An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

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Released 8-Jun-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary-Taylor Hackford (Director)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 119:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Taylor Hackford
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Gere
Debra Winger
David Keith
Robert Loggia
Lisa Blount
Lisa Eilbacher
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Jack Nitzsche


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/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 English
French
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Italian
Spanish
Italian Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, freeze frame over last scene

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

Plot Synopsis

    An Officer and a Gentleman is a curious film, containing a mixture of a typical boot camp movie (satirised to perfection over the intervening years with films such as Police Academy) coupled with a love story set against a drama of two people with troubled backgrounds who end up getting what they want/yearned for because of their integrity. I remember liking it quite a fair bit when I first saw it in the cinema nearly twenty years ago and I've seen it quite a few times on television since then.

    The plot revolves around Zachary Mayo (Richard Gere), son of a Navy sailor who grew up in the Philippines with his father after his mother died (we find out why later in the film). As he reaches adulthood, he decides to make something out of his life by joining the Navy officer training programme so that he can have a chance at becoming an aviator and achieve his dream of flying jets.

    Despite his tendency to be a loner and somewhat of a social misfit, he gradually makes friends with some of his classmates, including Sid Worley (David Keith) and Casey Seeger (Lisa Eilbacher). Their common nemesis is their drill sergeant Emil Foley (a dramatic performance that won Louis Gossett, Jr. an Oscar for best supporting actor) who is tough on the officer candidates and yet we sense he is not quite the martinet that he pretends to be.

    In the meantime, two friends working in a paper factory - Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger) and Lynette Pomeroy (Lisa Blount) are also chasing dreams of their own - to fall in love and to marry a successful graduate of the officer training programme to become a Navy wife. The rest of the film is about how each of the major characters play out the scenario of achieving their dreams, and the consequences of some of their actions.

    We get the feeling that what the characters are going through is part of a repeating historical pattern - the navy base is full of stories of officer candidates who did not make it through the 13 week training for various reasons, and the town has long memories and broken hearts of girls dumped by their Navy lovers straight after graduation. So, can any of the characters break through the pattern?

    I won't spoil the ending except to say that I am not ashamed to admit that I love it! Critics have slammed the ending as fairy-tale, unrealistic and anti-feminist, but I don't care. It really wants to make me stand up and cheer with tears in my eyes and in my opinion very much turns the whole story from being about Zack to being about Paula.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a rather pleasing video transfer, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement. Pleasing mainly because the film source is rather clean for a film almost 20 years old and I can detect no obvious instances of film-to-video artefacts.

    In general, sharpness levels are not too bad for a film of it's age, but they do not compare favourably to recent releases. The detail in particular is rather impressive - for example at around 10:25-10:40, I can just make out the texture of the material of Sergeant Foley's uniform.

    Shadow detail is mediocre, but at least the black levels appear black and not dark grey. The beginning of the film, in particular when Zack is in the early morning shadows looking at his father sleeping with two girls does not exhibit good shadow detail.

    Similarly, the colour saturation of the transfer probably matches the original film source rather well, which means faithfully reproducing the rather gritty and slightly subdued colours typical of films of this period. The scenes of Zack in the Philippines at the beginning of the film are yellow-tinged, but this is intentional.

    This disc comes with a rather large collection of subtitle tracks, including subtitle tracks for the audio commentary in several languages. I turned on the English subtitle track. It features about average levels of accuracy (i.e. a few minor goofs here and there, but no real howlers.)

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL) and the layer change occurs at 58:36 in Chapter 8 just before a scene change. The pause and the lack of dialogue/background noise at this point makes the layer change rather noticeable.

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

Audio

    There are four language tracks on this disc, all in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kb/s: English, French, Italian and Spanish. In addition, there is an English commentary track, also in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kb/s. I listened to the English soundtrack and commentary track.

    Although the soundtrack is in mono, I was pleasantly surprised by the fidelity and quality of the audio track. It is not in the least bit 'boomy' (i.e. with an emphasized midrange and rolled off low and high ends). In fact, I originally thought it must be a remixed stereo track. Music in particular comes across with reasonable body and presence.

    Dialogue was pretty clear throughout, except during the training run scenes where it was a bit difficult trying to make out what the characters are trying to say to one another as they try to shout above the rest of the troops who are singing as they run. There are no audio synchronisation issues.

    The music of this film features a combination of original music by Jack Nitzsche (including the famous title track "Up Where We Belong" sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes that climbed up music charts all over the world) and rock and roll songs, including a fairly lengthy excerpt from Tunnel Of Love by Dire Straits (one of my favourite songs, and I noticed in the audio commentary also a personal favourite of director Taylor Hackford).

    As this is a mono soundtrack, the surround speakers and subwoofer were not engaged.



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

Extras

    This disc is not exactly brimming with extras, which is rather surprising since I remembered the film was rather popular in its day and probably deserved the "Special Edition" treatment. The major supplemental apart from the Theatrical Trailer is a Director's Commentary track.

    The menus (as well as the cover art) are rather boring, static and unappetising, but at least feature 16x9 enhancement.

Theatrical Trailer (2:26)

    This is presented in 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement and with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound. The film source shows signs of deterioration, including flickering at the beginning of the trailer and moderate amounts of graininess.

Audio Commentary

    This is a rather engaging Director's Commentary by Taylor Hackford. Taylor talks for virtually the entire two hour duration of the film, and reveals rather interesting tidbits about the actors and actresses, production and behind-the-scene anecdotes, as well commentary on the scenes themselves. I was intrigued to find out that many of the nice detail touches that really rounded out the film for me - such as the fleshing out of the personalities of some of the minor characters - were unscripted. Some scenes were partially improvised.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can tell, both Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this title have identical content apart from trifling details such as foreign language tracks, subtitle tracks and menu language selection. Therefore I would say both versions are about equal, apart from NTSC/PAL formatting and PAL speed-up.

Summary

    An Officer And A Gentleman is a classic Hollywood eighties romantic drama that was surprisingly popular in its day. It has stood the test of time rather well, and is presented on a DVD with above average video and audio transfers (within the limitations of the aging source material). The major extra is an Audio Commentary track that is well worth listening to.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, July 04, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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