The September Issue (2009)

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Released 2-Dec-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Deleted Scenes-Deleted and Extended Scenes (1.32.45)
Theatrical Trailer-(2.25)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 86:16 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By R.J. Cutler
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Oscar De la Renta
Patrick DeMarchelier
John Galliano
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Candy Pratts
Hilary Rhoda
Coco Rocha
André Leon Talley
Mario Testino
Caroline Trentini
Vera Wang
Anna Wintour
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Craig Richey


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 No
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

   It isn't hard to see what attracted documentary filmmaker B.J. Cutler to the story of Anna Wintour and the September 2007 issue of Vogue. His earlier film The War Room had been about the political machinations driving the 1992 Clinton campaign and it isn't long into The September Issue before we see the same intrigues and machinations at work.

For the uninitiated, which includes me, the September issue of Vogue magazine is the biggest selling edition of the year. At the heart of Vogue is editor in chief Wintour, incumbent since 1988, who is perhaps the most formidable woman on the planet. Famously the subject of the "fictional" book and film The Devil Wears Prada she can kill a designer with a glance and strike fear into all around her. The reviewer from the Village Voice relates how she was intimidated whenever Wintour walked into the lift in her building, and she didn't even work for Vogue!

The September Issue is a war diary of the creation of perhaps the thickest magazine issue on Earth, a whopping 840 pages, that caused David Letterman to remark that it was "bigger than the Manhattan telephone book". Avoiding the whole "prada" issue entirely, Cutler instead takes us as close to the flame as possible as Wintour and her band of followers struggle to create the mammoth fashion guide. Fashionphiles will relish all the time spent traipsing in and out of legendary clothing houses across the World and even the non-fashionistas will appreciate the snapshot of ferociously dedicated people at work. Perhaps its greatest virtue is to take us one step removed from the icy Wintour to profile and dog alongside former model and Deputy Editor Grace Coddington. The peaceful yin to Wintour's raging yang, she is the strong creative force behind the success of the magazine.

As well as the key pair we also see the flamboyant editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley and a host of designers. Rather than just concentrate on the Gallianos, Lagerfelds and Nina Riccis the film instead gives attention to up-and-coming designer Thakoon Panichgul, something of a Vogue protege.

The September Issue draws tension from the ever approaching deadline and the enormity of the task at hand. Even those who know nothing about, and have a fear of, fashion could not help but to be entranced by its innate drama and the wonderment of a world spent jet setting and working around the clock. Those looking for a cutting expose of the fashion world won't find it here. This is neither a hatchet job on the Vogue team nor a cuddly biography. It is no spoiler to say that Wintour remains as icy and aloof at the end as she did at the beginning. What is different is that the film dispels the notion of her as a devil and replaces it with one of a woman so driven by perfectionist ideals that she doesn't suffer fools, in fact she barely suffers anybody!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The September Issue was shot on high definition digital video at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It comes to DVD in an approximation of that ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

The colours are strong and stable which is a blessing for a film about fashion. As much as Wintour bemoans the lack of colour in 2007 fashion, there is still enough on show here to entrance the eye.

The flesh tones are accurate and there are no technical problems with the transfer. Despite the sheer volume of video material (90 minutes of extras) I didn't detect any compression problems. Digital noise is light.

The transfer is sharp and well balanced and composed.

There are no actual subtitles apart from a few situations where they have been inserted to assist in the translation of another language on the fashion jaunts to Paris and Rome.

A pleasing transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
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Audio

    The September Issue carries an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack running at 224 kb/s.

This is perfectly fine for a film that consists of impromptu interviews and fly-on-the-wall observances. The interview footage can be heard clearly and the other voice work is fine except where the heavily accented designers start to speak in that high pitched way that reflects their heart-in-mouth experience as Anna enters the room not to mention the Vogue staff who spend a lot of time whispering in corridors.

The music is put together by Craig Richey.

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

Extras

There are two extras on this DVD.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (1.32.45)

A wealth of deleted and extended scenes is included here. Thirty-two snippets are presented which flesh out some of the minor characters and give fashion lovers a chance to attend a heap more private showings - Lagerfeld, Vera Wang, Galliano and lots more Thakoon.

Fans of the film will find this full of treasures. My favourite bits? The scenes of huddled, whispering staff preparing to present Anna with their thoughts on the accessories to be included in the issue. It was reminiscent of Roman Senators about to give some bad news to Caligula! Oh, and another - when Lagerfeld explains to Anna that he wants to have a separate shop to sell reduced price items so that those people paying full price don't have to mix with the bargain hunters. The look on her face is priceless!

Theatrical Trailer (2.25)

A pumped up trailer, perhaps suggesting that the film is more meaty and high-octane than the actual product.

R4 vs R1

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

   This DVD is the same in all Regions. According to limited information the Region 1 may have the extras on a separate DVD. I didn't notice any compression problems with the material on a dual layer DVD.

Summary

  A love of fashion is not necessary to enjoy The September Issue but there is no doubt that fashion lovers will get the most from this in-depth look at the blood, sweat and tears it takes to put together such a mammoth magazine.

The DVD transfer quality is fine and the extras have enough swirling fabric to keep the most discerning clothes horse happy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Friday, February 12, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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