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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Honey Pot [Blu-ray]

 

(Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1967)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Famous Artists Productions

Video: Kino Lorber / Signal One Entertainment

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:11:54.907 / 2:11:53.947

Disc Size: 21,129,894,270 bytes / 22,958,351,968 bytes

Feature Size: 20,477,067,264 bytes / 22,122,053,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.94 Mbps / 18.49 Mbps

Chapters: 8 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (thicker UK case)

Release date: September 8th, 2015 / November 30th, 2015

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

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

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

 

Subtitles:

None / English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Trailer (2:40)

 

The Guardian Interview with Rex Harrison (1971, audio only): the celebrated actor discusses his career (plays alongside the film)
The Guardian Interview with Joseph Mankiewicz (1982 audio only): archival interview held at the NFT (plays alongside the film)

•  Pressbook and Stills Gallery
Original theatrical trailer (2:40)

 

Bitrate:

1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Screen legend Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) stars in this comic charmer as Cecil Sheridan Fox, a sly, wealthy man who pretends to be dying in order to test the love of his former mistresses. But a household full of greed and jealousy leads to trouble, as Cecil soon finds out that he s way over his head as one of his mistresses decides to speed up his funeral. To assist him in his scheme, Fox has hired William McFly (Cliff Robertson, Charly), a handsome gigolo and sometime actor to play the part of his butler and act out the charade. Written and Directed by 4 time Oscar Winner, Joseph L. Mankiewicz For writing and directing the classics, All About Eve and A Letter to Three Wives. The legendary cast included Susan Hayward (The Lusty Men), Capucine (What's New Pussycat), Maggie Smith (My Old Lady) and Adolfo Celi (Thunderball).

***

Millionaire Cecil Fox (Harrison) feigns terminal illness in an attempt to trick three of his former mistresses and find out which of them really cares for him rather his money. The women soon come to his bedside, but what was intended as a wily scheme soon becomes serious as one of his former lovers attempts to give nature a helping hand...

Directed by acclaimed film-maker Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve), this comedy re-working of 'Volpone' stars the great Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady), Susan Hayward (Valley of the Dolls) and Cliff Robertson (Obsession).

 

 

The Film:

Cecil Fox (Rex Harrison) summons his three former mistresses to his deathbed for a final visit in this engaging crime comedy. Princess Dominique (Capucine), fading movie star Merle McGill (Edie Adams), and Texas millionairess Mrs. Sheridan (Susan Hayward) all travel to pay their respects to the supposedly dying Fox. William McFly (Cliff Robertson) is the personal secretary and gigolo employed by Fox to lure the women to his estate. When Mrs. Sheridan is found murdered, Inspector Rizzi (Adolfo Celi) investigates her mysterious death in this feature highlighted by several twists and turns. Alternate titles are Mr. Fox Of Venice and Anyone For Venice?

Excerpt from MRQElocated HERE

Adapted from a play out of a novel based on Ben Jonson's Volpone, Mankiewicz's screenplay finds a contemporary millionaire (Harrison in fine waspish form) inspired after a performance of Jonson's play to re-enact the same plot device on his three former mistresses (Hayward, Capucine and Adams) - posing as a dying man to test their reactions. The structure continually threatens to cave in under the weight of over-fussy dialogue and confusing plot twists, but the high-grade cast (with a pleasingly restrained Maggie Smith as the hypochondriac Hayward's nurse), and some sumptuous photography by Gianni Di Venanzo, make it highly watchable. If cinema and stage farce have to get in bed together, this is one of the more fruitful unions around.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Honey Pot is transferred in 1080P. It doesn't look particularly remarkable but definitely superior to SD. Detail is acceptable and there is depth. Nothing is overly crisp though. Some colors are rich and deep and contrast is supportive. The source is reasonably clean, with a few very light scratches. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, consistent, viewing presentation in regards to the picture quality.

 

Like the other Kino->Signal One Blu-ray comparisons we've done (On the Beach, Hidden Agenda, Cherry 2000, River's Edge) we can see a pattern where the UK is a shade darker (in this case warmer skin tones) and minutely more technically robust. It looks pretty solid (also single-layered and 1080P) - rich colors and excellent in-motion and still shows the good textures.

 

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

 

1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Signal One (subtitle sample) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps in the original English language. There aren't many effects at all in the film - very little in the way of aggression. Dialogue comes through flat but consistent and audible. The score is by John Addison (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The Neanderthal Man) and subtly supports the film's humor and attractive women. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Signal One again go linear PCM - this time mono and it does sound a bit less deep but the Addison score sounds lovely, if, predictably flat. The UK transfer offers optional English (SDH) subtitles and is region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Only a, poor quality, trailer.

 

Signal One vault ahead with their supplements including lengthy, audio-only, interviews (BFI National Archives) with Rex Harrison, from 1971, and Joseph Mankiewicz (1982) running beside the film for the full 2 hours. It's not the cleanest/clearest sound but you can make out the conversations. There is also a Pressbook and Stills Gallery and a theatrical trailer.

 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

BOTTOM LINE:
I must say - I was pretty impressed with The Honey Pot. It was better than I expected - very fun with enjoyable performances. The Honey Pot was Mankiewicz's final screenplay and suffers from being a little too clever with mixed pace. The bare-bones Kino Lorber Blu-ray
is standard for them - a decent, 1080P providing a reasonably good HD presentation. Well above-average film, imperfect but better than one might expect. Recommended!

 

In this repeat viewing I was appreciating Cliff Robertson and some of the gals. It's still a good film - very fun and worth re-visitation. For the record, Signal One Blu-ray is the definitive release, and region 'B'-ers who are interested should be very pleased with the package. One again, the film is recommended!  

Gary Tooze

August 26th, 2015

November 24th, 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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