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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
My Brilliant Career [Blu-ray]
(Gillian Armstrong, 1979)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: New South Wales Film Corp.
Video: Blue Underground / Criterion Collection - Spine # 973
Region: FREE!/ Region 'A' / 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:39:38.973 / 1:40:11.547
Disc Size: 24,462,764,806 bytes / 48,393,632,373 bytes
Feature Size: 22,210,560,000 bytes / 30,395,867,136 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.22 Mbps / 36.06 Mbps
Chapters: 28 / 13
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: November 23rd, 2009 / April 30th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 / 1.85:1
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
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps /
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none
English (SDH), none
• Commentary by Director Gillian Armstrong
Audio commentary from 2009 featuring Armstrong
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).
For her award-winning breakthrough film, director Gillian Armstrong drew on teenage author Miles Franklin’s novel, a celebrated turn-of-the-twentieth-century Australian coming-of-age story, to brashly upend the conventions of period romance. Headstrong young Sybylla Melvyn (Judy Davis, in a star-making performance), bemoans her stifling life in the backcountry, where her writerly ambitions receive little encouragement, and craves independence above all else. When a handsome landowner (Sam Neill), disarmed by her unruly charms, begins to court her, Sybylla must decide whether she can reconcile the prospect of marriage with the illustrious life’s work she has imagined for herself. Suffused with generous humor and a youthful appetite for experience, My Brilliant Career is a luminous portrait of an ardently free spirit.
"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.
My Brilliant Career appears on Blu-ray by distributor Blue Underground. The image quality shows some texture. It is hard not to confuse this with scanner noise at times. It is flat with little depth and cool skin tones. This is only single-layered but colors look brighter than SD. Detail is not pristine but some close-ups can show detail exported by the high resolution. This Blu-ray seems competent until we can compare it to another release. It seems to suit this, often underappreciated, film.
Criterion have listed this as a new 2K digital restoration, approved by director Gillian Armstrong. Wow, what a difference there is between this release and the 2009 Blue Underground. The now 1.85:1 HD image is carried by a maxed out bitrate. Blue Underground's 1.78:1 seems to be opened up in the bastardized aspect ratio. What were once somewhat uniformly placid greens, are now deep and lush. Flesh tones look much more realistic and though the level of detail within the frame hasn't changed too much, the contrast shows deeper ranges for blacks. That thick grain that was on the Blue Underground is also here, though more pronounced, giving the film a more theatrical appearance. One only needs to look at the compared screen captures to identify the significant differences.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray
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.
"My Brilliant Career" gets a lovely 24-bit 1.0 linear PCM audio track for this new release from Criterion. Nathan Waks' score sounds pleasing, authentically flat but subtly surrounded by the various ambient noises such as rain, birds, etc. There are optional English SDH subtitles on this region 'A' Blu-ray (in North America) and REgion 'B' (Uk/ Europe).
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.
Criterion has included the director's commentary that appeared on the 2009 Blue Underground disc. There is a brand new 25-minute interview with director Gillian Armstrong, filmed in 2018 by the Criterion Collection. The director talks about the way "My Brilliant Career" has shaped her path in film. "Judy Davis" is a 25-minute segment from the April 10, 1980 episode of the French television series 'Cine Regards'. Actor Davis shares her thoughts about self-expression through acting and the limits of the cinematic medium. There is a 14-minute brand new interview with Luciana Arrighi, in which the production designer talks about her first collaboration with director Gillian Armstrong, on "My Brilliant Career". The 8-minute "One Hundred a Day" was directed by Armstrong during her last year as a student at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 1973. The short film is set in the 1930s, focusing on a young woman's long day working in a factory after having a secret abortion.
Blue Underground - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray
"My Beautiful Career" is a wildly romantic epic, set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. Criterion's brand new 2K transfer really shows the lush landscapes in all their intended glory. The commentary is thankfully carried over from the previous release and Criterion have added even more new worthwhile extras, including Armstrong's powerful student film. This unappreciated gem is strongly recommended to fans of romantic cinema.
November 24th, 2009
March 24th, 2019
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
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze