The Bed Sitting Room [Blu-ray]
(Richard Lester, 1969)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Oscar Lewenstein Productions / United Artists
Video:BFI Home Video
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 39,900,558,500 bytes
Feature Size: 20,553,384,576 bytes
Average Bitrate: 28.84 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 25th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
• Archival interviews with Richard Lester (1967, 17:47),
Spike Milligan (1967, 42:07) and Peter Cook (1967, 31:48) all in HD!
Description: In the hazy aftermath of World War III, the
fallout from a 'nuclear misunderstanding' (which lasted two
minutes and twenty eight seconds, including the signing of
the peace treaty) is producing strange mutations amongst the
survivors, and the noble Lord Fortnum finds himself
transforming into a bed sitting room.
In 1968, United Artists gave Richard Lester a million-dollar budget and a free rein, out of which he made what must have been the most noncommercial film he could imagine. In the aftermath of World War III (which lasts for 2 minutes and 28 seconds), Sir Ralph Richardson finds himself mutating into a furnished apartment, Rita Tushingham gives birth to something or other, the BBC makes house calls, the British middle class spends its dying days riding in circles through the remains of the Underground, and civil defense officers Peter Cook and Dudley Moore periodically descend from a balloon to exhort the populace to "Keep moving! Keep moving!" Lester, not too surprisingly, didn't work again for five years, but this 1969 feature is one of his best efforts, a remarkably sharp and deadly satire.Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE
I totally fell in love with this unconventional film and pure, untainted image rendered to 1080P. Detail is not exceptional but the film's 40-year-old visuals are thick with textured grain. This Blu-ray image looks so 'realistic' to me with a coarseness, at times, that resembles fabric. It is, however, never as 'dusty' or 'hazy' as I was anticipating. Colors are lively and true. It's really quite delightful and I've come to appreciate vintage films appearing this way on Blu-ray. Although I haven't seen the corresponding DVD - its obvious that SD certainly can't relate this type of patterned surface that keeps the grain structure intact. It is consistently even and the gloss-less image looks to have had a thorough cleaning with not a hint of damage. The feature takes up over 20 Gig of the dual-layered disc and there doesn't appear to be any intrusive DNR or edge enhancements. I really got the sense that I was looking at this in one of it's purest forms. Could we have all our favorite cinema looking like this! Great job BFI!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
No boost going on here - it's a straight linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps. There isn't much demonstrative going on in regards to effects - nor with Ken Thorne's score. Like the image though I had a feeling this was authentic and strongly representative of the film's original presentation. I found no reasons to complain with no dropouts or pops interfering with the aural presentation. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu identifies the disc as being region-locked to 'B'.
Supplementsconsistent of three archival interviews with Richard Lester (1967, 17 minutes), Spike Milligan (1967, 40 minutes) and Peter Cook (1967, 30 minutes) all in HD! One has to admit how 'cool' these guys are/were back then. It was a real pleasure to listen to these impressive, intelligent, philosophical, political and humor-filled craftsmen. There is an original trailer and BFI have included a 26-page illustrated booklet with an excellent essay by Michael Brooke, an original review, a piece on Richard Lester and some photos and past promotional material (the cover appears to be a poster for The Bed Sitting Room).
May 27th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Gary W. Tooze