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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


My Brilliant Career [Blu-ray]


(Gillian Armstrong, 1979)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: New South Wales Film Corp.

Video: Blue Underground



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:38.973

Disc Size: 24,462,764,806 bytes

Feature Size: 22,210,560,000 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.22 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 23rd, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1931 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 1931 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital EX Audio English 448 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none



• Commentary by Director Gillian Armstrong
Interview with Director Gillian Armstrong (8:15 in SD)
Interview with Producer Margaret Fink (8:31 in SD)
Cannes Film Festival Premiere
The Miles Franklin Story (4:04 in SD)





Description: This is the film that became a worldwide sensation and remains perhaps the most beloved and acclaimed romantic epic of all time! Oscar-nominee Judy Davis (A PASSAGE TO INDIA, MARIE ANTOINETTE) made her international breakthrough debut as Sybylla Melvyn, a free-spirited young writer who refuses to conform to society's expectations of how a 'proper woman' should live her life. Sam Neill (JURASSIC PARK, THE PIANO) co-stars as the wealthy suitor who tries to win her restless heart in this Oscar-nominated classic directed by Gillian Armstrong (LITTLE WOMEN, STARSTRUCK).



The Film:

"My Brilliant Career" marks the beginning of exactly that for both the film's daring, assured, high-spirited Australian director, Gillian Armstrong, and its rambunctious young star. Adapted from a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, it offers a turn-of-the-century heroine who seems to have wandered from the pages of a Louisa May Alcott novel into the Australian Outback, where her buoyant sense of mischief takes on the same grand dimensions as the exotic, perpetually surprising terrain.

Sybylla Melvyn (played by Judy Davis, making her movie debut) is supposed to be plain. And she's sufficiently strange-looking, by movie-star standards, to strike the viewer as being something less than a ravishing beauty. But that effect lasts only a short while — only for as long as it takes to realize that Miss Davis brings an unconventional vigor to every scene she's in, even in a film that's as consistently animated as this one. Her Sybylla is a coltish creature, creating a merry chaos wherever she goes.

Because her mother has been married badly, Sybylla grows up in relatively impoverished surroundings. Then, at the age of 18 or so, she is sent to live with her wealthy grandmother, who is no great advocate of sprightly behavior. Nevertheless, Sybylla flourishes, especially after making the acquaintance of handsome Harry, the most eligible bachelor in the area. If this sounds like the backdrop for something like "The Thorn Birds," well, it plays a bit like an extravagantly old-fashioned romance, too. Sybylla, who has been well warned that someone like Harry (Sam Neill) can never marry someone like her, continues to defy social convention, with her flashing eyes and her wicked smile and her propensity for starting pillow fights in the middle of the afternoon. After a very sweet and feisty courtship, she lands Harry anyhow.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE



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

My Brilliant Career appears to be another successful transfer to Blu-ray by distributor Blue Underground.  The image quality shows some intense texture. It is hard not to confuse this with digital noise at times but I strongly suspect that it is thick grain. Personally, I really like the look and suspect that it appeared quite similar to this theatrically over 30 years ago.  This is only single-layered but colors looked dramatically brighter and richer than SD could produce - and there is a bit of depth. Detail is not pristine but some close-ups can impress. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel that I greatly appreciate. It's a perfect fit for the, often underappreciated, film.

















Audio :

The surround separation of the DTS-HD Master 7.1 at 1931 kbps is subtle and at times deceptive. Rain, horse noises, birds and other passive elements reach the rear speakers. Nathan Waks does a great score encapsulating the film's emotions and beautiful scenery. It sounds wonderful in the lossless track. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the last DVD but I think the excellent Gillian Armstrong commentary is new (I've never heard it anyway). Regardless, she is a real pleasure to listen to. She talks of production, Judy Davis (she had a 100 girls read for the part - but no one was close to Judy), her appreciation of producer Margaret Fink - all with passion in her voice just under the surface. She was frank about being very nervous - this her first feature film. There are the older DVDs interviews with 8-minutes further with Director Gillian Armstrong and 8.5 with Producer Margaret Fink. There is some brief Cannes Film Festival Premiere and The Miles Franklin Story running only 4-minutes in SD.



This is such a good film and the Blu-ray is very well priced. I doubt we're going to see it looking any better and I whole-heartedly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

November 24th, 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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