Her Majesty Mrs. Brown (1997)

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Released 10-Nov-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 100:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Madden
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Judi Dench
Billy Connolly
Geoffrey Palmer
Antony Sher
Gerard Butler
Richard Pasco
David Westhead
Bridget McConnell
Georgie Glen
Catherine O'Donnell
Sara Stewart
Finty Williams
Claire Nicolson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Stephen Warbeck


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    I saw this film when it was initially released to the cinemas in 1997 and enjoyed it greatly. I have seen it since on television and was pleased to get the chance to review this release (which has been a long time coming in this region).

    Her Majesty Mrs Brown (as it is called on the box unlike in the credits where it is just Mrs Brown) was originally commissioned for BBC Scotland. It is easy to see how it became a much bigger film than such lowly beginnings and why it garnered such praise from critics and the moviegoing public. The film follows the story of Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) after the death of her much-loved husband, Prince Albert. She is  depressed and has withdrawn completely from public life to the Isle of Wight. Her personal secretary, Sir Henry Ponsonby (Geoffrey Palmer), decides to bring in a man of whom Albert was extremely fond. His name is John Brown (Billy Connolly) a forthright and tough Scottish highlander who tended the Royal horses at Balmoral. Brown immediately begins to ruffle feathers at court but soon begins to help the Queen out of her depression by his honesty and stubbornness. Slowly he becomes her best friend and the rumours begin that he is in fact her lover. Meanwhile, there are anti-royal republican feelings on the rise throughout England and the government wishes the Queen to return to public life.

    The film is very moving and is built around two wonderful acting performances. Judi Dench is magnificent as Queen Victoria; dejected, depressed but still full of pride and fire. She won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar and many other awards for her performance. Billy Connolly, the Scottish comedian is a revelation as John Brown, showing his not inconsiderable dramatic acting chops in his role. The interplay between these two characters is the centrepiece of the film. In many ways this is a film about love between a man and a woman, however the fact that she is the Queen forces that love to be, at least seemingly, unrequited. This film does not make a judgement one way or the other as to whether their love was completely unrequited.

    This is a very good film which deserves much better treatment than it has been given on this release.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio pan and scan which is NOT the original aspect ratio. This film was originally released in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. I would guess that this copy has been taken from the local Australian television master of the film, especially considering that it is being released locally as an ABC product. As per site policy, I will deduct one star from the overall video score due to the pan and scan nature of this transfer.

    The picture was reasonably clear throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, however, there was a significant amount of grain present which along with the general softness of the picture results in an image which is average to say the least. The shadow detail was poor with most dark scenes being fairly impenetrable.

    The colour was reasonable but certainly was not any better than that. The film generally had a fairly dark colour palette which obviously adds to this.

    Artefacts were also quite regular including specks, flecks and lines, some aliasing such as on the roof at 7:33, macro-blocking on large expanses of coloured wall and some minor edge enhancement. It would seem very little has been done in the way of cleaning up or restoring this copy of the film.

    Subtitles were obviously too much to ask for.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Stephen Warbeck is of good quality and adds to the atmosphere of the film.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    Nothing! Zero! Zilch! Nada!

Menu

    The menu included a still and the ability to select scenes.

R4 vs R1

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 1 & 2 versions of this disc miss out on;

    I will go for the Region 2 release which is PAL, widescreen (non 16x9 enhanced) and includes the trailer.

Summary

    A wonderful film about Queen Victoria after the death of her husband starring the marvellous Judi Dench in her Oscar nominated role.

    The video quality is poor.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, December 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, 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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