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directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
USA 1998


The second (and only other) feature work of director Lesli Linka Glatter (NOW AND THEN) - since consigned like most female directors of late to episodic television - THE PROPOSITION is a handsomely-mounted and well-acted classy melodrama largely ruined by post-production tinkering (additional photography is credited to DRESSED TO KILL's Ralf Bode) that imposes incessant narration and a flashback structure that has its protagonist relating events at which he was not present (which he could have surmised but not all in such detail) and others in which the listener actually was present of which the prologue is meant to suggest he is largely ignorant. Reluctantly assigned by the machinations of his wealthy father to the rich St. Jude parish, Father McKinnon (Kenneth Branagh, HENRY V) decides to make the best of it while trying to avoid the patronage of the church's number one benefactor Arthur Barrett (William Hurt, ALTERED STATES) - who has just been appointed to President Roosevelt's foreign finance commission - and his younger, independently-minded authoress wife Eleanor (Madeleine Stowe, 12 MONKEYS). Unable to give Eleanor a child due to his sterility - and with Eleanor eager to experience "the real thing" - Arthur conspires with business partner Hannibal Thurman (Robert Loggia, JAGGED EDGE) to find a suitably intelligent and good-looking surrogate to father a child against the misgivings of Arthur's longtime confidante Syril (Blythe Danner, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2): "You're about to give an educated woman complete control of her life." After chosen young suitor Roger Martin (a post-DOOGIE HOWSER, pre-HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER Neil Patrick Harris) falls in love with Eleanor and tries to claim rights on her unborn child by threatening to expose Arthur as "his wife's pimp," Eleanor's subsequent discover of his corpse in a pauper's grave leads to her miscarriage. Eleanor makes a confession to McKinnon who is threatened by his superior Father Dryer (Josef Sommer, MALICE) - who runs the church "like a business" and even refers to the congregation as belonging to Barrett - with violating the Seal of Confession when he
Even after the death of Roger is ruled as a suicide, Eleanor's suspicions linger and she starts seeing McKinnon in secret seeking assurance of Arthur's good nature from a man who cannot give it. With Syril reporting on their clandestine and increasingly heated meetings to Arthur, the very reason that McKinnon sought to avoid involvement with the Barretts may be the idea reason to consider him as a replacement suitor (although the omnipresent narration and editing do far more to push them together than Syril or Arthur). The Barrett's Boston manse is Castle Hill, also prominently featured in FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC and THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 27 March 1998 (USA)

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DVD Review: Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:47:20 (4% PAL speedup)

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.94 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Simply Media

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
� none

DVD Release Date: July 4th, 2016

Chapters 12





Although a barebones package, Simply Media has afforded one of the handsomer Universal masters a high bitrate dual-layer encode (7.04 GB) as well as two audio options: the original Dolby Digital 5.1 track (this was an early Dolby Digital title) and a 2.0 stereo downmix. There are no subtitle options or any extras. The German, Italian, and Australian DVDs presumably utilize the same master, but only the UK edition is confirmed to have the 5.1 audio track (the German DVD is also dual-layer but only has 2.0 Surround English audio and a 5.1 German dub).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL



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