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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

My Beautiful Laundrette [Blu-ray]


(Stephen Frears, 1985)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: A Working Title Limited/SAF Productions Production

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #767



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

Runtime: 1:38:00.124 

Disc Size: 47,165,499,375 bytes

Feature Size: 28,668,659,712 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.90 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 21st, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none



• New conversation between director Stephen Frears and producer Colin MacCabe (33:05)
New interviews with writer Hanif Kureishi (16:27), producers Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe (22:20), and Oliver Stapleton (20:59)
Trailer (2:21)
PLUS: An essay by critic Graham Fuller





Description: Stephen Frears was at the forefront of the British cinematic revival of the mid-1980s, and the delightfully transgressive My Beautiful Laundrette is his greatest triumph of the period. Working from a richly layered script by Hanif Kureishi, who was soon to be an internationally renowned writer, Frears tells an uncommon love story that takes place between a young South London Pakistani man (Gordon Warnecke), who decides to open an upscale laundromat to make his family proud, and his childhood friend, a skinhead (Daniel Day-Lewis, in a breakthrough role) who volunteers to help make his dream a reality. This culture-clash comedy is also a subversive work of social realism that dares to address racism, homophobia, and sociopolitical marginalization in Margaret Thatcher’s England.



The Film:

After the death of his wife and his subsequent descent into alcoholic near-agoraphobia, a crotchety Pakistani intellectual convinces his shady entrepreneur brother to provide work for his son in this multi-layered portrait of the immigrant experience in Great Britain. Young Londoner Omar (Gordon Warnecke) isn't sure what he wants out of life, but his uncle Nasser (Saeed Jaffrey) provides a corrupt, capitalist role model as Omar graduates from washing cars for the old crook to running his run-down laundromat. After a chance meeting with Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis), an old school chum whose flirtation with fascism deeply wounded Omar's principled Papa (Roshan Seth), Omar hires the young thug to work for him. Soon, the pair begin a romantic relationship that remains as under wraps as the illicit drug-running and enforcement work they perform for Nasser's associate, Salim (Derrick Branche). On the domestic front, Omar must balance his knowledge of Nasser's long-running affair with posh Brit Rachel (Shirley Ann Field) with his own loyalty and attraction to Nasser's westernized daughter, Tania (Rita Wolf). After successfully transforming his laundrette into a vision of resplendent pastel suds and providing a bright spot in his otherwise squalid London neighborhood, Omar seems to have a bright future in Nasser's organization. The spectre of Johnny's past, however, combines with Omar's conflicted immigrant loyalties to threaten the sense of identity the young man has managed to stake out for himself. British-born, half-Pakistani playwright and novelist Hanif Kureishi won an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette, which was originally filmed for BBC television. Kureishi collaborated again with director Stephen Frears on Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Not content with setting itself in London's Asian community, this also tells a gay love story. Daniel Day Lewis gives a luminous performance as the white ex-National Front hoodlum who befriends an Asian (Warnecke) and helps him create his commercial dream, a laundrette which glitters like a Hollywood picture palace. The fact that Lewis finds himself demoted in the ensuing suds war is typical of Hanif Kureishi's script, which refuses to push Asians into their customary dramatic role as victims. Instead, they're seen as rapacious businessmen, pedalling furiously on their Tebbitite cycles, and therefore puzzled, as well as angered, by the vicious prejudice they suffer at the hands of the establishment. Saeed Jaffrey is marvellous as the smoothest of the smooth operators, and Frears directs in his customarily unfussy style. But the strength of the film is its vision - cutting, compassionate and sometimes hilarious - of what it means to be Asian, and British, in Thatcher's Britain.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE


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

My Beautiful Laundrette, shot on 16mm, looks extremely grainy on Blu-ray from Criterion.  The image reflects a very authentic look for the film which is bathed in rich textures that almost breathe in 1080P.  This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and the overwhelming thickness is immensely appealing - appearing as if the film was projected on a moving shag-rug carpet. Colors are deep and the film's many dark scenes export no digital noise. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and I enjoyed many 'through mirror' shots that are scattered throughout the film. There is no depth nor glossy, tight visuals. This is how the film looks. This Blu-ray video supplies a rewarding and authentic film experience.
















Audio :

Linear PCM mono track - flat with a less-memorable score by one-timer Ludus Tonalis. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion augment their release with some very worthwhile supplements. We get a brand new 1/2 hour conversation between director Stephen Frears and producer Colin MacCabe recorded by Criterion in London in the Spring of 2015. There are also new interviews with writer Hanif Kureishi (16:27), producers Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe (22:20), and Oliver Stapleton (20:59). Hanif won an Oscar nomination for My Beautiful Laundrette, his first screenplay - he discusses the film's inspirations and impact of its success. Originally conceived as a Television movie, My Beautiful Laundrette was the first feature produced by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe, the founders of Working Title. In this short piece, produced by Criterion, the two discuss the film that forever changed their careers. My Beautiful Laundrette was the first feature collaboration between cinematographer Oliver Stapleton and director Stephen Frears, who would go on to work together on seven more films (including The Grifters). In this interview, conducted by Criterion in Devon, England in April 2015, Stapleton talks about working with Frears on this unique project. There is also a trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Graham Fuller.



My Beautiful Laundrette is quite an impacting sociological expose of 80's Thatcher-England existence as it pertains to the Asian/Pakistani community melding with the locals - notably a lower-class gay ex-skinhead played marvelously by the chameleon-like Daniel Day-Lewis, who also played in A Room with a View - released on the very same day as Frears' film back in 1985. This is a wonderful grassroots, almost retro kitchen-sink, masterpiece and a perfect choice for Criterion to release on Blu-ray
. The film's heavy textures fully support its grittiness and realism and the extras add further value. I loved it and seeing sexy Shirley Ann Field again. Our highest recommendation

Gary Tooze

July 8th, 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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