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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Knack... and How to Get It [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Lester, 1965)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Woodfall Film Productions

Video: Kino Lorber / BFI Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:25:11.189 / 1:26:10.021

Disc Size: 20,287,428,882 bytes / 44,902,390,189 bytes

Feature Size: 17,919,805,440 bytes / 21,526,078,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.94 Mbps / 27.67 Mbps

Chapters: 9 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Standard UK Blu-ray case

Release date: January 12th, 2016 / June 18th, 2018

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)

 

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

English (SDH), none

 

 

Extras:

"Trailers From Hell" with Allan Arkush (3:00)
The Bed Sitting Room "Trailers From Hell" with John Landis (3:31)
Trailer Gallery (The Knack and How to Get It - 3:44, The Bed Sitting Room - 3:17, How I Won the War - 3:13, Juggernaut - 2:54, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - 2:23)

 

 Commentary by Neil Sinyard

 Captain Busby the Even Tenour of Her Ways (1967, 16:14 mins): Ann Wolff's surreal riff on Philip O'Connor's poem, featuring Quentin Crisp
  Now and Then: Dick Lester (1967, 17:43 mins): Bernard Braden's wide-ranging interview with the director
 Rita Tushingham Remembers The Knack...and How to Get It (2018, 10:33 mins): newly shot interview
 Staging The Knack...and How to Get It (2018, 1:53 mins): interview with the director of the first stage version of The Knack...
 British Cinema in the 1960s: Richard Lester in Conversation (2018, 58:35 mins): the director discusses his career with Neil Sinyard
 Stills Gallery (02:57)
Illustrated booklet with writing by Neil Sinyard and Melanie Williams, plus full film credits
Commentary by Neil Sinyard
 George Devine Memorial Play: Exit the King (4:09)

DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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).

 

 

The Film:

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.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

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.

 

BFI have released "The Knack...and How to Get It" in 1080p on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc. The film has a reasonable bitrate of 24.55 Mbps. The film quality changes as the film progresses, due to different film stock being used during production. There is some minor damage throughout the film but it is not overwhelming. Instances of vertical scratches, speckles, and debris sporadically appear. The new BFI has a better grain structure and seems to have a more impressive contrast, with a wider spectrum (deeper) of blacks and grays.

 

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

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1576 kbps in 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.

 

BFI give us a linear PCM 2.0 (24-bit) audio track here. It sounds crisper than the previous Region-A Kino (16-bit DTS-HD) version. The film's sense of humor and style is appropriately shown through the music and sound effects. It is no surprise that Lester found some of his greatest collaborators in a little band called 'The Beatles'. Speaking of music, the film has a great John Barry (of James Bond fame) score and yes, that is Michael "Phantom of the Opera" Crawford starring in the film as well. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'B' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

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.

 

The first extra is an initially unlisted commentary track with British film critic, Neil Sinyard (author of Richard Lester (British Film Makers) and The Films of Richard Lester). Next up is (another unlisted extra) "George Devine Memorial Play: Exit the King" which is a 4-minute adaptation of the Ionesco play. "Captain Busby the Even Tenour of Her Ways" which is a 16-minute piece. Here is Ann Wolff's surreal riff on Philip O'Connor's poem, featuring Quentin Crisp. Up next we have "Now and Then: Dick Lester" which is a 17-minute interview by Bernard Braden. The interview covers a wide range of topics. "Rita Tushingham Remembers The Knack...and How to Get It" is a brand new 11-minute interview with actress Tushingham. "Staging The Knack...and How to Get It" is another new extra. This is a 2-minute interview with the director of the first stage version of "The Knack...". Up next is "British Cinema in the 1960s: Richard Lester in Conversation" which is another brand new extra, a full 1 hour conversation with director Lester discussing his career with Neil Sinyard. There is a second disc DVD and an all new Illustrated booklet with writing by Neil Sinyard and Melanie Williams. This booklet also includes full film credits.

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 

 

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Knack... and How to Get It is a fun UK romp. I enjoyed it quite a lot. The silliness is charismatic and it seems to capture a time of sexual expression's less-balanced political correctness - pushing the envelope of the times. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray
is pretty solid and it did give me the opportunity to see the film in 1080P. I'll definitely watch it again, one day.

 

Loads of British fun and a great BFI Blu-ray package that eclipses the Kino. What's not to love? Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 6th, 2016

Coin Zavitz

June 21st, 2018

 

 




 

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