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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

On Approval [Blu-ray]

 

(Clive Brook, 1944)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Eagle - Lion

Video: Inception Media Group

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:19:49.785

Disc Size: 22,679,798,578 bytes

Feature Size: 19,865,131,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 19th, 2013

 

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 Jeffrey Vance

Googie Withers Remembers 'On Approval' (16:56)

• Still Gallery

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Clive Brook adapted and stars as George, the 10th Duke of Bristol, in this hilarious adaptation of Frederick Lonsdale's play. George and his equally impoverished friend Richard (Roland Culver) are invited to spend a month at a Scottish mansion by two wealthy women (played by Beatrice Lillie and Googie Withers) to test their compatibility as potential marriage partners. What follows is a delightfully witty romance described by Lindsay Anderson as the funniest British light comedy ever made.

 

 

The Film:

English actor Clive Brook's only directorial effort, On Approval, is based upon Frederick Lonsdale's frothy 1926 play, though reset in the late 19th century. Brook plays George, a titled duke whose wealth has largely been spent but who has no intention of settling further into genteel poverty. George is enormously appealing to Helen (played by Googie Withers), a good-natured American heiress, and is equally appalling to Maria (Bea Lillie), an Englishwoman of considerable means. The imperious Maria is dating the eternally devoted Richard (Roland Culver), who worships her. Maria decides that she will marry Richard -- after he spends a month with her in a secluded Scottish castle, where she will try him out "on approval." Maria, however, does not intend to discover whether they are suitable for all aspects of marriage; every night he is to row across the loch and spend his nights at a local inn. Neither Maria nor Richard will lack for company, though, as George and Helen invite themselves along. Things get complicated when it turns out that there are no rooms available at the inn, leaving the men to share the castle with the women -- a prospect that so horrifies the servants that they promptly leave the two couples high and dry. Left to their own devices, the foursome get to know each other -- and they don't necessarily like what they find.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Though plays dealing with the amorous and other vagaries of the idle rich may no longer dominate the West End stage, the species is by no means extinct, and with this version of Frederick Lonsdale's hit of the '20s we have a good opportunity to examine the animal. Brook plays a penurious duke wooing an American pickle heiress (Withers), but - after a twin 'trial marriage' on a remote Scottish island - being rejected in favour of his dog-eared companion (Culver) and ending up with Beatrice Lillie, whose selfish cynicism dwarfs even his own. Though Brook's deliberately 'cinematic' approach was highly praised at the time (according to Lindsay Anderson it was 'the funniest British comedy ever made'), it is the performances, Lonsdale's deft craftsmanship, and the presence of the semi-mythical Lillie which now holds interest.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

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

On Approval is a very amusing comedy that arrives on Blu-ray from Inception Media Group. The image quality shows some grit and minor grain.  This is only single-layered but contrast exhibits decent black levels with some layering. Detail is solid but there are some light scratches just under the surface and a few speckles. I noticed no intrusive noise. This Blu-ray is consistent and gave me a pleasing presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is in the form of an adept linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 2304 kbps. Dialogue is clean and very clear. There is some music like Woody Herman's "At The Woodchoppers' Ball" that had some depth. There is an original score by William Alwyn (A Night to Remember and The Fallen Idol) that is supported by the lossless transfer. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Inception Media add some good extras. We get a commentary by film historian and author Jeffrey Vance who discusses the film, stars and era. We also get a 17-minutes of an interview with Googie Withers (died in 2011) as she remembers 'On Approval'. Lastly, there is an extensive digital stills gallery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
On Approval is quite a special comedy. It plays very well off the 'aristocratic upper class British manners' gags. It also has an undercurrent of jealousies and gaining pleasure from others miseries. The Blu-ray is a well done project and the commentary adds further value. Certainly this is recommended and provided me with a very pleasing presentation. 

Gary Tooze

March 6th, 2013

 

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.

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Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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