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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Lady For a Day [Blu-ray]

 

(Frank Capra, 1933)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Inception Media Group

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:36:11.640

Disc Size: 21,519,750,784 bytes

Feature Size: 20,135,387,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.95 Mbps

Chapters: 30

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 20th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Frank Capra Jr.

• Introduction by Frank Capra Jr. (:57 in 1080i)

• Restoration: Before and After (4:40 - in 1080P)

• Stills Gallery (36 images)

• Liner Notes Essay

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: May Robson plays Apple Annie in Frank Capra s wonderful and enduring comedy/drama, based on a short story by Damon Runyon, with a hilarious and heartwarming script by Robert Riskin. When Louise (Jean Parker) announces that she plans to visit her mother to introduce her aristocratic fiancÚ, Apple Annie s friends, including gangster Dave the Dude (Warren William), Judge Henry D. Blake (Guy Kibbee) and Missouri Martin (Glenda Farrell), rally around to transform her from a poor street peddler into the society matron her daughter is expecting to see.

 

 

The Film:

In 1933 director Frank Capra and writer Robert Riskin transformed Damon Runyon's short story, "Madame La Gimp," into the film Lady for a Day. Although Riskin made some changes to the story, it still focused on a poor street vendor trying to masquerade as a member of high society. Everyone in Times Square knows "Apple Annie," but they don't know she has a daughter going to school in Spain. Annie sent the girl away as an infant but stays in contact with her through letters. In her correspondence, Annie pretends she is a wealthy woman named Mrs. E. Worthington Manville and everything goes smoothly until Annie learns her daughter Louise will be visiting New York with her fiance and his father, Count Romero. The Count wants to meet Louise's mother before he will approve the marriage. Fortunately for Annie, one of her faithful customers, a gangster named Dave the Dude, offers to help her since he believes Annie's apples bring him luck when he gambles. Through his many sidewalk connections, Dave goes to great lengths to turn Annie into Mrs. E. Worthington Manville, even enlisting the support of the mayor and governor.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

The story (derived from Damon Runyon) is pure sentiment. A lady known as Apple Annie (Robson) is reduced to selling apples on the sidewalk for a living. She keeps the awful truth from her daughter by writing fanciful letters about high society on purloined headed notepaper... until her daughter (Parker) decides to come to New York with her fiancÚ, a Spanish count. What will the poor gin-soaked old body do? As it's a Capra fable, everyone from fellow street bums to the mayor is eventually galvanised in her cause. You can tell just how rich the comedy is by the fact that not even a plot like that can sink it. Robert Riskin's razor-sharp dialogue is matched by Capra's super-subtle visuals, and backed by an array of suitably Runyonesque characters. In fact it is just about worth swallowing your cynicism (and scruples) for Ned Sparks' definitive stone-faced Broadway sharpie alone. Remade by Capra himself as Pocketful of Miracles in 1961.

Excerpt from TimeOut.com located HERE

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

This print was thought lost but a dup was made from Capra's own 35mm. This looks very impressive on Blu-ray from Inception Media Group. The restored image quality is clean and consistent with only some minor speckles.  This is only single-layered but contrast exhibits some advanced layers of greyscale. It's hard to believe the film is almost 80-years old. There is no depth, a touch of grain and some detail is highly remarkable. This is far more pleasing than I was anticipating - and so is the film. What a fabulous find.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM 2.0 channel track provided at 2304 kbps seems a very capable representation. It is not perfect - the age of the film should be taken into account. It is expected that it sounded similar in 1933. There are no glaring faults. No subtitles are provided. My Momitsu has now identified it as being a region FREE! (Thanks James!).

 

Extras :

Decent extras too with both an optional introduction and commentary by Frank Capra Jr. he relates a lot of info about his dad. There is a 5-mnute split-screen restoration demo piece and an extensive stills gallery plus the package contains some liner notes. It is appreciated that some, extra mile, love went into these supplements.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
If Lady for a Day wasn't directed by Frank Capra you would easily say it was Capra-esque. This is warm, wonderful and human. I'm so surprised I had no seen or really heard of it before. I applaud this Blu-ray. Great presentation of a fabulous film experience - and the effort of the extras is a an added value touch. We certainly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

March 8th, 2012


 

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 5000 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.

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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