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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Wicked Lady [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Winner, 1983)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: London-Cannon Films

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:38:59.934

Disc Size: 22,067,071,928 bytes

Feature Size: 21,705,867,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 21st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1665 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1665 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Trailer (1:28)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Legendary actress, Faye Dunaway (3 Days of the Condor, Network, Bonnie & Clyde) looking delectable in her 17th Century wardrobe, stars as Lady Barbara Skelton, a beautiful English socialite who finds her life extremely dull in spite of being married to a rich man (Denholm Elliot, Trading Places). In order to escape her banal existence, Barbara begins an affair with a miscreant criminal, Jackson (Alan Bates, The Go-Between), and together they enter into a life of crime… specifically, highway robbery. As Barbara masquerades as a bandit by day, she must uphold her duties in the social hierarchy by night. A remake of the 1945 classic, The Wicked Lady is a bold foray into deviance. Director Michael Winner (Death Wish) has even gone so far to include an erotic whipping scene between Dunaway and Marina Sirtis (Commander Deanna Troi of TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation). The wonderful supporting cast includes Sir John Gielgud (The Portrait of a Lady), Prunella Scales (Howard's End), Oliver Tobias (The Stud) and Glynis Barber (Terror).

 

 

The Film:

Faye Dunaway stars in Michael Winner's labored re-make of the 1945 swashbuckler, which was co-scripted by Leslie Arliss, the original director of the 1945 film. Dunaway is Lady Barbara Skelton, a lady of the royal class, who becomes a highway robber, taking up with Captain Jerry Jackson (Alan Bates), a highwayman and her lover. Because of a notorious whipping scene in which Lady Barbara and Jackson's girlfriend (Marina Sirtis) take horsewhips to one another, tearing their clothing to strategically-placed ribbons, the film was held back from release because Winner refused to cut the salacious footage. After corralling author Kingsley Amis, and directors John Schlesinger, Karel Reisz, and Lindsay Anderson to attest to the redeeming social value of the scene, the scene stayed in the film.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

'Bawdy', 'full-blooded', 'boisterous romp' - jaded adjectives hover over this particular filmic carcass, and popular British cinema gets another Carry On Up the Restoration. Charles II is squeezing Nell's oranges ho ho, and the very wonderful Dunaway becomes a roaring girl by night, cantering out from secret back passages and getting their money or their lives from rentacrowd in full-bottomed wigs. No village green without a rollicking maypole, no keyhole without a rutting doxy behind it; Tyburn's in there somewhere, and so is that whip-fight which almost constituted a case for censorship.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

The Wicked Lady has come to Blu-ray from the Kino Lorber label although the transfer may be from Scorpion Releasing with their logo appearing at the beginning.  The single-layered  transfer supports some impressive visuals.  Colors have some richness and there is a tightness and depth. This 1.85:1 aspect ratio looks quite good. I see no manipulation and the source used is very clean. This Blu-ray seems to do its job exporting a fine, consistent, 1080P image.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1665 kbps. There are effects and a lively score by Tony Banks that suits the proceedings quite adeptly. There are quite a few pleasing moments for the audio although not much depth. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Only a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think The Wicked Lady couldn't really decide whether to be an honest, period, adventure or a sexual ribald comedy.  I have to admit it isn't too difficult to see Faye Dunaway in various stages of costume (which is quite impressive for the entire film). It has some eroticism but overall doesn't hold together as well as one might hope. But, I did watch the entire film and there were elements to enjoy - the whipping/strip cat-fight being near the top of the list. The bare-bones Kino-Lorber Blu-ray does its job with a decent presentation of a film with some higher-end art-direction. But viewers shouldn't expect too much and the eye-candy alone doesn't carry enough value for a purchase, IMO. 

Gary Tooze

April 13th, 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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