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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Rose [Blu-ray]


(Mark Rydell, 1979)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #757



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

Runtime: 2:14:39.362 

Disc Size: 48,657,862,626 bytes

Feature Size: 35,459,635,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.17 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: May 19th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3887 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3887 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), none



• Audio commentary featuring director Mark Rydell
New interview with actor Bette Midler (17:11)
New conversation between Rydell and film historian and filmmaker Charles Dennis (16:08)
New conversation between Zsigmond and cinematographer John Bailey (30:28)
Archival interviews with Midler and Rydell, with on-set footage (Today - 19:42 / Gene Shallit - 14:08)
PLUS: An essay by critic Paula Mejia






Description: Bette Midler exploded onto the screen with her take-no-prisoners performance in this quintessential film about fame and addiction from director Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond). Midler is the rock-and-roll singer Mary Rose Foster (known as the Rose to her legions of fans), whose romantic relationships and mental health are continuously imperiled by the demands of life on the road. Incisively scripted by Bo Goldman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and beautifully shot by Blow Out’s Vilmos Zsigmond (with assistance on the dazzling concert scenes by a host of other world-class cinematographers, including Conrad L. Hall, László Kovács, Owen Roizman, and Haskell Wexler), this is a sensitively drawn and emotionally overwhelming melodrama that made the popular singer into a movie star as well.



The Film:

Bette Midler stars as Rose in this somber drama loosely based on the life of the late Janis Joplin. She plays an ill-fated singer who succumbs to the pressures of performing by indulging in drugs and alcohol. Her sweetheart Dyer (Frederic Forrest) is the former chauffeur who naively tries to save her from self destruction, while her British manager Rudge (Alan Bates) is ultimately blamed for not preventing her inevitable fall. The story mirrors any one of a number of popular singers who have fallen victim to the excess of success. Midler and Forrest were nominated for Oscars for their performances, with Best Editing laurels given to Timothy O'Meara and Robert Wolf. The Rose was a box office smash and was the plum role that elevated Midler to star status in the eyes of the public and Hollywood.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

By the time you realize what's wrong with "The Rose," it will have you hooked anyhow. There are so many finely drawn episodes, so much brittle, raunchy humor, and such an unexpectedly alluring performance from Bette Midler in the title role that the movie maintains its momentum even after it's gone off the track. Its strengths may only be those of a good show-business soap opera, and its structure is disjointed beyond repair. But "The Rose" has an earnest, affecting character at its core. Even at its most preposterous, it never feels like a fraud.

"The Rose," which opens at the Ziegfeld today, seems to have been conceived as both a vehicle for Miss Midler and a way to tell a story like Janis Joplin's. So The Rose — who shares The Divine Miss M's odd habit of incorporating an article into her nickname — emerges as a creature of many contradictions. Although the story is supposedly set in 1969, Miss Midler is so thoroughly a product of the 70's that it becomes hard for her to handle certain aspects of the tale, notably those having to do with Rose's hippie abandon and her essential fragility. Miss Midler herself seems about as fragile as a bull elephant, no matter how stridently the screenplay insists that she eventually self-destruct.

Excerpt from NY Times located HERE


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

The Rose has come to Blu-ray from, none other than, Criterion. The image has plenty of delicious textured grain. It offers bright colors and a minor sense of depth in the heavy thick-looking 1.85:1 frame.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 2 1/4 hour film and we can guess that it is a solid representation of the theatrical appearance. Obviously, it has no glossiness and I could see no artifacts or noise. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies an authentic 1080P presentation.


















Audio :

Criterion pack a powerful audio transfer as well with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround bump at 3887 kbps. Concert mania and crowd cheering come through with separation but the key is the songs. Obviously the music is all Bette Midler performing pieces written by Kenny Hopkins, Sammy Hagar and Bob Seger with memorable songs like Midnight in Memphis, When a Man Loves a Woman and, of course, The Rose - one of the biggest selling vinyl singles of 1980. It sounds amazing augmented by the 'live' feel. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion include the 2003 audio commentary featuring director Mark Rydell detailing specifics of the production and performances. We get a new, 17-minute, interview with actor Bette Midler conducted by Criterion in march of 2015. She reflects on how she became involved, other memories of working with Rydell, and reminiscences of the production. Also new, from Criterion, is a 16-minute conversation between Rydell and film historian and, his friend, filmmaker Charles Dennis from December 2014 in Los Angeles discussing the making of the film. Many will be keen to see the new 1/2 hour conversation between DoP Vilmos Zsigmond and cinematographer John Bailey talking about the work on The Rose. Also included are archival interviews with Midler and Rydell, with on-set footage from The Today Show for 20minutes and Bette with Gene Shalit for a 1/4 of an hour. There is also a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Paula Mejia.



The Rose is a remarkable portrait. Midler gives one of the most memorable performances of the 70s - referenced more as a tribute to Bette than Janis as she pours her heart and soul into the role. I initially thought it an odd choice for the Criterion Collection to produce on Blu-ray but it is an important film and one well worth revisiting through the years. The heavy grain image and wonderful audio make it very appealing along with the commentary and new supplements adding essential value. Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

May 11th, 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
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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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