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Little Lord Fauntleroy [Blu-ray]
(John Cromwell, 1936)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Selznick International Pictures
Video: Kino Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,557,546,867 bytes
Feature Size: 22,945,811,136 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.88 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 26th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Description: After the death of Cedric ('Ceddie')'s English father, he and his mother live together in Brooklyn. Cedric's grandfather, the Earl of Dorincourt, had disowned Cedric's father when he married an American. But when the Earl's remaining son dies, he accepts Cedric as Lord Fauntleroy, his heir, and the Earl sends for Cedric and his mother. Cedric uses the first of his newly found wealth to do some favors for his old friends, and then heads to England, where he must try to overcome the Earl's dislike for Cedric's mother. This is the ONLY authorized edition of this classic film from the estate of David O. Selznick, restored and remastered in high definition from the George Eastman House.
There is a benign aura about the photoplay, a mellow haze of things long past which should lull even the most adamant anti-Fauntlerite into a state of restful receptivity. This may be due to the period settings which have been contrived so handsomely, or to the performance of a perfectly attuned cast, or to Hugh Walpole's adaptation, or to John Cromwell's sentient direction. Whatever the cause, and it probably was the combination of all four, the picture has a way with it and, unless we are very much in error, you will be pleased.Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE
David O. Selznick's first independent production upheld the producer's tradition, established at Paramount, RKO and... MGM, of bringing the "classics" to the screen. Adapted by Hugh Walpole from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy is set in the late 19th century. After establishing Freddie Bartholomew as a likeable Brooklyn boy who can handle himself in a scrap--with the assistance of his roughneck pal Mickey Rooney, of course--the film introduces us to Bartholomew's mother, played by Dolores Costello-Barrymore (though divorced from John Barrymore, Mrs. Costello-Barrymore was still billng herself by her married name). Costello-Barrymore is the widow of a titled Englishman, whose father, the aristocratic Sir C. Aubrey Smith, detests all Americans with equal fervor. Upon discovering that Bartholomew is the rightful heir to his fortune, Smith demands that Costello-Barrymore deliver the boy to his sprawling English country estate. Now addressed by one and all as Lord Fauntleroy, Bartholomew chafes at the restrictions imposed upon him by his station in life. The boy's good nature and forthrightedness wins his grandfather's respect-and, eventually, the old man's love.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Little Lord Fauntleroy wasn't particularly impressive on Blu-ray from Kino. The 1080P image quality shows some minor grain and decent contrast layering. There are plenty of scratches, speckles, marks and more significant instances of damage. This is only single-layered but the bare-bones disc has a decent bitrate. There are fluctuations and inconsistencies but I suppose we must resign ourselves that this is the best source and without costly restoration - can't look much better. The Blu-ray was very watchable but, obviously, isn't a prime example of the visuals capabilities of the format - even taking into account the age.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino use a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps but the sound still shows the predictable weaknesses of its age with hollow, scattered, dialogue - more a function of the limitations of the production equipment of the era (using the RCA Victor High Fidelity System). It is only... discernable - with many inconsistencies - and there are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Only 3 trailers of other Kino vintage classics as supplements to this disc.
June 13th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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