The Battle of the Sexes (1959)

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Released 17-Oct-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Notes-Film Background
Trailer-The Millionairess, The Blockhouse, Where Does It Hurt?
Trailer-Trial & Error
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 80:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Charles Crichton
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Peter Sellers
Robert Morley
Constance Cummings
Jameson Clark
Ernest Thesiger
Donald Pleasence
Moultrie Kelsall
Alex Mackenzie
Roddy McMillan
Michael Goodliffe
James Gibson
Noel Howlett
Abe Barker
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Stanley Black

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
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

    This is now my third review of a Peter Sellers film, the first two being The Party and Only Two Can Play. This film is closer in style to Only Two Can Play as it is an older black & white English film made in 1959 which features a funny lead performance by Sellers, this time set in Scotland rather than Wales. Really the only link between this film and The Party is the presence of Sellers.

    The plot is quite dated as it focuses on 'shock, horror' a woman in the workplace and the trouble she causes. Sellers plays Mr Martin, the chief accountant of a very old fashioned tweed manufacturer in Scotland, The House of Macpherson where he has worked all his life. He is a confidant of the head of the firm, Old Macpherson who on his death bed asks Mr Martin to help his buffoon of a son Robert (Robert Morley) run the company properly. While on his way back to Scotland, Robert meets an American business consultant on the train, Mrs Angela Barrows (Constance Cummings) and asks her to come and help him run his father's company. She arrives and immediately starts to try and change the way things are done in the firm without really understanding the implications. The staff including Martin get very annoyed and he tries to find ways to undermine her. As things escalate his plans become more and more desperate.

    Unfortunately, the dated nature of this storyline means that the film takes some time to get going for a modern audience, although Sellers is always watchable. Things get interesting towards the end and the sequence where Mr Martin visits Angela in her apartment, trying to kill her, is very funny indeed. I am sure that some of the ideas in this scene were repeated in some of the Pink Panther films. The film is based on a short story by James Thurber called The Catbird Seat and was directed by British comedy stalwart, Charles Crichton, responsible for directing A Fish Called Wanda many years later and many other things before and in between. Donald Pleasence also appears in a small role as Irwin Hoffman, an associate of Mrs Barrows.

    This is the weakest of the three Sellers films I have reviewed, however it is still worth seeing for Sellers fans, who will welcome its release on our beloved shiny disc.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is reasonable but certainly has some issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was poor with some darker scenes pretty murky. There is light grain throughout.

    The film is in black & white and the contrast is reasonable without being spectacular.

    Artefacts include many film artefacts including specks, flecks, hairs and splodges such as at 7:30 and 38:38. Aliasing is also present such as at 0:40, 13:52 on a grille, 47:06 and 78:30 on a coat. Jagged edges can also be seen regularly.

    There are no subtitles.

    There is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is fine.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by Stanley Black is a bit dated but not bad. It is mixed a little loud.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer are not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included music and the ability to select scenes.

Film Background

   A 5 page text essay on the story and the film. OK.


    Text biographies are included for Sellers, Morley, Cummings and Pleasence.

Umbrella Trailers

    Trailers for The Millionairess, The Blockhouse, Where Does It Hurt & Trial & Error all of which feature Peter Sellers.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film does not seem to be available outside Region 4 but is coded for all regions.


    An early Peter Sellers comedy which has a dated premise but is still worth watching for Sellers.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The disc includes a couple of minor text based extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, January 22, 2006
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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