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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Sterile Cuckoo [Blu-ray]


(Alan J. Pakula, 1969)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Boardwalk Productions

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:47:38.952

Disc Size: 19,581,144,724 bytes

Feature Size: 19,406,776,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 16th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 836 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 836 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Alan J. Pakula's directorial debut stars Liza Minnelli (Cabaret) as Pookie Adams, a relentlessly kooky coed who falls in love with a reserved young college student, Jerry Payne (Wendell Burton). She actively pursues the shy boyish-man and helps him through the tough first months in school. They both benefit from the relationship; he gains self-confidence and she's now able to come to grips with her unhappy home life, but sadly he gradually outgrows her. This very realistic and heartbreaking love story received two Oscar nominations, one for Minnelli (Best Actress) and one for Fred Karlin and Dory Previn for their song, Come Saturday Morning.



The Film:

Pakula's debut as a director, two years before making Klute, is one of those rare American films which manage to be gently observational without succumbing to the Europeanism of Mazursky or Cassavetes. Liza Minnelli, improbably, is the kook of the title, a college girl who tumbles through an autumn romance with a bashful student (Burton). Not a lot happens: the camera watches, winter comes, the kids split up, Pookie drops out...but the sympathy of the direction for once makes ...romantic realism likeable.

Excerpt from JTimeOut Film Guide located HERE

"The Sterile Cuckoo," adapted from John Nichols's novel by Alvin Sargent, is the first directorial effort of Alan J. Pakula, who heretofore has acted as the producer of films directed by Robert Mulligan ("Inside Daisy Clover," "Up the Down Staircase," "The Stalking Moon"). As do Mulligan's movies, "The Sterile Cuckoo" aspires to an unconventional (by Hollywood standards) narrative honesty that is constantly undercut by conventional cinematic slickness.

Pakula has succeeded in obtaining a strong, interesting performance from Miss Minnelli (whose only previous film work was in "Charlie Bubbles"), but the fakely lyric and comic details of the movie do not illuminate the dark story it tells. There are moments of honesty, as in the couple's first visit to a motel, when the boy, in his embarrassment, carefully hangs up Pookie's clothes before getting undressed himself. Pakula also stages a very funny and bleak fraternity party that turns into the sort of beery roughhouse, which to freshmen might pass for an orgy.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

The Sterile Cuckoo has a, predictable, modest technical Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but looks okay. There are moments of softness and the image is on the thick side. Aside from the occasional speckles - it is probably a decent representation of the theatrical. The black levels are acceptable - if not stellar. The outdoor sequences, naturally, looked the best. Detail is modest and there is no real depth but there is some grain. The Blu-ray doesn't do any one attribute impressively but gives a solid presentation of an enjoyable film experience.















Audio :

Typical of Olive - we get an unremarkable DTS-HD Master mono track at a lowly 836 kbps. Its lossless attribute exports an authentic audio - but the film is very passive with nothing dynamic in the offing. Dialogue is clear and Fred Karlin's score isn't memorable except for the inclusion of The Sandpipers' "Come Saturday Morning" which makes for an appropriate anthem for the film.  There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

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



The Sterile Cuckoo is pretty sweet - one of the first explorations of this avenue of a cooky fringe dweller bonding with the more straight-laced - both learning from each other on the journey. I won't point fingers at the Blu-ray it was nice just to see the film in 1080P. 

Gary Tooze

October 10th, 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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