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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Some Call It Loving [Blu-ray]

 

(James B. Harris, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: James B. Harris Productions

Video: Etiquette Pictures

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:43:03.677 

Disc Size: 31,130,257,804 bytes

Feature Size: 23,351,497,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 14th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1077 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1077 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 96 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 96 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Commentary with Director James B. Harris
• "Some Call it History" - video featurette with Director James B. Harris (6:52)
• "A Dream So Real" - video featurette with Cinematographer Mario Tosi (8:27)
Extensive Outtakes with Commentary (15:56)
• 8-page Booklet with essay by Kevin John Bozelka
Reversible Cover w/ original French art

DVD included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In this modern day re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty, a disillusioned musician named Robert (Zalman King) obtains a carnival act from a sleazy carny and brings home a young girl (Tisa Farrow) who has been asleep for many years. After bringing her to his secluded castle and awakening her with a kiss, Robert tries to introduce her to his strange and magical world, but as their relationship develops Jennifer begins to pine for a life that is more complex than Robert can offer.

Director James B. Harris (Cop, Fast Walking) combines magical realism with sumptuous visuals by cinematographer Mario Tosi (Carrie, The Stunt Man) and a haunting score by Richard Hazzard (Xanadu, Terms of Endearment) to create a poetic love story like no other. Etiquette Pictures brings this forgotten masterpiece to Blu-ray and DVD for the very first time, in a new, Director & Cinematographer approved 2K restoration from the 35mm camera negative.

 

 

The Film:

Wonderfully bizarre fantasy, based on a John Collier short story, about a world-weary jazz musician (King) obsessed with the dream of innocence incarnated by a carnival sleeping beauty (Farrow) whom he buys, takes back to his baroque Californian mansion (already inhabited by two ambivalently voluptuous women), and awakens for a haunting game of death and love betrayed. Conceived by Harris after working with Kubrick on the script of Lolita, it works as a kind of free jazz improvisation (there is a marvellous score by Richard Hazard), and might be described as a further exploration of what Nabokov's Humbert Humbert called his 'petrified paroxysm of desire'. Unmissable for anyone with an open mind and a sense of cinematic adventure.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

A strange fable of love, reminiscent of the classic fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty," which has King buying the sleeping Farrow from a carnival side show. His idealistic view of love is never realized, and eventually he returns her to her sleeping state. Pryor plays King's drug-crazed friend. White is charismatic as the apparently bisexual mistress of the manor where King takes his newly awakened beauty. Farrow is the younger sister of actress Mia Farrow. This was writer-producer-director Harris' second directorial stint; he directed THE BEDFORD INCIDENT in 1965

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

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

Some Call It Loving comes to Blu-ray from Etiquette Pictures which seems to have some relationships with the chaps at Vinegar Syndrome - who are frequently releasing curious titles to 1080P. Likewise, this is a very clandestine film, perhaps unfairly dismissed initially but a highly interesting work to explore - now 40 years later. It's modest budget, and age, belies the visual quality - adeptly transferred via a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The presentation attributes include the heavy textures (plenty of consistent grain) and deeper, richer colors than SD could relate although there may be some shifting and less-noticeable bleeding. The image is a shade inconsistent improving quite a bit as the film runs and the outdoor sequences show some depth. This Blu-ray image seems to be a reasonable facsimile of what it was probably like theatrically and I found the heavy textures quite, film-like, and appealing. It is described as a "Director & Cinematographer approved 2K restoration from the 35mm camera negative."

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The film's audio is fairly unremarkable but transferred via a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track at 1077 kbps. The scattering of the dialogue is more in-line with the production limitations and the score by Richard Hazard (Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla - an extra on Grindhouse Releasing's Massacre Mafia Style) is passive, for the most part. There is other music; the Sleeping Beauty theme by Bob Harris and you will catch some of Nat 'King' Cole's The Very Thought of You. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Etiquette Pictures go the extra mile with some pleasing supplements including a commentary by director James B. Harris who discusses details of the production and more. There is also a 7-minute piece entitled "Some Call it History" with Harris further talking about the film genesis. Cinematographer Mario Tosi gives us 8-minutes with "A Dream So Real" video featurette. There are 16-minutes extensive outtakes with commentary (appropriate since the original sound was lost). The package has an 8-page Booklet with essay by Kevin John Bozelka, a reversible cover w/ original French art and a second disc DVD of the feature included.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
On the surface Some Call It Loving doesn't seem to offer much - but looking deeper I can see this has some very interesting themes explored.  It may be advantageous to see it all as a dream about innocence, maturity, desire etc. I wouldn't day it's a masterpiece but it does deserve at least a few spins to capture the subtext's essence. The Etiquette Pictures Blu-ray has value, if primarily to see the film. It won't be on any 'demo' lists for the a/v but it probably won't look any better than it does. I think a significant number of people will appreciate what Harris was attempting - and, in many respects, achieving. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 6th, 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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