Diana-The People's Princess/Diana-Her Life (1997)

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Released 24-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Animation
Featurette-Poignant Moments (18:05)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 178:46 (Case: 198)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Nigel Turner
Andy Stevenson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Diana Princess of Wales
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Debbie Wiseman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
English Titling
French Titling
German Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    With the recent passage of the fifth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, it seems an appropriate time for reissue on DVD of some of the programming made after her unfortunate and untimely death in Paris. This DVD contains two of those programmes, both originating from the Independent Television Network in the United Kingdom.

    The first is entitled Diana - The People's Princess and contains a potted summation of her life, predominantly as a public figure, from the time of her engagement to His Royal Horsing-around-ness Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales at the age of 19. Whilst there is a modicum of her story prior to that time, most of what this shorter programme contains is from the engagement through to the crash that killed her and her subsequent funeral. This takes pretty much the form of a narrated documentary.

    The second is entitled Diana - Her Story and focuses a little more on her life prior to becoming the most recognisable person in the world, and thankfully does not progress through the tragic events of Paris and the funeral. This effort is more based upon the personal recollections of friends and acquaintances.

    Naturally there is a fair degree of overlap here, and there is footage common to both programmes, but due to the different nature of the presentations this is not exactly a problem. There is, of course, little new here for devotees, who have devoured every morsel of information about the young lady who lived the dream, and the nightmare, of becoming a princess. However, for those with a yearning to remember this wonderful addition to the Royal Family, who to a very large extent shoved their noses in the air at her it seems, this is a nice, and permanent, reminder of what a woman she was.

    The tragedy is of course that rather embracing this wonderful addition, the Royal Family did seem to shun the opportunity to have some relevance in the later years of the old millennium and certainly into the new millennium. It also highlights the appalling tastes of His Royal Horsing-around-ness with respect of women. Quite how he could toss aside Diana and jump beds to Her Royal Mistress Camilla remains one of the great mysteries of the Twentieth Century. One of the other great questions is how Prince Harry reacts to the knowledge that his father was less than enthusiastic over the fact that he was Harry rather than Harriette. The Windsors might be hot on longevity as far as reigns are concerned, but unfortunately they lack monarchs of great integrity. Sadly, on the evidence of Diana's life, the last great monarch was Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother... Just one point of note: the narration in the second programme insists on calling Diana's father and the family estate Althrop rather than Althorp.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Since these programmes were, in the main, produced quickly after her death, and were to a large extent reliant upon television-derived material, there are some occasional issues with quality to be found here. However these Full Frame programmes, which are obviously not 16x9 enhanced, are quite acceptable.

    In broad terms, the transfers are quite sharp and display pretty good detail, especially the specially recorded interview material. Just be aware that some of the source material is not of too high a quality and so some variation in the standard has to be endured. Sometimes grain becomes quite an issue, but these bouts are generally quite short and as such are not especially intrusive. Shadow detail could perhaps have been better but is acceptable enough given the nature of the source material. There is no real indication of low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours display a wide variation befitting the source material, but the interview material is generally very well saturated and quite vibrant. While the source material could do with significant improvement, that is not going to happen. Given the nature and source of the whole programme, I find nothing objectionable here.

    The only issue as far as MPEG artefacts are concerned is some very slight pixelisation in the picture, an example being at 9:39 in the first programme on the disc. The main issue in the transfers is with some modest aliasing or shimmer throughout. None of this is in itself disturbing but the cumulative effect is a little too much to ignore. Examples can be found in the first programme at 39:02, 39:53 and 73:48, whilst in the second programme at 10:01, 11:01 and 72:35. The second programme is perhaps slightly the worse of the two. There is also some moiré artefacting that is just a tad too obvious at 16:58 in the second programme. There are film artefacts present throughout the transfer but nearly all these are inherent in the source material, and to be expected given the unrestored nature of that material. None of the problems are that distracting.

    This is a Dual Layer DVD it seems, with one programme on each layer, since no layer change was detected.

    There are three subtitle options on the DVD, and the English efforts are generally very accurate with just a few failings here and there. There are also three titling options available in the same languages as the subtitles.

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

Audio

    There are three soundtracks on the DVD, being Dolby Digital 2.0 efforts in English, French and German. Since my French and German are pretty darn rusty, I felt it wise to stick to the English soundtrack.

    The narration and dialogue comes up well in the transfer and there are no real problems with understanding everything. There is no issue with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original music is created to Debbie Wiseman for Diana - Her Life. There is no apparent credit for Diana - The People's Princess. None of the music is that memorable, doing just what it needs to do to fill in the occasional lack of narration and add suitable poignancy to the programme.

    Nothing to worry about as far as the sound is concerned - no surround activity, no LFE activity and no obvious glitches other than those that are inherent in the source material.

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

Extras

    Not an awful lot here, but then again the length of the programmes would tend to mitigate against anything substantial.

Menu

    Nice in presentation, with just a smidgen of animation.

Featurette - Poignant Moments (18:05)

    Something a bit different to spice things up. These are nine news item taken from television broadcasts, the topics being: Engagement announcement (1:44), Birth of Prince William (2:05), AIDS Hospice visit (1:17), Funeral of Earl Spencer (1:50), Divorce finalisation (2:45), Land mines row (2:31), Charity dress auction (1:54), Return of her body to England (1:12) and Funeral cortège (2:47). Since they were for television broadcast, they are presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced, and comes with acceptable Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing much awry technically, and an interestingly different inclusion.

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 ascertain, the two titles making up this DVD have not been released in Region 1. There is a DVD release called Diana People's Princess, but from what I can find out this is about one hour or less in length, which would mean that it is a different programme from that which is included here.

Summary

    Diana: The People's Princess is the obligatory anniversary re-issue of a couple of programmes about one of the most well-recognised women of the last three decades. As such, this will appeal to the many people who remain to this day fascinated with the beautiful young woman who became a fairy-tale princess. The quality of the video transfer is not exactly top grade but is more than acceptable given the origins of much of the material included. One day someone might be able to explain to me why this manages an M rating - mystifies the heck out of me.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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