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Chilly Scenes of Winter aka "Head Over Heels" [Blu-ray]
(Joan Micklin Silver, 1979)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: United Artists
Video: Twilight Time
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 25,353,235,680 bytes
Feature Size: 24,906,209,280 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: February, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1965 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1965 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1745 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1745
kbps / 24-bit
(DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1827 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1827 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• English (SDH), None
•Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Joan Micklin Silver and Producer Amy Robinson
• Isolated Score Track
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:45)
• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Limited to 3,000 Copies!
Description: In writer-director Joan Micklin Silver’s endearing adaptation of Ann Beattie’s celebrated novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979), Charles (John Heard), a bored office worker, falls in love with Laura (Mary Beth Hurt) when she is separated from her husband, Ox (Mark Metcalf); when she returns to the appropriately named fellow, Charles makes it his life’s work to get her back, aided, abetted, and occasionally hindered by a sensational cast of eccentric friends and relatives, played by the likes of Peter Riegert, Kenneth McMillan, Nora Heflin, and the great Gloria Grahame.
Charles (John Heard) meets Laura (Mary Beth Hurt) in the the government office where they both work and is instantly smitten. Unfortunately, Laura is not completely unattached but merely separated from her husband. Charles optimistically pursues a relationship with her -- an endeavor made more difficult by his exasperating roommate, Sam (Peter Riegert), and his somewhat daft mother, Clara (Gloria Grahame). Charles and Laura fall in love nevertheless, but struggle with their friends and family.
For the re-release, UA Classics rechristened the film Chilly Scenes
of Winter in acknowledgement of its literary source and to
capitalize on Beattie's rising popularity as a fiction writer; at the
time, she was a regular contributor to The New Yorker with her wry short
stories about middle class baby boomers. The distributor also removed
the original happy ending and substituted an alternate one which was
more downbeat but true to the film's melancholy tone and wintry look.
This newly retooled version performed better at the box office than
Head Over Heels and eventually turned a profit for the studio but it
was hardly a mainstream film.
The dialogue seems increasingly fresh – funny where it's supposed to be
funny, poignant where it's supposed to be poignant; we no longer mind
the score, perhaps even come to feel it quite nicely accompanies the
picture's subtle moods; the performances develop into convincing
three-dimensional, intelligent characterisations (with notable
supporting turns from Peter Riegert as Heard's best pal,
as his off-the-rails mother, Kenneth McMillan as his keen-to-please
stepdad, and Nora Heflin as his sympa workmate); the cinematography
seems bracingly no-nonsense, the locations apposite; and we even forget
about those Annie Hall comparisons.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, this is the re-release version of the film (originally entitled 'Head Over Heels') - approximately 4-minutes longer with an ending closer to the Micklin Silver story.
Chilly Scenes of Winter comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a single-layered, 1080P transfer with a supportive bitrate. The visuals are indicative of the later 70s, early 80s - reasonable but not overwhelming. It can look fairly thick, flat and a shade soft, not glossy, but this would be in-line with the production. It looks pretty consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles. I see no evidence of manipulation or noise but there is no real depth. This Blu-ray has a solid enough transfer but the film probably can't look much crisper.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1965 kbps (24-bit) sounds clean with a few richer moments in pushing the film's modest requirements for the limited effects and depth. There is an unremarkable score credited to Ken Lauber (who had done mostly TV work). There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
Twilight Time add an audio commentary with writer/director Joan Micklin Silver and producer Amy Robinson and it is revealing with, as you might expect, plenty of information on the story and production although I haven't finished listening to it. There is also the usual Isolated Score Track and an original theatrical trailer. The package has some liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.
March 1st, 2017
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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