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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Places in the Heart [Blu-ray]


(Robert Benton, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: TriStar Pictures

Video: Twilight Time



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player) Limited to 3,000 Copies!

Runtime: 1:51:14.918 

Disc Size: 31,442,270,721 bytes

Feature Size: 30,774,749,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1078 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1078 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1694 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1694 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1799 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1799 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (SDH), None



Audio Commentary with Actress Sally Field and film historian Nick Redman

Theatrical Trailer (2:30)

Isolated Score

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo





Description: Places in the Heart (1984) is writer-director Robert Benton’s nostalgic but thoroughly unsentimental memory piece about growing up in a small Texas town during the Great Depression. Focusing on a young widow (the Oscar®-winning Sally Field) who suddenly has to support her two young children, the film celebrates the community she gathers around her: a black hobo (Danny Glover) who begins as a thief and winds up as a friend and mentor; a cranky blind boarder (John Malkovich); a pragmatic sister (Lindsay Crouse) who is supporting her own family, including a husband (Ed Harris) with a penchant for her best friend (Amy Madigan). Their grit and determination are poignantly presented with an assist from the sterling cinematography of Nestor Almendros (Days of Heaven).



The Film:

Of the three "mortgage on the farm" films of 1984 (Country and The River were the other two), Places in the Heart is the only one set during the Depression. After her husband is killed, Sally Field is forced to take over the debt-ridden Texas family farm herself. Though slightly embittered by the fact that a black man was responsible for her husband's death, Field accepts the help of another African-American, Danny Glover. She is also given aid and comfort by her blind boarder, John Malkovich. Despite almost insurmountable odds, Field manages to bring in the cotton crop and to hold her farm and family together. Throughout the film, director Robert Benton stresses the importance of solidarity in facing down disaster, underlining this point with a remarkable surrealistic finale, in which the "live" members of the cast are seen singing a hymn with the characters who have "died" in the course of the film. Places in the Heart won Sally Field her second Academy Award.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Few movies hit you so unabashedly over the head and in the heart with melodramatic heft as Robert Benton’s Places in the Heart, yet manage to avoid feeling cheap. Places definitely feels manipulative and sometimes even shameless, but cheap isn’t a word that applies here. The film is gorgeous, and not just in its many landscape shots. Even the film’s interior scenes are framed well and attractive. There’s a picaresque vision of the Depression-era Dust Bowl that should ring false, yet somehow, it doesn’t bother me. The machinations of the plot are on full display (within the first ten minutes there are two deaths, an affair, and the threat of a lost home), but I never felt cynical toward the parade of tragedy that the film presents. The horrors that we see feel like a greatest hits selection of Midwestern traumas, and rarely lets up. I realized my critical sensors should have been rejecting the film’s obviousness, but I didn’t dislike what I was seeing at all. That rare reaction to the film (I am often accused of being a cynic) functions similarly to my experience when I read the first Harry Potter book. I knew what I was reading lacked much depth of character or politic, but the sheer amount of narrative thrust basically kept me from noticing, and kept me enraptured.

Excerpt from MovieMartyr located HERE


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

Places in the Heart come to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with a very high bitrate. The visuals show some heavy textures. Contrast has some nice layering and the visuals seem fairly tight, but the grain is the most positive attribute of the strong HD transfer. It looks impressive in-motion.  A few colors are quite vibrant but mostly hues look natural and un-manipulated. This looks very strong and consistent with no damage or speckles or any kind. The Blu-ray image has no flaws - it gave me a solid 1080P presentation without noise or artifacts.




















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master mono track at 1078 kbps sounds clean with a few impressive moments in pushing the film's modest depth through. John Kander (Cabaret) composed and adapted the score which includes some period music; In The Garden, Blessed Assurance, Cotton-Eyed Joe and In the Sweet By and By. Twilight Time offer an isolated score in a slightly more robust lossless track. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Twilight Time add an interesting audio commentary with actress Sally Field and film historian Nick Redman taking the lead and posing discussion points. There is also a theatrical trailer, the aforementioned isolated score and a liner notes leaflet with some photos and text by Julie Kirgo.



Places in the Heart is a beautiful, warm, film that works on many levels without being cloying or overly sentimental. Benton does a superlative job in restraining the melodrama and advancing the story with even pacing. It's an easy, touching film to re-watch. The performances are strong.  The Twilight Time Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v transfer and further value with the commentary, isolated score and liner notes. It's a great package of a great film - strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 22nd, 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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