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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Women in Love [Blu-ray]

 

(Ken Russell, 1969)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Brandywine Productions

Video: BFI

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:10:46.625

Disc Size: 49,560,277,896 bytes

Feature Size: 40,872,441,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 22nd, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.75:1

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

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

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Audio commentary with director Ken Russell
Audio commentary with writer and producer Larry Kramer

Billy Williams OBE BSC in conversation with Phil Méheux BSC (2015, 49 mins): in-depth interview with the Oscar winning cinematographer (49:17)
Second Best (Stephen Dartnell, 1972, 27 mins): previously unreleased short film starring Alan Bates based on the short story by D H Lawrence (26:33)
The Guardian Lecture: Glenda Jackson interviewed at the National Film Theatre (1982, 77 mins, audio only - played to the film)
The Pacemakers: Glenda Jackson (1971, 14 mins): a documentary profile in which the actress speaks of her performance in Women in Love (14:19)
Stills and Collections gallery (3:21)

Original theatrical trailer (3:31)
Illustrated booklet with new writing by Michael Brooke, Paul Sutton and Vic Pratt, and full film credits

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Ken Russell's lauded D H Lawrence adaptation is a sophisticated meditation on the complexities of human relationships and the shifting social mores of a country shell-shocked by World War One.

Women in Love was hailed upon its release, earning four Academy Award nominations, and the Best Actress Oscar for Glenda Jackson. Audiences flocked to see its famous, erotically-charged naked wrestling scene, and critics celebrated the film's opulent design, handsome cinematography and the compelling ensemble performances of Alan Bates, Jennie Linden, Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson. Often regarded as Russell's masterpiece, Women in Love endures as one of British cinema's finest achievements.

 

 

The Film:

Women in Love is set in 1920s England, where free-spirited artist Gudrun (Glenda Jackson) and her schoolteacher sister Ursula (Jennie Linden) make the acquaintance of lifelong friends Gerald (Oliver Reed) and Rupert (Alan Bates). The foursome attends a picnic in honor of a pair of newlyweds, who put a damper on the proceedings (literally!) by drowning in a nearby lake. Evidently unscathed by this tragedy, Gerald and Rupert participate in a nude wrestling match later that evening (this was the sequence that got the most press, thanks to fleeting glimpses of the male stars' privates). Gerald marries Gudrun, Rupert weds Ursula, and the foursome embarks upon a Swiss honeymoon. The holiday is marred by infidelity and sudden death, leaving Rupert to wonder aloud just what it is that makes men and women "tick." An Academy Award went to Glenda Jackson, while nominations were bestowed upon screenwriter Larry Kramer and cinematographer Billy Williams (who received an uncredited assist from director Ken Russell).

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

It came relatively early in his cinema career, though he’d already been a BBC veteran for more than a decade. He came to it fresh from helming the third and campest of Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer spy adventures, Billion-Dollar Brain. It’s hard to imagine a film more different to that one than Women In Love – except that they’re both clearly the work of a born filmmaker who thought the greatest crime you could commit was boring your audience.

From the opening scene, tracking the Brangwen sisters Gudrun (Glenda Jackson) and Ursula (Jennie Linden) as they leave their house and make their way through a perfectly recreated Nottinghamshire pit village, like two vibrant, beautiful birds bringing colour to their grey surroundings, Russell takes a full-tilt approach to bringing DH Lawrence’s novel alive on screen in all its earthy, sensual – and often ludicrously overblown – glory.

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE

 

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

Women in Love gets an impressive 4K restoration transfer to Blu-ray from BFI. It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 2 hour 10-minute feature. Grain textures are fine and consistent supporting a very film-like rendering buoyed by Billy Williams exquisite cinematography and the sumptuous set pieces. Colors are brighter and truer than SD could relate and there is no noise whatsoever. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some minor depth in the 1.75:1 frame.  It's extremely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are really no flaws with the appearance which generally looks gorgeous. This Blu-ray provides one of the better transfer of the year from BFI.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

BFI give the option of mono or 2.0 channel linear PCM audio tracks. It carries some depth although there isn't an abundance of aggressive effects and dialogue is clean and clear. Georges Delerue (Mister Johnson, Jules et Jim, The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) did the score and it benefits from the uncompressed rendering creating an authentic 'period' atmosphere. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

BFI stack the release starting with two audio commentaries - a first with director Ken Russell - always enlightening, a second - also revealing - with writer and producer Larry Kramer and we also are privy to, for the first 77-minutes of viewing the film, Glenda Jackson interviewed at the National Film Theatre - audio from The Guardian Lecture series while watching the first 1 1/4 hours of Women n in Love. Billy Williams OBE BSC is in conversation with Phil Méheux BSC for almost 50-minutes for in-depth interview, from 2015, with the Oscar winning cinematographer. There are also two shorts; Second Best (Stephen Dartnell, 1972, 27 mins): previously unreleased - starring Alan Bates based on the short story by D H Lawrence and The Pacemakers: Glenda Jackson (1971, 14 mins): a documentary profile in which the actress speaks of her performance in Women in Love. There is a stills and collections gallery that runs about 3.5 minutes and an original theatrical trailer. The package contains an illustrated, liner notes, booklet with new writing by Michael Brooke, Paul Sutton and Vic Pratt, and full film credits.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Kern Russell's Women in Love is another masterpiece - and after The Devils - probably my favorite from the director. As well as a highly interesting, provocative, story - it's simply a beautiful film with amazing performances.  The BFI Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with plenty of valued supplements. This is easy to put in the 'must-own' and 'don't hesitate' category for digital librarians everywhere. It could easily be considered the Blu-ray release of the year... great work from BFI and all involved! 

Gary Tooze

August 21st, 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.

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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