H D - S E L E C T

A view on HD DVDs by Yunda Eddie Feng


Introduction: Hello, Beaver readers! I became a serious cineophile in 1994 when I saw Schindler's List on my birthday. I realized that movies weren't just for fun--they could be serious art, too (even mainstream popcorn flicks if they're made with skill). Although I have a BA in English, I went to grad school for an MA in Film Studies. There, I met my mentor Dr. Warren Buckland, who shares my interest in Steven Spielberg's artistry (Spielberg and art aren't mutually exclusive). I helped edit Dr. Buckland's book Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster. I also contributed a chapter to Dr. Buckland's forthcoming anthology of essays about "complex storytelling" movies--movies that avoid classical linear storylines in favor of temporal disruptions, unreliable narrators, metatheatrical/"self-aware" references, etc.

Eddie's Home Theatre:
Sharp 30-inch LCD TV (1280x768 resolution)
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player
Oppo OPDV971H SD-DVD player
Pioneer 7.1 DD/DTS receiver
Harmon Kardon speakers (5.1)

(I'm using the HD-A2's optical audio connection to obtain DTS 5.1 downmixes.)

Yunda Eddie Feng












Scent of a Woman HD-DVD

(Martin Brest, 1992)


Universal (USA)

1.85:1 1080p

157 minutes

Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 2.0 French

Subtitles: Optional English SDH, French

Extras: My Scenes

Released: 24 July 2007

HD-DVD case

16 chapters


The Film: Scent of a Woman, a glorified father-son buddy film with a needlessly sensitive title, offers Al Pacino the kind of opportunity actors dream about.  As Lieut. Col. Frank Slade, a corrosively bitter military man who has been blinded (quite literally) by his own stupidity, Mr. Pacino roars through this story with show-stopping intensity. Bo Goldman’s screenplay provides him with a string of indelible wisecracks, and Martin Brest’s direction allows room for the character to be developed at great length.  Mr. Pacino’s contribution, in the sort of role for which Oscar nominations were made, is to remind viewers that a great American actor is too seldom on the screen.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin of the New York Times located HERE



Universal has been hit-and-miss with its catalog titles, so you’re never really quite sure what to expect.  Fortunately, Scent of a Woman is in good condition.  The 1.85:1 1080p picture makes the American Northeast and New York City look gorgeous and inviting.  You’ll notice a fine layer of film grain for most of the running time, though the grain looks natural and isn’t intrusive.



As with most dramas given 5.1 mixes, this movie has a sound design that is biased towards the front speakers with most activity located in the center channel.  The DD Plus 5.1 English track is clean and efficient but low-key.  When the characters take a Ferrari for a whirl, the subwoofer provides some oomph, though the rear speakers are basically absent.


You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 2.0 French dub.  Optional English SDH and French subtitles support the audio.



Yep, you guessed it...


“My Scenes”!  (You can bookmark your favorite scenes, though this is a fairly common feature on Universal HD-DVDs.)




An insert advertises other Universal HD-DVDs.








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