Barefoot in the Park (1967)
|Category||Romantic Comedy||Theatrical Trailer-3:05|
|Year Of Production||1967|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:42)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Gene Saks|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
A lot of romantic comedies end when the couple get together and decide to get married (big kiss, roll credits, everyone goes home happy). This one starts with the couple kissing passionately in a horse drawn carriage on their way to the Plaza Hotel, New York, for their honeymoon. But then, no one ever accused Neil Simon of lacking originality.
This is the tale of a young couple, newly married, setting up house together. He is Paul Bratter (Robert Redford), a young lawyer arguing his first case. She is Corie Bratter (Jane Fonda), a young wife, trying to make a home out of a small apartment up six long flights of stairs. There are elements to this story that make me think of the sitcom Dharma and Greg - I wonder if the sitcom creators were inspired by this film?
It wouldn't be a Neil Simon play (he wrote the play, saw it produced on Broadway - starring Redford and Fonda - then turned it into a screenplay for this film) if there weren't some odd twists. Perhaps the oddest is their upstairs neighbour, Victor Velasco (Charles Boyer), a somewhat eccentric man, given to accessing his apartment by going through their apartment, out the bedroom window, and up the facade of the building. Such a character requires someone more conventional to play against, and that is Corie's mother, Ethel Banks (Mildred Natwick).
This film was made in 1967, but people haven't changed enough to invalidate the story. There are one or two things that seem a little strange 35 years on - the idea of a Plaza Hotel room being $30 a day (and that's considered expensive!) is amusing. It's interesting that they haven't heard of ouzo (they pronounce it "oozoo", which sounds dreadful) - I guess we're a bit more cosmopolitan these days. There's a lot of drinking.
Not an awful lot happens, but it's entertaining. It's a pleasant light romantic comedy - I liked it enough to order it from Region 1 when it was released. Now it's available in Region 4.
This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so this is close.
The image is good for the age of the film - not razor sharp, but clear enough. Shadow detail is only fair, with some darker colours falling off into black. Overall, the picture seems a little dark. There's no low-level noise, but there's constant light film grain.
Colour is affected by the age of the film, although it is hard to put a finger on exactly what's off. The colours aren't exactly faded (there are some nice bright colours, especially on some of Jane Fonda's clothes), but it's as though the whole film has darkened a little. It doesn't stop us enjoying the film, though.
The film is 35 years old. For that age, the level of film artefacts is perfectly acceptable. In fact, the level of film artefacts is rather low for a film of this age, and the artefacts are almost all tiny (flecks and spots). There's a vertical line (probably a scratch) at 19:50, and a white blob at 20:34.
There's some minor aliasing, but it's barely noticeable. More disturbing is the haloing of foreground images due to edge enhancement - it's not terribly ugly, but I found it a bit distracting. There are no MPEG artefacts.
There are subtitles in eight languages, including English. The English subtitles are well-timed, accurate, and quite legible.
The disc is single-sided, RSDL. The layer change is at 55:42. It's not the greatest layer change you've ever seen, but it's not awful, and it is placed at the end of a scene.
The soundtrack is provided in four languages; English, Spanish, French, Italian. The English is in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono - that's what I listened to.
The dialogue is comprehensible, although a few lines sound wrong - they lack ambience (poor ADR, I think). There are few audio sync problems, although there's some sloppy ADR at 36:39.
The score from Neal Hefti is pleasant, and quite appropriate.
As it's a mono soundtrack, your surrounds and subwoofer aren't called upon.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static and silent, and quite simple.
A long trailer (3:05) with a brash American voice-over. It's presented in wide-screen, but not 16x9 enhanced.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc was released in 1999. It has exactly the same features as our R4 disc, except for the languages, but the R1 is single layer, whereas our R4 is RSDL. You'd expect that to imply our transfer is less compressed, and better looking. Sad to say, even though our disc seems to have a higher average bitrate for the video, the two look very similar. Maybe that implies that the limiting factor is the source material, and our R4 just has more accurate reproduction of the flaws?
Anyway, the two discs are very much similar in quality. You can readily be satisfied with either.
A good romantic comedy on a decent DVD.
The video quality is good enough.
The audio quality is fine, for a mono soundtrack.
The extra is as basic as they come.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|