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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A New Leaf [Blu-ray]

 

(Elaine May, 1971)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:42:26.140

Disc Size: 18,631,365,930 bytes

Feature Size: 18,467,641,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 4th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 848 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 848 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) is a man with a problem: he has run through his entire inheritance and is completely unequipped to provide for himself. His childhood guardian, Uncle Harry (a deliciously mean-spirited James Coco), refuses to give him a dime, so Henry devises a plan with the help of his imaginative butler (George Rose) to make his money the old-fashioned way - he can marry it. But he cannot see himself as a happily married man, so he comes up with an even more devious solution... with a temporary loan from his uncle, Henry has six weeks to find a bride and repay the loan; otherwise he must forfeit all his property to his uncle. Henry finally meets his dearly beloved, a clumsy, painfully shy heiress Henrietta Lowell (played by the film's writer/director Elaine May). The answer to his prayers - if only he can overcome the obstacles placed in his path by his uncle and Henrietta's Lawyer (Jack Weston).

 

 

The Film:

Writer-director-star Elaine May's first feature (1971). Not all of it works, and the studio nixed her original black ending, but it's an often brilliant and frequently hilarious comedy. Walter Matthau, cast wildly against type, plays a spoiled playboy suddenly deprived of his wealth who plots to marry and murder a wealthy, klutzy, and dysfunctional botanist (May, playing sort of a female Jerry Lewis). May's savage take on her characters irresistibly recalls Stroheim; she's at once tender and corrosive (as well as narcissistic and self-hating). This is painful comedy, to be sure, but there's a lot of soul and spirit behind it. With George Rose and William Redfield.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Browning a little round the edges, not least because Paramount subjected the film to fairly drastic re-editing, Elaine May's directorial debut still makes for cherishable comedy viewing precisely because she eschewed the modish flash her former cabaret partner Mike Nichols brought to his movie-making. May herself plays the frumpishly eccentric but wealthy botanist pursued with murderous intent by Matthau's ageing, financially embarrassed playboy.

Excerpt from TimreOut Film Guide located HERE

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

A New Leaf has a predictable modest technical Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but contrast looks adequate to support the film. It looks okay - a bit faded in some scenes but th black levels do seem to improve in the second half and detail is acceptable - if not stellar. There is a smidgeon of depth but there is a hint of grain. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws (speckles) had no detrimental effect on my viewing.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD mono track at 848 kbps is inconsequential - probably as it was theatrically. There is no depth - nor requirement of the film for aggressive bass to be supported. I assume this is a faithful transfer and I noted no flaws. Presume that it lacks any dynamic features. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
A New Leaf is a pretty cute film and I am very glad I watched it. There are some very funny sequences that make it worthwhile viewing. The Blu-ray is as it is - and while a surprising choice to go to 1080P - fans of early 70's comedy, Walter Matthau and especially Elaine May will get some lasting enjoyment. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

September 3rd, 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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