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Taking Off [Blu-ray]
(Milos Forman, 1971)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,919,385,538 bytes
Feature Size: 18,555,469,824 bytes
Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps
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
•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".
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.
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.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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.
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.
March 24th, 2014
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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