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The Iron Petticoat [Blu-ray]
(Ralph Thomas, 1956)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: London Film Productions
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 16,109,549,594 bytes
Feature Size: 14,990,757,888 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.24 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 19th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: VC-1 Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), none
• Introduction by Robert Osborne (2:46)
Description: Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn - two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – appear together for the first and only time in one of the most unlikely pairings in the history of movies. A charming Cold War romance and political satire in the tradition of Ninotchka, this comic battle of the sexes pits a defecting Soviet jet pilot (Hepburn) against a U.S. army captain (Hope) who is charged with turning a diehard communist into a patriotic capitalist.
Lensed in England, The Iron Petticoat has been out of circulation for so long that it's difficult to determine whether it is a long-lost classic or the unmitigated disaster many have claimed it to be. Essentially a rehash of Ninotchka, the film stars Bob Hope as Chuck Lockwood, an American military officer assigned to "de-Communize" defecting Russian aviator Vinka Kovelonko (Katharine Hepburn). Meanwhile, Vinka tries to win Chuck over to the glories of the People's Republic. The film remains on a fairly subtle comic level until its unnecessarily slapsticky finale, which, in to paraphrase one reviewer, caused many film fans to completely "give up Hope." Those who've seen The Iron Petticoat are astounded at how well Bob Hope and Katharine Hepburn worked together, especially since it has been well documented that the two stars were decidedly not close chums off screen. The film sparked a now-famous war of words between Hope and scriptwriter Ben Hecht, both of whom took out long, rambling trade-paper ads to lambaste each other for "ruining" the project.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Iron Petticoat arrives on Blu-ray from TCM transferred with the, less used, VC-1 encode to move it to 1080P. The image quality is a little pale in the first half of the film - almost de-saturated. But contrast - black levels - seem to perk up in the last half of the film. This is only single-layered with a modest transfer in the, slightly bastardized, 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Colors can tend to look a bit more dull, and less cheery, than they might in the original production. It's hard to say. There is a kind of drab, army, green hue over much of the visuals. However, reds improve and it culminates looking quite reasonable. This Blu-ray isn't demo, and while I'd have preferred it to look brighter, allowed me to see this clandestine 50's comedy.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
TCM have failed to take advantage of the lossless audio ability and have stuck with a standard Dolby Digital in 2.0. It is, obviously, not as robust as what could have been achieved, but the dialogue is clear and consistent. There are not an abundance of effects in the film and Benjamin Frankel's score is fairly low-key and unremarkable. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'.
Supplements consists of a 3-minute introduction by Robert Osborne who is really interviewing a historian who describes why the film has remained unseen for all these years. He communicates the rift between Bob Hope and Ben Hecht and how Hepburn was not very flattering about Hope in her biography. There are also 2 Extended scenes that didn't make it into the film - looking a little more worn - as does the included black and white original theatrical trailer. There are also image galleries (Behind-the-Scenes Photos, Publicity Stills, Lobby Cards etc.)
December 5th, 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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