all given credits in the opening sequence.
Overall, this is a good quality romantic drama featuring two stars who both give excellent performances.
The video quality is disappointing.
The feature is presented in a 2.30:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is very close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.The lack of 16x9 enhancement significantly affects the sharpness of this transfer.
The picture was not particularly clear and sharp with some scenes being quite soft. There is also some significant grain. There was no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was quite good but was not utilised very often as most scenes occurred during the day.
The colour was reasonable, although a bit dull and the skin tones were pink at times rather than natural.
Artefacts were quite significant in this film, especially edge enhancement if this particular artefact annoys you. There were some occasional flecks and also some white lines such as at 72:45 and 75:11. There is a jump in the film at 16:08 and some minor aliasing here and there such as at 17:19, on a car grille at 23:34 and on shutters at 60:48, although this is probably kept in check by the lack of sharpness.
There are subtitles in 4 languages including English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read and were located on the black bar at the bottom of the screen - the only minor benefit of the lack of 16x9 enhancement..
The layer change occurs at 53:53 and is very hard to pick up.
The audio quality is good but mono.
This DVD contains three audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in German and Italian.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, although the subtitles occasionally came in handy.
The score of this film by Henry Mancini has dated quite badly. It is in the light orchestral style which is common for the period. From time to time the music is a bit muffled which is probably a result of the slightly less than optimum bit rate or may be a problem with the audio source.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu includes stills, and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 2 version of this disc misses out on;
There is no release of this film in Region 1 at this time. On this basis the Region 2 seems to be best, although it does seem to contain the same video transfer.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|