H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Bed Sitting Room [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Lester, 1969)

 

Offered as a Dual Format edition October 24th, 2011

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Oscar Lewenstein Productions / United Artists

Video: BFI Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:01.693

Disc Size: 39,900,558,500 bytes

Feature Size: 20,553,384,576 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.84 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 25th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Archival interviews with Richard Lester (1967, 17:47), Spike Milligan (1967, 42:07) and Peter Cook (1967, 31:48) all in HD!
Original Trailer (3:15)
• 26-page illustrated booklet with essay by Michael Brooke (BFI Sight and Sound contributor) and original review and promotional material.

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

This vividly imagined, darkly satirical filmic version of a post apocalyptic England, directed by Richard Lester ( A Hard Days Night, How I Won the War, The Knack) is based on the highly regarded play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus. It also boasts great performances by the cream of 60s British comedy and acting talent: Rita Tushingham, Ralph Richardson, Peter Cook, Harry Secombe, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Michael Horden, Roy Kinnear, Arthur Lowe, Dandy Nichols and Marty Feldman.

 

 

The Film:

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

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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'.

 

 

 

Extras :

Supplements consistent 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).

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had seen The Bed Sitting Room probably over 20-years ago but it made no where near the impact of seeing it on Blu-ray. Suffice to say you don't run across films like this everyday and it's evolved such a charming, campy, appeal. I thoroughly enjoyed it - especially in the glory of 1080P! BFI are producing some fabulous Blu-rays and, as the list piles up with Antonioni and Pasolini, gives one enough reason to consider going to a Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player if you are currently 'A'-locked. This Blu-ray is highly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

May 27th, 2009

Offered as a Dual Format edition October 24th, 2011


 

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 HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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