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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Lonely Hearts (Filmmakers Collection) (1982)

Lonely Hearts (Filmmakers Collection) (1982)

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Released 3-Aug-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of-The Making of Lonely Hearts
Theatrical Trailer-Lonely Hearts
Trailer-4 x Umbrella Titles
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 91:28
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Paul Cox

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Wendy Hughes
Norman Kaye
Jon Finlayson
Julia Blake
Jonathan Hardy
Irene Inescort
Vic Gordon
Ted Grove-Rogers
Ron Falk
Chris Haywood
Diana Greentree
Margaret Steven
Kris McQuade
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Norman Kaye

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

     Dutch born, Australian filmmaker Paul Cox  has avoided being drawn into the realms of mainstream cinema by maintaining a passion for the films he makes best. His films are generally low-budget productions that explore the many facets and complexities of human relationships. Most Paul Cox films also have a distinctive "European" influence, whilst still remaining faithful to their local origins.

    In the early eighties Cox made three consecutive feature films that significantly elevated his filmmaking reputation. These films were Lonely Hearts (1982), Man of Flowers (1983) and My First Wife (1984). While each of these superb films deals with aspects of human frailty, one of them also exudes genuine warmth with subtle humour - that film is Lonely Hearts.

    Cox wrote the screenplay for Lonely Hearts based on his own experience of loneliness when he first arrived in Australia. Executive Producer, Philip Adams thought the screenplay was a little too dark, so he suggested that humorist, John Clarke be brought in to contribute to Cox's screenplay. Cox agreed and the collaboration added an element of humour, which lifted the overall ambience of the film.

    Originally Cox had trouble finding investors for Lonely Hearts, because of the films awkward theme and offbeat characters. However, investor fears were proved unfounded when the film won the praise of critics and received the Best Film award at the 1982 AFI Awards, against some quality opposition.

    After the death of his mother, fifty-year-old Peter Thompson (Norman Kaye) decides to use a dating agency to help him find a suitable lady partner. Peter works as a piano tuner and is also very keen on amateur theatre. He is matched up with Patricia (Wendy Hughes ), a much younger and shy lady, who has only just moved out of her parents house and into her own flat. Patricia is in her thirties, is very dowdy and as we later discover, has deep psychological fears about sex.

    Both Peter and Patricia have their lives somewhat complicated by intrusive family members. Peter's life is overseen by his sister Pamela (Julia Blake) and her husband, Bruce (Jonathan Hardy), while Patricia has the constant interference of her father and mother (Vic Gordon & Irene Inescort).

    Slowly Peter and Patricia develop an awkward relationship. Patricia gradually loses some of her inhibitions and learns to trust Peter. With his guidance, she also gets involved in the local theatre's production of Strindberg's, The Father. The plays very camp director, George (Jon Finlayson), thinks Patricia is a natural and welcomes her openly into the group.

    One night, Patricia's trust in Peter is shattered when he misinterprets her signals and pushes the sexual boundaries of their relationship. With their friendship now on the brink, Patricia must search deep within to finally stand up to her meddling father and also find the courage to pick up where she and Peter faulted.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer for Lonely Hearts is reasonably good.

    The film is presented in the fullframe ratio of 1.33:1, which is not 16x9 enhanced. The slick of this DVD edition claims this to be the original aspect ratio, however it has now been confirmed that the correct ratio is 1.85:1.

    The National Film & Sound Archive have recently restored Lonely Hearts as part of the Kodak/Atlab Cinema Collection and it is highly likely that this transfer has come from such a print. Although the transfer is by no means pristine, it is easily the best presentation of the film that I have seen to date. Sharpness levels vary throughout the film, but tend to more on the soft side. Blacks were very clean, showing no signs of low-level-noise. In general, I found shadow detail to be a little disappointing. Quite often the detail in these areas was murky and un-defined. All of these issues would no doubt, relate back to the source material, so I'm not being overly pedantic.

     The colour palette used in Lonely Hearts was deliberately very drab and subdued; this is certainly consistent on the DVD.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were insignificant and not much of a distraction. Film artefacts were negligible, consisting of infrequent and very minor scratches. A few reel change markings were also evident at regular intervals - these were in no way a distraction.

     Unfortunately, there are no subtitles on this DVD.

     This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change is perfectly placed at the end of a scene at 87:02 and was very difficult to detect.

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


    The audio transfer is basic, but faithful to the original mono audio source.

    There is only one audio track available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality was generally very good and audio sync appeared accurate throughout.

    The piano music in Lonely Hearts was arranged and performed by Norman Kaye , who was actually a music teacher before turning to acting.

    The surround channels and the subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    While there isn't an abundance of extras, the "making of" doco is interesting and relevant.


    The main menu is static; 16x9 enhanced and features a music sample from the film.


Featurette  - The Making of Lonely Hearts  (55:39)

    This comprehensive look at the making of Lonely Hearts is divided into eleven chapters, each covering a different aspect of the production. Recently produced by Umbrella, the featurette is dedicated to the memory of Norman Kaye, who sadly passed away in May of this year, aged 80. Interviews and anecdotes are combined with footage from the film in an interesting and relevant manor. The contributors include Paul Cox, John Clarke, Philip Adams and Wendy Hughes. Recommended viewing.

Theatrical Trailer

   Lonely Hearts (2:23 )

Umbrella Trailers   

  • Careful He Might Hear You (1:02)
  • We Of The Never Never (3:37)
  • Picnic At Hanging Rock (4:50
  • The Getting Of Wisdom (2:28)

    R4 vs R1

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

        I will compare this all region edition of Lonely Hearts with the MGM, R1 version, released in December 2001.

        The R1 edition has no extras, but it has the addition of English, Spanish and French subtitles. Unless the presence of these subtitles is of importance, it is obvious that the local, all region version is a clear winner.


          Although Lonely Hearts seems quite a simple film on face value, there is plenty of complexity in the personality of the characters and their awkward relationships. This is a beautiful film, rich in subtle humour, which helps to keep the narrative on an appropriate emotional level. Although it's not a film with a high profile, Lonely Hearts is an important film in the history of Australian cinema and a quintessential film in the career of Paul Cox.

        The video transfer is not pristine, but is certainly the best this film has looked in any home video format.

        The audio transfer is faithful to the original mono audio track.

        The extras are limited, but the "making of" featurette is excellent and upholds the usually high standard set by Umbrella Entertainment for these types of extras.


  • Ratings (out of 5)


    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Saturday, September 01, 2007
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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