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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell [Blu-ray]

 

(Melvin Frank, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Connaught Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:52:59.481

Disc Size: 21,904,787,269 bytes

Feature Size: 21,235,783,680 bytess

Video Bitrate: 22.11 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 14th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1624 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1624 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Trailer (2:57)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Gina Lollobrigida delivers a bright comic turn in Melvin Frank's farce concerning Carla, an Italian woman who, during World War II, had affairs with three American soldiers who served in the U.S. Army Air Force -- Phil Newman (Phil Silvers), Justin Young (Peter Lawford), and Walter Braddock (Telly Savalas). Finding that she is pregnant after the squadron is transferred, she convinces each of the three soldiers that he is the father of her child. Phil, Justin, and Walter react to Carla's pregnancy by sending her child-support checks -- checks that Carla has been receiving every month from each of them for the past 20 years. Meanwhile, in order to save face in her village, Carla concocted the story that the father was the fictitious Captain Eddie Campbell, who was killed in action. But Carla's deceptions are about to be exposed when she finds out that all three soldiers are returning to her village with their wives and children for a reunion of the squadron.

 

 

The Film:

A fun example of Hollywood's attempt to cater to an older, mature audience, Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968) successfully merged elements of the emerging sixties counterculture (i.e., The Graduate, 1967) with a traditional sex farce in an effort to lure that still formidable 30-something audience into theaters. The plot device of a beautiful Italian widow collectively duping an American trio of ex-G.I.s/former lovers into each thinking that he fathered her illegitimate daughter was an expert blend of the risque and the old-fashioned.

Of course, this was no accident, but rather the result of some insidious planning on the part of director/co-writer Melvin Frank (1913-1988). Frank, who along with fellow University of Illinois student Norman Panama created one of the most bankable director-writer-producer teams in motion picture history, began by penning snappy dialogue for Broadway revues in the late 1930s.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

A luscious Italian villager, uncertain as to which of three American soldiers fathered her grown daughter, has accepted monthly support checks from each man. for 20 years. Then presto, there's an Air Corps squadron reunion overseas and the three ex-G.I.'s reappear with wives and children in tow.

That's the joke, or the business, anyway, and it works surprisingly well and merrily for about an hour (out of two). The cast includes Gina Lollobrigida, Shelley Winters, Phil Silvers, Peter Lawford, Telly Savalas, Lee Grant and Janet Margolin. And the Italian village and countryside, where the picture was made, are lovely in radiant color. Furthermore, as co-written and directed by the producer, Melvin Frank,the opening sequences are funny as the town swarms with the American visitors and the three ex-swains furtively search for their "investments," mother and daughter.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

Kino-Lorber bring another fine film from decades gone by to Blu-ray with the delightful Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell.  The image is a bit inconsistent - wavering between acceptable and pleasing.  This is single-layered with a lowish high bitrate but I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. Colors are generally stable and occasionally show some richness and depth (Telly's jackets). There isn't an abundance of depth but the image is fairly clean with only minor speckles. It's faithful in the 1.85 aspect ratio and provides a decent, but not stellar presentation. For a comedy I really had no complaints about the visuals. There is no noise or artifacts and its looks solid in-motion.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1624 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's sound requirements which show some diversity but not much in the way of depth and aggression. The score by Riz Ortolani (Il Sorpasso, Woman Times Seven, Cannibal Holocaust, The Voyeur, Mondo Cane) including Jimmy Roselli's Buona Sera with lyrics by Melvin Frank - support the film sounding bouncy and fun. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

None but a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This was an extremely good comedy. Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell moves at a nice clip and the performances are wonderful. I'm usually not one for this era's comedies but I could easily watch this again. The Kino-Lorber, bare-bones, Blu-ray provided a decent 1080P presentation but I think the film is worthy of some discussion supplements - or even a commentary. I guess it wasn't in the cards. I'd like to recommend this as it may surprise many for its film value. 

Gary Tooze

March 23rd, 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.

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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