My Brilliant Career (Directors Suite) (1979)

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Released 8-Nov-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-2 Separate commentaries
Featurette-The Miles Franklin Story
Interviews-Crew-Producer Margaret Fink And Director Gilliam Armstrong
Featurette-Cannes Footage From 1980
DVD-ROM Extras-Study Guide
Trailer-PlayTime, Early Summer, Mon Oncle!, Toyko Story
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 95:38
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:44) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Gillian Armstrong
Studio
Distributor
NSW Film Corp
Madman Entertainment
Starring Judy Davis
Sam Neill
Wendy Hughes
Robert Grubb
Max Cullen
Aileen Britton
Peter Whitford
Patricia Kennedy
Alan Hopgood
Julia Blake
David Franklin
Marion Shad
Aaron Wood
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Nathan Waks


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This classic Australian film from Gillian Armstrong has previously been released twice in Region 4. Our review of the original version (released in 2004) can be found here. More recently in 2005 a two-disc version was released, although I cannot confirm the contents of this. Now a new version with a remastered video presentation has been released as part of Madman's Director's Suite series. As I don't have details of the contents of the two-disc version, I will compare the original release to this latest version and assume the two-disc release was similar to the Region 1 (two-disc) version. If a reader has access to the two-disc version I would be interested to hear the differences between that and this new release.

 

Original Release

2 Disc re-release (TBC)

New Director's suite version

Video

Reasonable, but soft.

As original release. (TBC)

Restored video. Now better but not spectacular.

Audio

Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.

Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 & dts 5.1 (TBC)

Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 & dts 5.1

Extras

1 commentary, 2 interviews, 2 featurettes, Study Guide & Trailers

As original release (TBC)

1 new commentary + essay inside the case

    To my mind the main reason you would need to upgrade to this version is for the improved video quality, which based on the original review has improved with this version. The new commentary would certainly be of interest to students of Australian film or Australian history and national identity. See details below. If you don't own it, this is certainly the version to buy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good and an improvement on the previous releases.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is close to what I believe to be the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. At the time of our original review, the IMDB stated the original aspect ratio as 2.35:1, however, this has now been updated to 1.85:1.

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear, however you would certainly not call the picture crisp. In some scenes, especially the darker ones, the picture becomes softer. Overall, I would call the sharpness good but variable considering the age of the film and it's low budget origins. There was no evidence of low level noise. There was some light film grain throughout, heavier in darker scenes. I did notice some very minor macro-blocking in the background at 14:26 but this is a very minor issue. Shadow detail was poor but the natural lighting plays a part in this.

    The colour was decent but a bit dull in some scenes, although this is at least partially due to the colour scheme of the film. Blacks were never really fully black, mostly dark grey or blue.

    There was very little in the way of artefacts, only some small white spots.

    There are no subtitles, which is a shame. If you are going to re-release a film three times, adding some subtitles should be on the list of things to do.

    The layer change occurs at 73:44 and was reasonably well done despite causing a minor pause.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good. The three options provided will satisfy both purists and home cinema buffs, although having two surround soundtracks could be considered overkill for a film of this ilk.

    This DVD contains three audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448Kb/s, an English dts 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224Kb/s. All three sound good and it will really depend on your personal preference and system setup which one you choose. I thought both surround remixes were sympathetic, adding ambience, immersion and some minor effects. Those who just wish to listen to the film in the original mono can choose this option.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Some lines of dialogue were a little difficult to make out. Subtitles would have been a great help.

    The music mostly consists of a piece of Schumann, used at various stages during the film. It is haunting and evocative.

    The surround speakers added atmosphere and some surround effects, such as a horse drawn carriage leaving the scene at 12:35, and some bird noises.

    The subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    I will cover the new extras in detail and just note what else is included. Excellent descriptions for the original extras repeated here can be found in the original review. New extras are labelled **NEW**.

Menu

    The menu included motion, music and is generally very well designed, although I feel that the text is a little small.

Commentary - Dr. Felicity Collins, Senior Lecturer in Cinema Studies at LaTrobe University **NEW**

    This is the major new addition in extras terms and is an interesting (if somewhat dry) commentary in which she discusses music, themes, women's issues, Australian history and identity and the style and works of Gillian Armstrong. Would certainly be of interest to students of Australian film or cultural history.

Notes inside the case **NEW**

    I believe this is a new addition to this version. There is a short essay on Gillian Armstrong's work and her filmography.

Audio Commentary - Director, Gillian Armstrong

The Miles Franklin Story (4:05)

Interview - Gillian Armstrong (8:16)  

Interview - Margaret Fink, Producer (8:32)

Cannes Footage 1980 (2:23)

DVD-ROM Study Guide

Trailers **NEW**

    Different trailers are included for Play Time, Early Summer, Mon Oncle & Tokyo Story.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is available in Region 1 in a two-disc set. This Region 4 version (when compared to Region 1) misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Region 4 is the pick here but it's a close run thing.

Summary

    A classic Australian film gets its third issue in Region 4.

    The video quality is good and a step up from previous releases.

    The audio quality is very good.

    Comprehensive extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, February 01, 2007
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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