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The Knack... and How to Get It [Blu-ray]
(Richard Lester, 1965)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Woodfall Film Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,287,428,882 bytes
Feature Size: 17,919,805,440 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.94 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 12th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1576 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1576 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• "Trailers From Hell" with Allan Arkush (3:00)
Description:You either do or you don't. The Knack, that is, of seduction! From Richard Lester, the director of the A Hard Day's Night and Juggernaut comes this inventive and hilarious romp through love and sex in 1960s London. Featuring a wildly frenetic filmmaking style - careening from slapstick to serious to avant-garde - this genuinely dazzling film is a mod masterpiece that won the prestigious Palm d Or (Best Film) at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival! Cool and sophisticate Tolen (Ray Brooks) has a monopoly on womanizing - with a long line of conquests to prove it - while the naive and awkward Colin (Michael Crawford, How I Won the War) desperately wants a piece of it. But when Colin falls for an innocent country girl (Rita Tushingham, The Bed Sitting Room), it's not long before the self assured Tolen moves in for the kill. Is all fair in love and war, or can Colin get The Knack and beat Tolen at his own game? Featuring un-credited appearances by future stars Jacqueline Bisset (The Deep), Jane Birkin (Blow-Up), Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter) and a rousing score from legendary John Barry (Dr. No).
Richard Lester's The Knack. . .and How to Get It is thought by many to be a classic black-and-white comedy of sexual mores in swinging 60s London, but the film's value as more than a relic of its time is lessened by its frequently stagy dialogue and lighthearted view of sexual assault. Playfully ripping off everyone from Buster Keaton to Jean-Luc Godard, Lester uses the same offhand, non sequitur humor, jump cutting, and sight gags that made his Beatles film, A Hard Day's Night, such a joy. But while they all have their moments, Michael Crawford, Rita Tushingham, Ray Brooks, and Donal Donnelly are not the Beatles, and only Donnelly, given many of the script's funniest lines, approaches their realm of impudent charm. Lester's use of the voices of older Londoners as a kind of "square" Greek chorus is a hackneyed and sometimes irritating device. There are some funny moments in the film, but a lot of the humor is rooted in obvious Benny Hill-style double entendres (such as Colin's (Crawford) repeated whining about the size of his "bed"). The last third of the film, through which Tushingham runs through London, repeatedly (and wrongfully) crying "rape" was obviously meant to be irreverent, shocking, and funny. Nowadays, it's just discomfiting. The Knack is very watchable as a product of its times, but it doesn't deserve its reputation as a classic of the British cinema.
Colin (Michael Crawford, who much later won a Tony Award for his role in Broadway's Phantom of the Opera) is an uptight schoolteacher whose housemate, Tolen (Ray Brooks) is a consummate womanizer. Colin imagines a long line of young women in tight white sweaters on his stairwell, waiting to get into Tolen's room. Jealous of Tolen's incredible success with the ladies, Colin asks Tolen for advice on how to get a girl. When Tolen's advice doesn't seem very practical, Colin decides that his first order of business is to get a bigger bed. Colin is also trying to find a third roommate to take a spare room. Tom (Donal Donnelly), who seems compelled to paint everything in sight, happens by the house, and inserts himself in the spare room without so much as saying "hello." Nancy (Rita Tushingham of A Taste of Honey) is new in town, and wanders the streets of London in a fruitless search for the YWCA. She runs into Colin and Tom at the dump, where they are procuring a gigantic bed. They offer her a ride, and proceed to race through London on the bed. Colin seems too shy to speak much to Nancy, despite Tom's encouragement. Eventually, the trio reach Colin's house, where Tolen works his gruff magic on Nancy, and havoc ensues. Capturing late 1960s London in black-and-white, Richard Lester's The Knack. . .and How to Get It was released between the director's two successes with the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night and Help. The script, by Charles Wood (An Awfully Big Adventure) is based on a play by Ann Jellicoe. Future stars Jacqueline Bisset, Charlotte Rampling, and Jane Birkin appear briefly amid all the attractive young women in the film.Excerpt from MRQE 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 Knack... and How to Get It has some softness and a shade of inconsistency in the contrast in the beginning, looking at tad washed-out/faded, but settles down to look quite appealing. There is some depth in the visuals and decent detail in close-ups. There is also a slight thickness that connotes a film-like presentation. I noticed a few speckles that didn't impinge upon the viewing. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable 1080P viewing.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1576 kbpsin the original English language. There are no notable effects in the film - but the score by the iconic John Barry (Midnight Cowboy, Dances With Wolves and the Bond themes among his many credits) helps the film's light moods and sounds decent in lossless. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Kino Lorber provide two "Trailers From Hell" segments - one regarding The Knack and How to Get It with Allan Arkush and a second focusing on The Bed Sitting Room with John Landis. They are around 3-minutes each and have comments about the film's trailer and production. There is also a trailer gallery with The Knack and How to Get It, The Bed Sitting Room, How I Won the War, Juggernaut, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
January 6th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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