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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy [Blu-ray]

 

(Woody Allen, 1982)

 

Also available in Arrow Academy's Woody Allen: Six Films - 1979-1985 [Blu-ray] which contains Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Stardust Memories, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Zelig, and Broadway Danny Rose

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Orion Pictures

Video: Arrow Academy

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:27:55.478 

Disc Size: 28,101,407,883 bytes

Feature Size: 27,604,535,616 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.63 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Transparent Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 12th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Trailer (1:19)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Woody Allen's first period piece since Love and Death seven years earlier is set in the early 1900s, and revolves around six characters getting together in a country house in upstate New York to celebrate the upcoming wedding of the distinguished philosopher Leopold (Jose Ferrer) and his much younger fiancée Ariel (Mia Farrow, in the first of thirteen appearances in Allen's films).

The hosts are Leopold's cousin Andrew (Allen himself), a Wall Street broker and part-time inventor of flying machines and magic lanterns, and his wife Adrian (Mary Steenburgen), while their other guests are rakish Dr Maxwell Jordan (Tony Roberts) and his nurse girlfriend Dulcy (Julie Hagerty). And with love so abundantly in the air, none of them can resist indulging in a little partner-swapping. After all, none of the other couples will ever find out will they?

Inspired both by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, this delightful ensemble roundelay is ravishingly shot by the great Gordon Willis in rich autumnal colours.

 

 

The Film:

In soft, pale turn-of-the-century costumes, the six principals of Mr. Allen's story converge at an invitingly old-fashioned summer house. The hosts are Andrew (Mr. Allen), a Wall Street broker who has invented the flying bicycle in his spare time, and Adrian (Mary Steenburgen), the wife who (this wouldn't be a Woody Allen film otherwise) has sexual problems with her husband; Adrian has been claiming to have a headache for six months. Adrian and Andrew are the hosts of a wedding party for Ariel (Mia Farrow) and Leopold (Jose Ferrer), a noted academic who is Adrian's triumphantly pompous cousin. After the wedding, Leopold plans to take his bride to London, which will afford him ''a long-awaited opportunity to show her Thomas Carlyle's grave.''

The action all takes place on the day before the wedding, with the other two guests Andrew's lady-killing friend Maxwell (Tony Roberts), who is a doctor, and Dulcy (Julie Hagerty), a deliciously dim nurse who is Maxwell's date. ''Do you know I've been watching you for two weeks?'' Maxwell asks seductively, speaking from behind a diagram of the spinal column (much as Mr. Allen and Michael Murphy argued beside an anatomy-lab skeleton in ''
Manhattan''). ''I've only been working here for five days,'' Dulcy points out, but she agrees to accompany him anyway.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Monogamous at heart, Allen has ended his brief affair with Fellini (Stardust Memories out of 8 1/2) and gone back to his first love Bergman. Allen's version of Smiles of a Summer Night keeps the period country house setting but reduces the characters to six: two medical swingers, an elderly academic and his much younger fiancée, and a long-married couple whose sex-life has ground to a halt. Allen, of course, plays the frustrated husband (he redirects his energies towards inventing flying bicycles, astral lamps and the like), and gives himself nearly all the funny lines. He spends the rest of the movie satirising the men and adoring the changing moods of the women. His best invention remains his own screen persona, and the Bergman borrowings here provide it with a warm, romantic and old-fashioned setting.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

 

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

Firstly, Twilight Time have A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy available on Region FREE Blu-ray HERE - and we expect the transfer to be very similar to Arrow's.

 

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films in the UK.  It is dual-layered with a max'ed-out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. Colors are responsive and the image carries a thick, dark, film-like quality with textures prevalent. The 1080P supports a solid presentation in the original 1.85:1 frame. This Blu-ray looks supportive in-motion with minor depth. No damage, noise or speckles noted.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow use an authentic linear PCM (24-bit). Dialogue is consistent and we can note presence in the heavy does of classical music with plenty of Mendelssohn - some Schubert and Schumann sounding majestic and crisp via the uncompressed. Arrow also offers optional English (SDH) subtitles and their Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

The Arrow only has a trailer but their Woody Allen: Six Films - 1979-1985 Blu-ray package offers Manhattan (not available individually), on Blu-ray, and a hardback book featuring new and archive writing on all the films.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Arrow's Woody Allen: Six Films - 1979-1985 Blu-ray package certainly seems the more reasonably way to go with this unique period comedy. The package has with Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Stardust Memories, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Zelig, and Broadway Danny Rose - not my favorite of his films but still engaging and recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 24th, 2016

Also available in Arrow Academy's Woody Allen: Six Films - 1979-1985 [Blu-ray] which contains Manhattan, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Stardust Memories, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, Zelig, and Broadway Danny Rose


 

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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