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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane [Blu-ray]

 

(Nicolas Gessner, 1976)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Braun Entertainment Group

Video: Signal One Entertainment / Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:31:50.755 / 1:31:52.548

Disc Size:  23,892,442,146 bytes / 36,742,562,480 bytes

Feature Size: 23,497,086,336 bytes / 28,034,703,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps / 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8 / 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 5th, 2015 / May 10th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

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

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1848 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1848 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1604 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1604 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (HoH), None

None

 

Extras:

• Audio commentary by Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer
Original theatrical (2:03)

 

Audio Commentary by director Nicolas Gessner

Interview with Martin Sheen (27:27)

Conversation between Sheen and Gessner (5:33)

Original Trailer (2:01)
 

Bitrate:

 

1) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP
2)
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Rynn Jacobs (Jodie Foster) is a smart thirteen-year-old girl who lives in a secluded house that she and her father rent. After a number of locals come calling, they find that Rynn's father is never around. Suspicions are soon raised and members of the community - including the local police officer (Mort Shuman) and the landlord's sleazy son (Martin Sheen) - make it their business to pry into Rynn's affairs. But how far will she go to hide the truth of what she has been up to?

Featuring an outstanding performance by a young Jodie Foster, this dark and unsettling film was released the same year as her other critically acclaimed hits Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone.

 

 

The Film:

In this Canadian thriller, Jodie Foster plays the title character, a reclusive, fiercely self-reliant teenager who lives alone in her father's house. When visitors call, Foster explains that her father is away on business. He's away, all right...far, far, away. And Foster, determined not to lose her independence, will go to any lengths to protect her secret, a fact that nosy neighbor Alexis Smith learns to her regret. A new danger to Foster's well-being looms in the form of pedophile Martin Sheen, who schemes to place the girl in a compromising position. Offering a helping hand to Foster is misfit teenager Mario (Scott Jacoby). Laird Koenig adapted his own novel to the screen.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

In the atmospheric and creepy shocker, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), Rynn Jacobs (Jodie Foster) is a precocious 13-year-old girl whose poet father has died, leaving her to carry on alone in their isolated seaside house where she reads Emily Dickinson and listens to Chopin.

Fearful that her father's death will result in an unwanted guardianship, Rynn pretends that her father is still alive, telling the kindly local policeman Miglioriti (Mort Shuman) and her cruel landlady Mrs. Hallet (Alexis Smith) that her father is working, or away on business whenever they stop by. But Rynn's secret is most threatened by the lecherous landlady's adult son Frank (Martin Sheen), who has sexual designs on young Rynn.

The one person Rynn is able to confide her secret to is an equally eccentric local boy, the precocious Mario (Scott Jacoby), who even comes to her aid when the anti-Semitic Mrs. Hallet and her son start snooping into Rynn's home life.

This Canadian-French co-production, which was shot in Canada and directed by Hungarian-born director Nicolas Gessner features a chilling, unsettling portrait of American small-town life defined by snobbery, casual racism and the money and influence that allows people like Mrs. Hallet to keep her pedophile son out of jail.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

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

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane gets a decent single-layered transfer to Blu-ray from Signal One Entertainment in the UK. It has a high bitrate, in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, is progressive and clean - I'd say this looks like a very good representation of a film that tens to look like it was made for television. There are instances of depth, natural colors, appreciated texture and good contrast. Surprisingly strong - I was very positive on how this looked in-motion!

 

Video is very similar. The Kino has the higher bitrate (+ dual-layered) and may be marginally superior in-motion. Not enough for most fans to take notice. Another competent and pleasing transfer.

 

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

 

Subtitle Sample Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP
2)
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP
2)
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP
2)
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. There aren't many effects - some outdoor wind etc. . The score is by Christian Gaubert and it seems fairly unnoticeable although there are instances of heightened suspense by the music. Dialogue sounds extremely clear and tight - if, predictably flat. There are optional English (HoH) subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Kino go for a DTS-HD Master and it's rich and deep - sounding very solid in the lossless. No subtitles are offered on the region 'A' Blu-ray.

 

Extras :

Signal One add an audio commentary by Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer. Thompson takes the lead and seems fairly prepared as they both discuss the film's 'TV look', Jodie and Martin and the film's disguised Canadian roots. They state it is the uncensored Canadian version of the film (there is some nudity). I appreciated the insights. There is also a theatrical trailer.

 

A different commentary by director Nicolas Gessner, and trailer but Kino add more; a half-hour interview with Martin Sheen and a reunion Skype conversation between Sheen and Gessner for 5.5 minutes. Neither are particularly professionally polished extras but they have some value and advance upon the Signal One.

 

Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane is unsettling - almost unintentionally. I found it an uncomfortable but intriguing story. Wonderful to see very young Jodie Foster in this strong characterization and the undesirable Martin Sheen 'neighborhood creep' portrayal. It's not so much about pre-teen maturing or anything along those lines but has well-established elements of a thriller and mystery touching lightly towards horror - without delving too deeply into that latter genre. There are whole groups of people on the Internet postulating on the film's themes, the color red, and explanations.... It's quite a well-made, and cult-followed, film!  The Signal One Entertainment Blu-ray (LOVE the cover!) has a lot of value with a competent 1080P image, a very strong film that is not easily seen in broadcast or disc and you will also appreciate the commentary. I'm very pleased and look forward to revisiting it again. Absolutely recommended!

 

I still like this film - quite a lot. The Kino goes a little further than its UK counterpart - more robust a/v and additional, if less-rewarding, supplements. Great to have this come to Region 'A' - its such an intriguing and unusual film - still recommended!  

Gary Tooze

October 7th, 2015

May 5th, 2016

 


 

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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