Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

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Released 14-May-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
dts Trailer-Piano
Featurette-Whether You Like It Or Not, The Story Of Hedwig
Audio Commentary-John Cameron Mitchell (Act/Writ/Dir) & Frank DeMarco (DoP)
Music Highlights
Theatrical Trailer
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Deleted Scenes-2
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 87:48 (Case: 89)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Cameron Mitchell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Cameron Mitchell
Stephen Trask
Miriam Shor
Andrea Martin
Alberta Watson
Maurice Dean Wint
Gene Pyrz
Michael Pitt
Rob Campbell
Michael Aranov
Theodore Liscinski
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Stephen Trask


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Titling
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a rock musical about a struggling transsexual punk rock musician who is looking for recognition and the origin of love.

    Hedwig grew up in Communist East Berlin but fled to the west just before the wall came down. To make this journey to the west, Hedwig married an American military officer and underwent a sex change operation. Shortly after moving to Kansas with her husband, Hedwig finds herself alone, with no source of income, and living in a trailer park. Hedwig eventually forms a post-punk glam rock band and begins performing some small shows. During these performances she meets Tommy, a young local man, and together they write numerous songs and quickly build a relationship. Together they achieve some level of success but Tommy eventually leaves Hedwig and embarks on a solo career taking the songs with him. This is the basis of a lawsuit by Hedwig after Tommy rises to fame and he achieves huge commercial success.

    The character of Hedwig was originally created by John Cameron Mitchell, working closely with Stephen Trask who wrote the original music for the show. Together they developed a successful off-Broadway stage production that eventually received wide critical acclaim. This movie is closely based upon that successful play and was written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell who also plays the lead role of Hedwig. This is a highly entertaining film with memorable musical numbers that will appeal to a wide range of viewers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is consistently sharp throughout with high levels of detail displayed at all times. The shadow detail displayed is always of excellent quality with high levels of detail visible during the numerous dark scenes. No low-level noise was detected at any stage during the transfer.

    The majority of the transfer displays an accurate, natural looking colour palette that is vibrant and well saturated at all times. During the sequences depicting East Berlin, the film is intentionally treated to produce a slightly washed-out image with an obvious slight blue tint. This colour choice works well and helps emphasise the differences between the free West and the controlled East.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    A small number of minor aliasing artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 9:33, 41:17 and 68:06, but these are never distracting to the viewer.

    A very small number of film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 6:00, 17:02, 56:16 and 83:17. All of these artefacts are very minor and are unlikely to be detected by most viewers. During the East German scenes some obvious film grain may be seen but this is never distracting to the viewer.

    Three sets of white subtitles are provided on this disc. The first set of subtitles is engaged automatically and is used to display numerous locations and to translate a small number of scenes containing German language dialogue. A complete set of English and Greek subtitles are also provided. I viewed both English streams and found them to be consistently accurate and easy to read at all times.

    This disc places the movie and extras on separate layers and consequently no layer change is detectable by the viewer.

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

Audio

    Three different audio tracks are provided for the main feature. The default audio mix is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 448 kbps soundtrack. An English dts 768 kbps half bitrate track and English Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 surround mix are also included. I listened to all tracks in full and found them all to be of high quality. I personally found the dts track to display slightly improved bass and channel separation when compared directly to the 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but the differences were minimal.

    The dialogue and lyrics during each track are always clear and easy to understand at all times. No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    The original songs heard during the movie were written by Stephen Trask and were performed live by John Cameron Mitchell during the shooting of the film. These tracks effectively help to tell Hedwig's story and feature some memorable lyrics.

    The surround channels were utilised extensively during the transfer and help to create an enveloping soundfield. This mix works very well and helps to recreate the live performances portrayed in the film.

    The subwoofer channel was used throughout the transfer to effectively support the musical numbers and an occasional effect.

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

Extras

Menu

    The animated menus are presented at an aspect ratio of either 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 depending upon player setup.

Feature Length Commentary

    Writer/director and actor John Cameron Mitchell and director of photography Frank DeMarco provide this scene specific feature length commentary. During this track they discuss locations, the animated sequences, the songs, various shots and the film's relationship to the original stage production.

Whether You Like It Or Not - The Story of Hedwig (85:27)

    This is an interesting documentary on the making of the film that also examines the origin of the stage production and the character of Hedwig. This extra includes some very interesting archival footage from some of the first live performances as well as numerous interviews with people involved with the production. This extra is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

Deleted Scenes

    This section contains two groups of deleted scenes that are provided both with the original production audio and a commentary by John Cameron Mitchell. The first collection (10:27) contains three extended versions of scenes from the film as well as a flashback that was deleted from the movie. The second group (1:39) contains two takes from the film showing a young Hansel dancing on his bed. Both of these sections are presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and they are 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15)

    This trailer is presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Cast and Crew Filmographies

    Complete filmographies are provided for the following cast and crew members: John Cameron Mitchell, Stephen Trask, Miriam Shor, Andrea Martin, Alberta Watson, Maurice Dean Wint, Gene Pyrz, Michael Pitt, Rob Campbell, Michael Aranov and Theodore Liscinski.

Select a Song

    This extra allows the viewer to jump directly to any of the nine tracks from the film and to also play all tracks in a single block.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions of this film appear to be identical and I therefore would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a very entertaining film that will appeal to all fans of punk rock, musicals, theatrical productions and rock operas.

    The excellent quality transfer displays almost no artefacts and is near-faultless.

    The range of mixes will allow the viewer to experience this production with the highest quality audio reproduction.

    The disc includes a highly entertaining feature length documentary and commentary that provides some excellent insight into the development of this project and will be appreciated by all fans of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Saturday, June 29, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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