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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Up the Junction [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Collinson, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: BHE Films

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:59:40.173

Disc Size: 21,718,432,852 bytes

Feature Size: 21,603,028,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.91 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 29th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 911 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 911 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Based on Nell Dunn's iconic tale of life in London's swinging sixties, Up the Junction is a memorable slice of British cinema starring Suzy Kendall (Torso) as Polly and Dennis Waterman (TV's The Sweeney) as her hard-up boyfriend, Pete. The tale is of a bored, young party girl who decides to cast off her affluent Chelsea lifestyle to move to the industrialized ghetto of Battersea. In search of realism, Polly takes a factory job where she befriends sisters Rube (Adrienne Posta) and Sylvie (Maureen Lipman) and moves into a rundown apartment in the area. She soon discovers the seedier side of life in an impoverished world of crime, desperation and questionable morality-a side of life that everyone but Polly is desperately trying to leave behind. This beautiful and haunting film was directed by cult-filmmaker Peter Collinson (Innocent Bystanders, The Italian Job).

 

 

The Film:

Miss Kendall opts for the journalist, which makes for an interesting performance of a part that has been suppressed in the script. That is, "Up the Junction" is based on a series of articles in The New Statesman by Nell Dunn (who also wrote the screenplay for "Poor Cow"). In the articles, Miss Dunn described her experiences in moving to the neighborhood of Clapham Junction, working in a candy-packing factory there, and observing the people. In the movie, there is no indication that Miss Kendall writes. But for a good part of the film she plays it that way—quite shallow and hard—not so much talking to people as lurking around interviewing them, with a certain mixture of warmth, condescension and reserve.

When she falls in love, she has to lapse gradually into the ninny to behave as insufferably as the script requires her to. She keeps expressing her delight with everything squalid and poor. And when her young man reveals—in one of those instances of someone's most personal secret having been a matter of public knowledge from the beginning of time—that everyone always knew she was not really working-class, the characterization falls completely apart Miss Kendall simply looks too intelligent and even too old (she is 25) for the giddy young grotesque of tactlessness she then becomes. But it is a rare instance of a very talented actress trying to rescue a part.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Hard to see what all the fuss was about (at least from this movie cash-in on Kenneth Loach's teleplay version of Nell Dunn's novel). The idea that the decision of middle class Polly (Kendall) to forsake Chelsea and move to Battersea should provide enough substance for either a book or a film now seems ludicrous. Nevertheless here it all is. In the shadow of the power station, she helps working class Rube (Posta) cope with abortion and death: part of the short-lived and generally muffed attempt by the film industry to make a foray of sorts into the realities of working class life in Britain.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

Up the Junction on Blu-ray from Olive Films has a surprisingly impressive transfer to 1080P. This is only single-layered with a lowish bitrate but colors are vibrant and it exports some decent textures. I don't know that dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively. It looks like the source was in great shape. The black levels are strong and consistent and there is a reasonable amount of depth. Detail is pleasing - notable in the film's many close-ups. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD mono track at 911 kbps sounds flat but has a smidgeon of depth. What is very cool is the score composed by Mike Hugg and Manfred Mann (yes, founding members - and namesake - of Manfred Mann and Manfred Mann's Earth Band.) So there are some pretty UK-60's-rock'in numbers. They initially appears a bit awkward but once you get into them - they fit perfectly with the film's 60's vibe.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I liked Up the Junction. A fair amount. The class distinction - a typical British theme embedded in almost everything - is a bit ham-fisted but the performances were wonderful - across the board to the downtrodden minor characters (check out the 18-year old Susan George!)  I wasn't aware of the BBC TV play. Another adept bare-bones Blu-ray from Olive. I thought the presentation was quite good and I liked the film - so, despite the lack of extras and the price - this has sufficient value, IMO.

Gary Tooze

April 23rd, 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 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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