Libido (1973)

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Released 24-May-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers And Cast
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Naked Bunyip, Travelling North, The Club, Camille 2000
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 116:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:50) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Baker
Tim Burstall
John B. Murray
Fred Schepisi
Studio
Distributor
Guild Productions
Madman Entertainment
Starring Elke Neidhart
Bryon Williams
Mark Albiston
John Williams
Jill Forster
Judy Morris
Bruce Barry
Louise Homfrey
George Fairfax
Robyn Nevin
Arthur Dignam
Vivean Gray
Jack Thompson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Peter Best
Billy Green
Tim Healy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Libido is a compendium of four short films around the general topic of, err, libido. The drive for sex in one form or another. Made during the early resurgence of the Australian film industry, each of these stories is driven by the writer.

    The first story, The Husband, directed by John B. Murray, was written by Craig McGregor and deals with the jealously of a man over Harry, who seems to be quite friendly with his wife. Full of daydreams, he is comforted by his wife (Elke Neidhardt) who assures him that his suspicions are unfounded. But are they?

    The second story, The Child, comes from Hal Porter and is set during the 1910s. It has a lot in common with L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between. A child whose father has left watches as first his mother and then his governess have affairs with a local man, with tragic consequences. This episode features Jill Forster and Judy Morris and was directed by Tim Burstall.

    Story three is The Priest, written by Thomas Keneally. It deals with a priest (Arthur Dignam) who lusts after a nun (Robyn Nevin), and through his mouth we hear what I assume is meant to be a scathing indictment of the dogmatic attitude of the Catholic Church towards sex and the celibacy of the priesthood. This episode was directed by Fred Schepisi.

    The final and longest story, The Family Man, is by David Williamson. Ken (Jack Thompson) is a property developer whose wife has had a baby the previous night. To celebrate, he calls up a friend Gerry (Max Gillies) and persuades him to come over, with the intention of hiring a couple of prostitutes. When Gerry seems reluctant, Ken instead persuades him to go with him down to the local bar to pick up a couple of sheilas. Which they do, but Ken's self loathing gets in the way of things. David Baker directed.

    A hit and miss collection of stories, the last story is the best. The others seem contrived and unpolished, though the third story is well directed by Schepisi. The acting ranges from banal to excellent, with the standouts being Thompson and Gillies. It was fascinating to watch this after The Naked Bunyip, to see how the portrayal of sexuality in the cinema had changed so much in just a few short years. Students of Australian film will enjoy this, and so too will the general viewer, though some allowances need to be made for inconsistencies of tone.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is transferred in an aspect ratio of 1.70:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I am not sure what the original aspect ratio was, but it was probably close to this as there is no significant cropping. 1.66:1 seems a likely candidate.

    The film is not restored or cleaned up, and looks fairly average. The transfer is not especially sharp, though I think that this is how the material used for the transfer looks. It is clear enough for viewing but there is no fine detail. Contrast and brightness are quite good, but shadow detail is average to poor. Colour is problematic. During the first segment colours seem too highly saturated, with flesh tones tending to look red, as if the actors were turning into lobsters. It remains like this throughout.

    There is a lot of grain in this transfer, so it is hard to say whether the noise visible on screen is due to graininess or is low level noise. In any case blacks are badly affected by noise, especially in the segment The Priest. Aside from that there are some compression artefacts which cause backgrounds of the same colour to pulse slightly. It is not distracting on my television, but viewers with larger screens may feel otherwise. Film artefacts are mainly flecks and dirt, though there are some scratches, especially some squiggly ones during The Child.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change at 65:50, midway during The Priest. It is not disruptive. There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

    Audio is present in the form of a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The case says it is stereo, but I did not find the sound field to be especially wide or even noticeable. There is no surround encoding.

    Dialogue is clear throughout, and the audio track is serviceable without being exceptional. The sound seems to be well recorded and there are no serious distortions. I did not notice any problems with audio sync.

    There are three composers credited, and the music score comes across well without being anything remarkable or memorable. In other words, it does not distract the viewer from the stories, which can only be a good thing. There is use of a harpsichord and some string music to good effect.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The main menu has some music from the score.

Audio Commentary-Filmmakers And Cast

    Each of the segments has a separate commentary, and the menu only allows selection of a story at a time with commentary. That is, there is no Play All With Commentary option. The Husband has director Murray, editor Tim Lewis and script supervisor Aphrodite Kondos. The Child has Jill Forster and cinematographer Rob Copping. The Priest has Fred Schepisi, and The Family Man has Williamson and Thompson. Each is interesting though the first doesn't quite seem focussed on things. Unfortunately, there is a significant glitch in the commentary for The Child. At 7:05 when the second chapter begins, the picture and commentary go to the second chapter of The Husband. This does not happen when watching the film as a whole, nor when just watching the segment with the original audio. The only way to hear the rest of the commentary on this segment is to select the Play All option without the commentary, then manually change the audio stream using the remote.

Theatrical Trailer (2:50)

    An old, discoloured, scratchy trailer which concentrates on the sexual aspects of the story.

Trailer-The Naked Bunyip, Travelling North, The Club, Camille 2000 (8:59)

    Trailers for other Umbrella releases.

Booklet

    A ten-page booklet containing an essay by John B. Murray about the history of the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film seems to be available only in Region 4 at present.

Summary

    Spottily entertaining series of short Australian films. Quite ambitious for the time it was made, it succeeds and fails in roughly equal measure.

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    A pity about the glitch with the most substantial extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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