|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Burning Bed [Blu-ray]
(Robert Greenwald, 1984)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: National Broadcasting Company (NBC)
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 46,341,580,109 bytes
Feature Size: 20,862,093,312 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.90 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 7th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.33 + 1.78
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), None
• Both 1.78:1 & 1.33:1 versions of the film
Description:Farrah Fawcett (Extremities) scores a personal triumph with a riveting Emmy-nominated performance in this gripping movie about a woman who takes incendiary revenge on her brutal husband. Based on actual events, this courageous story of a woman pushed to the edge is a gut-wrenching, eye-opening and shocking experience. Francine Hughes (Fawcett) marries her small-town high-school sweetheart Mickey (Paul Le Mat, American Graffiti) only to discover his temper is short and his behavior violent. Urged to hang in there by her family and a broken social welfare system, she suffers continuous abuse - until desperation leads her to cross a threshold from which neither she nor her husband can ever return. Veteran filmmaker Robert Greenwald (Xanadu) directed this classic TV-movie which was nominated for 8 Emmys and features wonderful performances by Richard Masur (Scavenger Hunt), Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks), Penelope Milford (Coming Home) and James T. Callahan (Lady Sings the Blues).
It came as an enormous shock to the cultural system when Farrah Fawcett, pin-up supreme of the 1970s, smashed her Barbie Doll image by playing the smashed-up wife of an abusive husband who eventually murders him by setting fire to their bedroom as he sleeps off another drunk. Blondes are supposed to have more fun, right? Fawcett didnít see it that way, and her choice to take on this savage tale that would see her beauty hidden beneath bruises, blood, and K-Mart clothing was a bold statement about herself, her art, and perhaps even her view of domesticity. The Texas belle herself married and divorced one time only and endured a severe beating at the hands of Hollywood producer James Orr in 1998 after spurning his proposal of marriage. Francine Hughes, the character she plays in The Burning Bed, must have haunted her thoughts in the wake of her own battering.
So the story which is told in "The Burning Bed" is an important one, any movie which aims to highlight domestic abuse be it a wife being bettered by a husband or the other way around should be praised for making the public aware. As such whilst the movie starts with the murder of Mickey it is really a story of how Francine became so desperate that she murdered him and it leads us from the first time they met at a dance through the years of abuse to beyond the murder and to the courtroom. Along the way we see how Mickey becomes erratic and violent, hitting Francine for the pettiest of reasons, controlling her, having blazing, violent rows and having to deal with his family which surrounds them whilst finding the system not always capable of helping her. And as such we see how for Francine she has no escape despite trying to a couple of times and even separating from Mickey.Excerpt from The MovieScene located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Kino Lorber offer both original 1.33:1 (it was a TV broadcast film) or a 1.78:1 widescreen on their new Blu-ray of The Burning Bed. Technically both transfers are almost exactly the same - file sizes, bitrate etc. I was immediately struck by the rich grain textures of the presentation - perhaps marginally heavier on the widescreen. The image quality looks fine - dark, decent colors, no damage or marks and pleasing detail in close-ups. Perhaps a bit noisy at times but nothing unforgivable. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable viewing in regards to the picture quality.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are, obviously, some aggressive effects in the film beyond the fire - but also a score by Charles Gross that plays unremarkably in the back. It was all clear and consistent. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Aside from the dual ratios, there is a 16-minute interview with director Robert Greenwald who discusses his theatrical roots and making the film.
The Kino LorberBlu-ray is the best way to see and appreciate this heart-wrenching film in 1080P - and Kino include the option of two ratios and a director interview. A commentary would have been nice but I remain fascinated by her performance. An important film to bring to BD. Recommended! NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 33% OFF at Amazon.
October 24th, 2017