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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Brian Montgomery

Loving Memory (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray]

 

(Tony Scott, 1969)

 

 

 

Review by Brian Montgomery

 

Production:

Theatrical: BFI

Blu-ray: BFI

 

Disc:

Region: FREE!

Runtime: 51:48.375

Disc Size: 22,737,269,956 bytes

Feature Size: 13,084,041,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.831 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-Ray Case

Release date: August 23rd, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• One of the Missing (26:32)

• Boy and Bicycle (27:52)

• Fully Illustrated Booklet

DVD

 

Description: An extraordinary debut from one of Hollywood's most bankable UK ex-pats, Tony Scott's Loving Memory (1970) follows an isolated brother and sister who live with their memories and a grisly secret. Critically acclaimed on its release Loving Memory was beautifully photographed by celebrated cinematographer Chris Menges - who captures perfectly the misty mystery of the Yorkshire moors - and feature a stunning, sinister performance from Rosamund Greenwood (Village of the Damned, The Witches) as a haunted innocent.

 

 

The Film:

"Loving Memory" showcases talents you wouldn't have guessed that Tony (then a film student going by "Anthony") Scott had if you were only familiar with his post 70s Hollywood work. That's not to say that he isn't good at what he does, as he's shown that he has a good deal of talent when it comes to loud, macho action films. Yet here we see a different side of the director. Gone are all special effects, and even most dialogue. Instead what we get is a slow, meditative film that showcases Scott's ability to quietly and simply tell a story that is macabre, unsettling, and strangely sweet. To be sure, this is a very good film, and after finishing it, I couldn't help but wonder what else Scott might have in him. Even those who find themselves turned off by his post "The Hunger" oeuvre should find themselves pleasantly surprised by this truly wonderful film.

 


 

Image:

With the image on the "Loving Memory", the BFI has only solidified its reputation as one of the world's top producers of black and white HD. The image here is absolutely stunning and made even more impressive when you consider that the film was made on a shoestring budget over forty years ago. Despite these limitations, the image is gorgeous, with a modest disc size (keep in mind that the film is ultimately under an hour long) and a respectable bitrate of nearly 30 megs. The black and white palette is truly gorgeous, ranging from deep and satisfying blacks to lily whites, with a seemingly infinite shades of gray in between. Fine object detail is generally very strong as well, but there are occasionally a few objects on the periphery of the image that aren't as well defined as they could be (though this is likely a remnant of the way that Scott originally shot it, and not a deficiency of the disc itself). Not everything is perfect though. As the booklet informs us, the film was given an HD transfer after a full digital restoration. However, not all problems were removed, and there still are some brief tears and at least one instance of a briefly unstable set of frames. These are, however, very minor instances of damage and will likely only be noticed by the pickiest of reviewers. There also are a couple of close up shots that appear ever slightly too grainy (see capture five for instance). Otherwise the grain structure was very delicately handled in this release and looks just about perfect for nearly the whole film. These are of course all mere nigglings and shouldn't distract from an overall exceptional transfer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:

Like the video, the audio on this release was given a full restoration and HD master in LPCM stereo. As I previously mentioned, there's little in the way of dialogue or music here, but what's included does sound absolutely fantastic with great clarity and contrast. The booklet modestly suggests that there may still be an occasional instance of unwanted background noise in the form of buzzing, hisses, pops, or crackles, but I do not remember encountering any of this. Instead, this is a remarkably good sounding disc without any noticeable defects on its HD stereo transfer. Additionally, there are optional English subtitles that are easily read and don't obstruct the main image.

 

 

 

Extras:

The disc comes with three extras. The first two are short films made by Scott prior to "Loving Memory". "One of the Missing" tells the story of Confederate soldier who finds himself trapped in a harrowing situation in an adaptation of an Ambrose Bierce story, while "Boy and Bicycle" (written and directed by brother Ridley, but starring Tony) follows the unnamed character as he rides his bike around the British sea shore. Of the two, I definitely preferred the former, but I've always been fond of Bierce's works. Also included is a 24 page illustrated booklet with an essay by the esteemed Kim Newman on all three films, a reprint of a 1970 "Time Out" interview with Scott, and an essay dealing with the relationship between the Scott brothers and the BFI. It's another one of their great booklets and certainly worth the read if you liked the film.

 

Bottom line:

I have to admit being taken by surprise with this viewing. I'm not a fan of Scott's Hollywood work aside from a small handful of films, and I didn't think that he would have the ability to make a small, thoughtful film free of the overblown machismo that has become his hallmark. I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a wonderful piece of ephemera and one that I am so glad the BFI brought to light. Bravo to everyone involved! I give this dual disc set a very, very high recommendation and consider it to now be an essential part of my collection.

Brian Montgomery
August 17th, 2010

 

 


 

 




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