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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Taking Off [Blu-ray]


(Milos Forman, 1971)


Also available on a region 'B'-locked Blu-ray in the UK from Park Circus:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Crown-Hausman

Video: Carlotta



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:30.041

Disc Size: 23,919,385,538 bytes

Feature Size: 18,555,469,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 23rd, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio French 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit



French, none



Introduction by Luc Lagier (6:24 in French, no subtitles)
"Before Taking Off Milos Forman en route to America" (Fiction Factory) Forman says the beginning of his career in the Soviet Czechoslovakia and the genesis of Taking Off between France and the United States (29:47 - English with French subtitles)
"Two European in New York": Jean-Claude Carričre, who co-authored Taking Off Milos Forman, remembers their meeting and unique experience of New York hipster (16:16 - French - no subtitles)





Description: Czech filmmaker Milos Forman's first American production stars Linnea Heacock as Jeannie Tyne, a runaway teenager. While she wanders aimlessly around New York, her suburban parents, Lynn (Lynn Carlin) and Larry (Buck Henry), desperately search for their "missing" daughter. Larry and his best friend, Tony (Tony Harvey), inaugurate a search, but their expedition is sidetracked by a drinking binge at a local bar. Meanwhile, Lynn and Tony's wife, Margot (Georgia Engel), begin discussing their sex lives. Jeannie does finally return home, to constant questioning by her parents about which drugs she has taken; later, after Lynn and Larry join a support group for the parents of runaway children, they turn around and get stoned on marijuana themselves during one of the group meetings, then lapse into a randy game of strip poker -- little realizing that their daughter is close at hand and within earshot. As a critically revered lampoon of late-'60s sensibilities, Taking Off is full of "unknown" Manhattan-based performers who became famous during the '70s and '80s, including Paul Benedict, Vincent Schiavelli, Allen Garfield, Audra Lindley, and, in fleeting roles as auditioning singers, Carly Simon, who performs "Long Time Physical Effects," and Kathy Bates (billed as Bobo Bates), who performs "Even the Horses Had Wings".



The Film:

A delightfully touching comedy, Forman's first in America and far better than his later One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Ragtime, this deals with the attempts of a middle-aged, middle class American couple to trace and lure back their runaway daughter. Scenes of their search are intercut with sequences at a musical audition for disillusioned youth, and Forman's wry but sympathetic humour derives largely from the incongruities he observes in both situations: deserted parents, concerned and conservative, getting stoned in an effort to understand why kids smoke dope; a rosy, virginal young girl singing a quiet folk song in praise of fucking. Never taking sides, but allowing both factions engaged in the generation gap war plenty of space and generosity, its gentle wit has aged far more gracefully than the hectoring sermons of most youth movies churned out in the late '60s and early '70s.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Milos Forman's first American film (1971) is still the most graceful and well-proportioned work he's done here, an engaging, episodic, wonderfully fair-minded satire about runaway children and anxious adults.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE


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

Taking Off looks quite good via its transfer to Blu-ray from Carlotta.  Lines are crisp, colors tight, there is some fine - somewhat blocky at times, pleasing, grain and it exports depth. I saw a few very minor edge-enhancement halos upon extensive zooming-in. It's single-layered with a modest bitrate but the image looks crisp and film-like. Contrast is reasonable although it may be a more notably weaker aspect of the presentation - fluctuating a shade throughout. The visuals are clean with no damage or speckles and I may have seen a couple of minor instances of noise. I thought that this Blu-ray provided a surprisingly dynamic viewing - considering the age of the film. I was reasonably pleased. We may compare to the UK version one day.


















Audio :

Along with a French DUB - we get a summarily transferred linear PCM in original mono English at 768 kbps. It sounds authentic - flat but very clean and the music has surprising depth. We get plenty including Ike & Tina Turner, impressive Kathy Bates (as Bobo Bates), Carly Simon and other sounding delightful including an excerpt from Dvorák. There French subtitles are, absolutely, removable (via the remote - not the menu) and my Oppo has identified it as being region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

Carlotta provide a 6.5 minute Luc Lagier in French only - as is a 16-minute piece interviewing Jean-Claude Carričre who co-authored Taking Off with Milos Forman. There is also another of Robert Fischer's excellent Fiction Factory documentaries described as "In this newly edited and illustrated archival interview from 2000, Czech director Milos Forman talks about his childhood and youth, the advent of the Czech New Wave and his opportunity to go to New York to shoot his first American film: TAKING OFF (1971)." It is excellent and runs just shy of 1/2 hour.



I feel like - Where the hell have I been? that I had not see this fabulous film. I had this Blu-ray for a while but it drifted to the bottom of the stack (stupid stack!) but I'm so glad I was able to watch it now. This is a hilarious take on parenthood - that still rings so true today. Buck Henry always make me laugh and there are numerous other positives to Taking Off.  The Carlotta Blu-ray has a supportive a/v transfer and the disc is region FREE. You can't ask for much more. Very highly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

March 24th, 2014

Also available on a region 'B'-locked Blu-ray in the UK from Park Circus:


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 3500 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
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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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