The Politician's Wife (1995)
Notes-Background Essay by Author
|Year Of Production||1995|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (30:52)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Graham Theakston|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
British Television sure knows how to turn out quality dramas. One subcategory of note is the political drama, of which this is an excellent example, along with wonderful shows like House of Cards and its sequels. This particular series was made back in 1995 and is the first release we have reviewed from distributor Acorn Media, which is new to Australia (although has been operating in other locales for some time). They have released a number of other titles already including Sword of Honour starring Daniel Craig.
The Politician's Wife won a number of awards back in 1995 including a BAFTA and an Emmy. It is told over three one hour episodes which are faithfully reproduced here on one dual layer disc. The story involves high-flying young politician Duncan Matlock (Trevor Eve), who is the Minister of the Family in the UK Conservative government. He is married to Flora (Juliet Stevenson) who lives in his mostly rural constituency with their two pre-teen children. He, of course, spends a lot of time in London, staying at their city flat. As the story begins he has been caught by the press having an affair with a parliamentary researcher who used to be an escort. Her name is Jennifer Caird (Minnie Driver). Flora is not aware of this infidelity and Duncan races home to tell her himself before the press or the morning papers arrive on the doorstep. He tells her that it was a one-off meaningless mistake and after some badgering by her father (a local party stalwart) and other party figures such as Sir Donald Frazier (Ian Bannen), she agrees to support him. As time passes and more information comes to light it becomes clear that it has been going on for some time and is far from meaningless to him. She resolves to get her revenge.
This is excellent television featuring a top quality cast who all do excellent work. It was written directly for television by Paula Milne. It is an interesting study in the meaning of morality both in terms of Duncan and his wife as some of her actions would also be questionable in some people's eyes. Fans of quality British drama should seek this show out. Recommended.
The video quality is reasonable but has been cropped to fit a widescreen television. This practice for older television is just as reprehensible as pan and scan is for widescreen movies.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is NOT the original aspect ratio. I have been advised that 1.66:1 is the original aspect ratio on UK TV. It is noticeably cropped as people's heads go missing or partially missing as they move around scenes. I will remove one star from the overall video rating accordingly. The case actually says that it is both 4x3 and 16x9 enhanced!
The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout considering the age and source with no evidence of low level noise. There was grain in backgrounds which occasionally lapsed into macro-blocking however it was never terrible. The shadow detail was OK.
The colour was pretty good but somewhat dull.
There were some spots of aliasing such as on a tie at 1:29 and a jacket at 38:51 (both in Episode 1). There were also some small white specks and blobs here and there.
There are no subtitles on this disc.
The layer change occurs at 30:52 in episode 2 and is not noticeable.
The audio quality is good.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.
The music by Barrington Pheloung is very effective adding to the atmosphere and tension.
The surround speakers were not used.
The subwoofer added some bass to the music due to my amplifier's bass management.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu design is fairly perfunctory with some music and stills from the show.
A text based essay on multiple screens which covers the story idea, development and casting along with a bio of the author.
Text filmographies for all the main cast.
The local all region version of this disc misses out on:
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:
On this basis it is very hard to make a call without seeing the Region 1 transfer.
The video quality is reasonable but has been cropped.
The audio quality is good.
A couple of minor text extras are included.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|