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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

I've Always Loved You [Blu-ray]

 

(Frank Borzage, 1946)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:57:34.047

Disc Size: 23,112,565,049 bytes

Feature Size: 23,003,418,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.96 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 26th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 840 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 840 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: As its fortunes grew in the mid-1940s, Republic Pictures occasionally strayed from its usual manifest of westerns and serials, hoping to produce something of "class." Filmed on a lavish budget in glorious Technicolor, Republic's I've Always Loved You stars Philip Dorn as a tyrannical symphony conductor and Catherine McLeod as his gifted young pianist protégée. In his own way, Dorn loves McLeod, but it is he who destroys her career by browbeating her mercilessly during her Carnegie Hall debut. Effortlessly stealing the film from the leads are Maria Ouspenskaya as one "Mme. Goronoff" and comedy relief Fritz Feld. The plot of I've Always Loved You is rather derivative of several like-vintage British "concerto" films, but the classical music passages, performed by piano virtuoso Artur Rubinstein, are well worth the admission price.

 

 

The Film:

Frank Borzage likes to funnel sexual intensity through surreptitious channels, here's a musical drama in the wholesome Deanna Durbin format but with the clandestine erotic charge of King Vidor. A Svengali narrative, played out in hotel rooms and concert halls where the screen space appears to contract and expand in tandem with the feelings of the characters: Catherine McLeod, the pianist heroine, is ushered into the musical expo where maestro Philip Dorn disinterestedly tries out potential pupils, ordering one to "play Bach, no nonsense." McLeod plays Beethoven and Dorn takes her as protégé, a favor to mentor Felix Bressart, her father; plucked from her Philadelphia farm for a tour of Europe, she flowers as a musician while experiencing the maestro's arrogance and childishness. McLeod dismantles the ivories with Liebestod as Dorn woos a girl during their South America stay, her Carnegie Hall debut playing Rachmaninoff becomes a duel of envy, elation, anger -- music turns into eruptions of suppressed emotions, and Borzage tracks from the physical vastness of the auditorium to the spiritual intimacy of the playing.

Excerpt from CinemaPassion.org located HERE

World-renowned pianist Leopold Goronoff goes to Philadelphia to judge auditions for a music scholarship and is pleased to meet Fredrich Hassman, a once great pianist who retired from a successful career in order to marry and teach. Despite the egotistical, chauvinistic Goronoff's assertion that marriage is irrelevant for a musician, Hassman introduces him to his daughter Myra, who is there for the audition. Goronoff is enchanted by Myra's loveliness and talent and later goes to the Hassman farm in Pennsylvania. Myra, dazzled by Goronoff's ability and arrogance, is thrilled when he then postpones a European concert tour to stay with them. As Goronoff tutors Myra, her infatuation with him deepens, much to the dismay of George Sampter, the farmhand who has loved Myra since they were children. After a month, Goronoff must leave to fulfill his concert schedule and he offers to take Myra along as his protegee. Myra is delighted to have the opportunity to see the world, and George encourages her while sadly bidding her farewell. In New York City, Goronoff introduces Myra to his autocratic grandmother, Mama Goronoff, who reprimands him for letting someone come between him and his music.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

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

I've Always Loved You has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and the bitrate is on the low side. The most prominent visual aspects of the film are how the Technicolor elements look in 1080P. Not great, IMO - but I then began to accept that this may be quite similar to how it looked originally. There are a few flecks of colors sprinkled very conservatively through the presentation akin to speckles. Grain and detail are quite pleasing. It is quite consistent and some hues impressive with their depth, although there is a general feeling of frailty when it comes to the colors. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering with some surprising depth and I can appreciate this is the best I've Always Loved You has looked (or probably will look) for home theater consumption. Imperfect but by no means fatal.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Olive go with an authentic DTS-HD Master mono track and a lowly 840 kbps. The film is filled with some amazing classical music ala Artur Rubenstein (Beethoven, Mozart, Richard Wagner, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bach, Schubert, Brahms etc.) but the most representative in I've Always Loved You is Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. Sounds a bit shallow but thoroughly enjoyable in lossless.  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 the majority of their Blu-ray releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Obviously this is not vintage Borzage (films such as 7th Heaven, Lucky Star, Street Angel, A Farewell to Arms - all available on Region FREE Blu-ray, BTW) - but I still think there is some value here. We have an emotionally-charged love story set in the 'classical music' world. But the appeal would be the earthy sexuality seething under the surface. Unique and refreshing for the era. It also has the always dissatisfied countenance of Maria Ouspenskaya (whom I frequently remember from a favorite film; Waterloo Bridge.)  The bare-bones Olive Blu-ray should certainly be considered if available for under $15. I think vintage film aficionados will definitely find more than enough to appreciate. 

Gary Tooze

February 3rd, 2015

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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