directed by Fred Zinnemann
UK 1966

 

A Man for All Seasons won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Picture. It tells the true story of Sir Thomas More whose steadfast refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of King Henry VIII's Church of England over the Roman Catholic Pope eventually cost him his life. It is a story that, were it not historically documented, would seem unbelievable.

 
Paul Scofield gives a brilliant performance in the lead role. There isn't a false note from him in the entire movie. He very clearly demonstrates one man's dignified refusal to compromise his beliefs. To him the issue is a matter of his very soul's fate and he sacrifices everything to save that.

The rest of the cast is quite good as well. Wendy Hiller who plays Thomas' wife Alice is especially outstanding in the scene where she visits her husband in jail knowing it will be the last time she sees him alive. The supporting cast also boasts such names as Orson Welles, Robert Shaw and John Hurt.

Excerpt from Three Movie Nuffs located HERE

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: December 12th, 1966

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DVD Comparison: 

Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony (Special Edition)

Region 1,4 - NTSC

Runtime 2:00:20 2:00:20

Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Sony

Bitrate: Sony (Special Edition)

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) \English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles English, None English, Portuguese, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Columbia

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (2:37 / 4:3)

• 4-page liner notes with short essay

NOTE: Flip side as 4:3 Full Frame version

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 1999
Keep case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Sony (Special Edition)
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• “The Life of Sir Thomas More” short featurette (18:16)

 

DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

Keep Case

Chapters 24

 

 

Comments:

This is a bit odd. In the earlier days of DVD Columbia Tri-Star produced some of the best image and audio transfers - especially of classic films. As, I assume, the practice became less cost efficient and Sony 'took over' Columbia - we began to see less-than-stellar classic DVDs produced, not at the same quality of, say, Gilda or Fail-Safe. The original 'A Man For All Seasons' DVD was single-layered, anamorphic in a 1.85:1 ratio with a full frame version on the opposite side. It had a slight black border circumventing the frame - marginally limiting the horizontal resolution. There were no extras except a trailer and a couple of liner notes pages.

Sony has come out with a single disc 'Special Edition' DVD of 'A Man For All Seasons' and it doesn't look especially good. It is in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio - although I have found no evidence that this ratio is correct, we will make that assumption at the present time. More information is shown in the frame of the new releases - most notably at the bottom. Like the original it is anamorphic and progressive but this is on a dual-layered DVD (sharing it with two unrelated trailers and an extra featurette that lasts about 18 minutes - plus some bumped audio tracks). My issues with the new DVD are the black levels which have been boosted with a very heavy hand (see reddish skin tones). It is incredibly darker, although I suspect colors may be more accurate than in the original DVD which looks to have had some brightness boosting. Artifacts are generally still visible in the new edition. It is sharper... or at least give us that appearance. On top of the mono track, a superfluous 5.1 bump, and French mono DUB are included. There is a decent featurette included called “The Life of Sir Thomas More” it touches upon a few facets of the historical significance of the story and production of the film but I felt a commentary or a longer documentary were certainly justified. Bottom line is that I don't think Sony have done this film justice and the 'Special Edition' label is rather bogus.

The DVD inferiorities don't take away from the magnificence of the film at all though. It is powerful stuff if leaning more towards the history buffs than the popcorn crowd. Fabulous performances and a very worthwhile film experience. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC RIGHT)

 
 
 

 


Screen Captures

 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample: Not exact frame

 

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 FULL FRAME - NTSC TOP vs. Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 Widescreen - NTSC MIDDLE Sony (Special Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony (Special Edition)

Region 1,4 - NTSC

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Sony Special

Sound:

Sony Special

Extras: Sony Special
Menu: Sony Special

 


 



 

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