Overall | The Ice House (1997) | The Echo (1998) | The Dark Room (1999) | The Sculptress (1996) | The Scold's Bridle (1998)

Minette Walters-The Collection (1996)

Minette Walters-The Collection (1996)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

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Overall Package

    This 5 disc set includes 5 separate television productions of Minette Walters novels made between 1996 and 1999. They are all of very good to excellent quality and have been nicely packaged together in 5 separate amaray cases and a sturdy cardboard slipcover. No extras are included whatsoever, which is a bit of a disappointment. The transfers are of reasonable quality but somewhat variable with none of the five standing out. The box lists all as being 16x9 however two are not. To my way of thinking, this set is slightly overpriced at nearly $100, although obviously it is up to you to determine the value for yourself. Recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Ice House (1997) | The Echo (1998) | The Dark Room (1999) | The Sculptress (1996) | The Scold's Bridle (1998)

The Ice House (1997)

The Ice House (1997)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 173:35 (Case: 172)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (84:58) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tim Fywell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Daniel Craig
Corin Redgrave
Kitty Aldridge
Frances Barber
Penny Downie
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.49:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.49:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Minette Walters is one of the most popular modern psychological thriller writers in the world and since 1992 she has had 12 books published. So far 5 of them have been made into telemovies for the BBC. All five of the telemovies have been released here locally as part of a Minette Walters box set by Roadshow. I decided to watch and review them in the order they were made rather than the order the books were published. This book was published in 1992 (her debut novel) and the movie was first shown in 1997.

    This story is set in and around a large old house called Streech Grange which is inhabited by its owner, Mrs Phoebe Maybury (Pennie Downie) and two female friends, Mrs Diana Goode (Frances Barber), a designer and Miss Anne Cattrell (Kitty Aldridge), a journalist. They are thoroughly disliked and mistrusted by the local community who are convinced that Mrs Maybury killed her husband who disappeared 10 years earlier. The local community also believes that they are a commune of lesbians. At the time of her husband's disappearance, Maybury was suspected by the local police but they could not prove her innocence or guilt. The leader of that investigation, DCI Walsh (Corin Redgrave) is convinced she did it and yearns to prove it. When a dead body turns up in a disused Ice House on the estate he is convinced that he has found her husband and can finally prove her guilt. He starts to investigate, assisted by DS McLouglin (Daniel Craig) who finds himself attracted to Anne Cattrell. His wife has just left him and he is attempting to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Obviously, all is not as it seems on the surface and many twists and turns follow...

    This is a strong television mystery with quality acting and a very good story. The sexual tension is very strong in this story as is quite common with Minette Walters. To my mind this second movie in the box set is not quite as compelling as the first one, although is still a very good production. The show is presented here in two parts as it was originally shown on television.

    Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is decent but certainly no better.

    The feature is presented in a 1.47:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which I would guess is the original aspect ratio. The case incorrectly lists the aspect ratio as 16x9.

    The picture was soft, not helped by the long running time on one disc, I am sure. It is somewhat variable but never better than average. There is light grain to begin with which gets worse in some scenes. Shadow detail is pretty ordinary. I did not notice any low level noise. There was also some mild macro-blocking to be seen.

    The colour was somewhat washed out and seemed a little overbright to me generally. There was some minor colour bleeding from light colours and faces seemed pale.

    Other than those mentioned above, artefacts were not a major issue.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but included some changes from the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 84:58 at the end of the first part. It was not noticeable.
    

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 an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by David Ferguson is tense and dramatic, well suited to the show.

    The surround speakers were not used.

     The subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu included music, and the ability to select parts, scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

     This disc is available in the same box set format in Region 2 and is not available in Region 1. The local product wins.

Summary

    A very good psychological thriller based on the book by Minette Walters. Disc 2 of a 5 disc set based on her novels.

    The video quality is decent.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, November 10, 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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
"James Bond takes on three lesbians" -

Overall | The Ice House (1997) | The Echo (1998) | The Dark Room (1999) | The Sculptress (1996) | The Scold's Bridle (1998)

The Echo (1998)

The Echo (1998)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 144:22 (Case: 142)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Diarmuid Lawrence
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Clive Owen
Joely Richardson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Audio Commentary Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Minette Walters is one of the most popular modern psychological thriller writers in the world. Since 1992 she has had 12 books published and so far 5 of them have been made into telemovies for the BBC. All five of the telemovies have been released here locally as part of a Minette Walters box set by Roadshow. I decided to watch and review them in the order they were made rather than the order the books were published. This book was published in 1997 and the movie was first shown in 1998. This particular production is notable for including Clive Owen in one of his first leading roles. His performance here is excellent and it's easy to see why he has since become a major film star.

    The plot of this movie is set in London around Christmas time. A dead body is found in the garage of a rich woman who lives alone. Her name is Amanda Powell (Joely Richardson) and she is an architect and quite reserved and somewhat haughty. The body is of a man known as Billy Blake who was a tramp and died of starvation. Powell paid for his funeral at the time of his death and now six months later an investigative journalist is assigned the story. He is Mike Deacon (Clive Owen) who begins to try to unravel the story, quickly discovering her past and forms the opinion that she knew Billy. In order to assist with his story he finds a young homeless man called Terry who says he knew Billy. I won't reveal more details of the plot as it would spoil your viewing.

    This is an excellent story and production, probably the strongest of the set. The acting is of high quality from both the leading players and as their relationship becomes more complex that quality really begins to reveal itself. This is the only one of the movies in this set which includes significant humour and that's certainly a positive. It does not in any way reduce the effect of what is quite a gritty psychological thriller. My only real criticism is that some of the CGI backgrounds are quite obvious. Once again it is presented in two parts as it was shown on television.

    Highly Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which I would guess is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear. Shadow detail is quite good, better than the first three discs. I did not notice any low level noise.

    The colour was very good, quite vibrant and well saturated. There was some minor colour bleeding from light colours.

    There were no major artefacts to mention.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but were somewhat summarised from the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 72:53 which is the end of the first part. It was not noticeable.
    

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 an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by John Harle features some wonderful moody guitar and jazz sax which add to the style of the film.

    The surround speakers were not used.

     The subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu included music, and the ability to select parts, scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

     This disc is available in the same box set format in Region 2 and is not available in Region 1. The local product wins.

Summary

    An excellent psychological thriller based on the book by Minette Walters. Disc 4 of a 5 disc set based on her novels.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, November 13, 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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Ice House (1997) | The Echo (1998) | The Dark Room (1999) | The Sculptress (1996) | The Scold's Bridle (1998)

The Dark Room (1999)

The Dark Room (1999)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 147:22
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:10) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Graham Theakston
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Dervla Kirwan
James Wilby
Paul Freeman
Nicholas Gecks
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Minette Walters is one of the most popular modern psychological thriller writers in the world. Since 1992 she has had 12 books published and so far 5 of them have been made into telemovies for the BBC. All five of the telemovies have been released here locally as part of a Minette Walters box set by Roadshow. I decided to watch and review them in the order they were made rather than the order the books were published. This book was published in 1995 and the movie was first shown in 1999, the most recent production in this set.

    This is yet another excellent psychological thriller from the pen of Minette Walters. The plot this time involves a young woman who is estranged from her family. Her name is Jane 'Jinx' Kingsley (Dervla Kirwan) and as the story begins she is brought into a hospital after an horrific car crash which has resulted in life threatening injuries. She has very little memory of the crash and as she is treated by Dr Alan Protheroe (James Wilby) it becomes obvious that her memory is missing about 10 days. It seems that the crash was an attempted suicide following her fiancé, Leo Wallader, leaving her for her lifelong best friend Meg Harris. Shortly after the crash, Leo & Meg's corpses are found, brutally murdered. Suspicion falls on Jinx as the police investigate. Other important characters in the story include:

    Once again this is a strong story complemented by some quality acting. This is a story which will keep you guessing right to the end. As with many Minette Walters stories none of the characters are obviously good or completely bad, making moral decisions hard for the viewer. It is presented in two parts as it was shown on television.

    Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which I would guess is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear but slightly less so than The Echo. Shadow detail is reasonable. I did not notice any low level noise.

    The colour was very good, quite vibrant and well saturated. There was some minor colour bleeding from light colours.

    In the artefacts department there was some aliasing here and there such as on Venetians at 52:09 and I noticed one spot of tape tracking error at 67:40.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but were somewhat summarised from the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 73:10 which is the end of the first part. It was not noticeable.
    

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 an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by Colin Towns is quite good featuring moody orchestral music.

    The surround speakers were not used.

     The subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu included music, and the ability to select parts, scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

     This disc is available in the same box set format in Region 2 and is not available in Region 1. The local product wins.

Summary

    A very good psychological thriller based on the book by Minette Walters . Disc 5 of a 5 disc set based on her novels.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, November 14, 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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Ice House (1997) | The Echo (1998) | The Dark Room (1999) | The Sculptress (1996) | The Scold's Bridle (1998)

The Sculptress (1996)

The Sculptress (1996)

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Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 180:00
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (89:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stuart Orme
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Pauline Quirke
Caroline Goodall
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, and lots of it!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Minette Walters is one of the most popular modern psychological thrillers writers in the world. Since 1992 she has had 12 books published and so far 5 of them have been made into telemovies for the BBC. This was her second book but the first movie made. All five of the telemovies have been released here locally as part of a Minette Walters box set by Roadshow. I decided to watch and review them in the order they were made rather than the order the books were published. This book was published in 1993 (winning an Edgar Allen Poe award in the US) and the movie was first shown in 1996. The movie received a number of awards and nominations including a BAFTA nomination for its star, Pauline Quirke who gives a stunning portrayal of Olive Martin.

    At a very simple level this is a did she/didn't she style thriller where the audience spends the entire three hours double guessing themselves about whether or not Olive Martin (Pauline Quirke) did or didn't commit the heinous crime for which she has been convicted. For better or worse, that question is not clearly answered at the end of the three hours and it is left up to the viewer to decide the answer. My wife and I didn't agree and we had both seen it before. At the beginning of the show there is a flashback to the day of the murders in 1990 (the main plot is set in 1995) where the police receive a call from Olive saying that she 'has chicken legs all over the floor and needs a policeman to help her pick them up'. On this seemingly hoaxed pretext, Detective Hal Hawksley (Christopher Fulford) arrives at 22 Leven Road and knocks at the door. The door opens to reveal Olive covered in blood and making little sense. He pushes past her and enters the kitchen to find the remains of Olive's mother and sister, chopped up and spread all over the floor. Olive is holding a bloody meat cleaver. Not surprisingly, she is convicted and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment for the murders.

    Cutting forward to the modern day, author Rosalind Leigh (Caroline Goodall) attends an appointment with her publisher. The publisher tells her that she needs to produce a book for her quickly as her royalties are dwindling fast. Rosalind has been having trouble getting over the death of her daughter and is finding it difficult to work. Her publisher convinces her to consider writing a book about Olive Martin, having already obtained agreement from Olive to cooperate. After some resistance, Rosalind agrees to consider the project and visits the jail to meet with Olive. She finds a difficult, intelligent and possibly deranged woman who makes it difficult for her to conduct an interview. Despite the difficulties she is intrigued and agrees to continue with the project. What follows is in some ways a game between the two women, giving some information, some lies and some half-truths to each other in order to gain trust. As Rosalind digs deeper both with Olive herself and others involved with the case such as Hawksley and her neighbours, she begins to wonder herself whether or not Olive is guilty. To say much more would spoil the excellent twists and turns of this wonderful psychological thriller.

    This is excellent television, based on a great story. The acting is very strong especially from Quirke and the jail scenes are very tense, well lit and shot. The music adds significantly to the feel of the film. After three hours, fans of psychological thrillers will have certainly been well entertained and can decide for themselves the answer to the question. The title refers to Olive's nickname in prison due to the nature of her crime. The show is presented here in two parts as it was originally shown on television.

    Highly Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is acceptable but certainly no better.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio. The case incorrectly lists the aspect ratio as 16x9 which is a bit silly.

    The picture was quite soft, not helped by the long running time on one disc I am sure. It is somewhat variable but never better than average. There is light grain to begin with which gets worse in darker scenes and later in the show. There is some occasional macro-blocking such as at 139:20 in the background. Shadow detail is pretty ordinary. I did not notice any low level noise.

    The colour was somewhat washed out and seemed a little overbright to me generally. There was some minor colour bleeding from light colours.

    Artefacts were quite plentiful including some minor aliasing such as on a roof at 9:10, some small tape tracking errors, some edge enhancement and quite a few spots, splodges and hairs. This department is a little disappointing for a show which is only 10 years old.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 89:59 at the end of the first part. It was not noticeable.
    

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 an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by Colin Towns is very good, featuring mournful violin.

    The surround speakers were not used.

    The subwoofer was used to add bass to music and some heartbeats and other tension sounds. Obviously, considering the nature of the soundtrack this was more a function of my amp's bass management than the audio track itself.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu included music, and the ability to select parts, scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

     This disc is available in the same box set format in Region 2 or separately in Region 1. The Region 1 version runs for only 168 minutes so I would presume it has been cut which is a shame. I can only recommend the local or Region 2 release. Region 4 wins the comparison.

Summary

    An excellent psychological thriller based on the book by Minette Walters . Disc 1 of a 5 disc set based on her novels.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, October 27, 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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Ice House (1997) | The Echo (1998) | The Dark Room (1999) | The Sculptress (1996) | The Scold's Bridle (1998)

The Scold's Bridle (1998)

The Scold's Bridle (1998)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Sep-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 147:29 (Case: 146)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Thacker
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Miranda Richardson
Bob Peck
Douglas Hodge
Sian Phillips
Trudie Styler
Beth Winslet
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Minette Walters is one of the most popular modern psychological thriller writers in the world. Since 1992 she has had 12 books published and so far 5 of them have been made into telemovies for the BBC. All five of the telemovies have been released here locally as part of a Minette Walters box set by Roadshow. I decided to watch and review them in the order they were made rather than the order the books were published. This book was published in 1994 (her third novel) and the movie was first shown in 1998.

    This one is the most overtly sexual story of the five included in this set but also has a set-up and structure which is the most reminiscent of a standard British television mystery like a Midsomer Murders episode. It features a large cast of suspects, all of whom could have done it or been involved and is centred upon the investigating officer's approach to finding the killer. An old woman, Mathilda Gillespie, who was rich, intolerant, arrogant and widely hated is found dead in her bath, wearing a medieval contraption known as a scold's bridle. A scold's bridle is something worn on the head which was used to punish nagging wives. It involves various uncomfortable bars and a mouthpiece which makes it impossible to talk. Initially it is thought to be suicide, however, the investigating officer, Sergeant Cooper (Bob Peck) is not convinced. Mathilda had previously been in a marriage of convenience with a gay man which ended in divorce. The suspects include:

    I felt this was a good story but not quite as strong as the others in the set. Despite this, it is well acted and keeps you interested over the 2 and a half hour running time. It is presented here in two parts as it was shown on television.

    Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good, significantly better than the first two.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which I would guess is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear. Shadow detail is reasonable but nothing special. I did not notice any low level noise.

    The colour was very good, quite vibrant and well saturated. There was some minor colour bleeding from light colours.

    There were no major artefacts to mention.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 74:05 which is the end of the first part. It was not noticeable.
    

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 an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by Junior Campbell is tense and includes some moody piano. Trivia buffs will be interested that this composer also composed the theme tune for Thomas The Tank Engine .

    The surround speakers were not used.

     The subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu included music, and the ability to select parts, scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

     This disc is available in the same box set format in Region 2 and is not available in Region 1. The local product wins.

Summary

    A quality television mystery with lashings of sex based on the book by Minette Walters . Disc 3 of a 5 disc set based on her novels.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, November 11, 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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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