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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
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Crimes and Misdemeanors Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Fox MGM Twilight Time
- Studio: MGM
- Distributed By: Twilight Time
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Rating: PG-13
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 44 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray
- Case Type: keep case
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Region: All
- Release Date: 02/11/2014
- MSRP: $29.95
The Production Rating: 4.5/5Two marriages are at the core of Crimes and Misdemeanors. For Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) who has been carrying on a two-year affair with flight attendant Dolores Paley (Anjelica Huston) who now expects Judah to leave his wife (Claire Bloom) and begin a full life with her or else be prepared for her to spill the details of the relationship to his family, the problem is to find some way to placate Dolores without risking a domestic life he loves and an ophthalmology career that is thriving. For minimally successful documentary filmmaker Cliff Stern (Woody Allen), his crumbling marriage to wife Wendy (Joanna Gleason) would be gladly abandoned if PBS producer Halley Reed (Mia Farrow) would give him a tumble. Hired by the network to produce a documentary on the day-to-day life of a fatuously successful television producer (Alan Alda), Cliff and Halley spend a lot of time together where he falls hard for the divorced Halley who refuses to commit to him or any man for fear of being hurt again.
How each of these men handle his differing romantic issues forms the crux of the film, and along the way ideas about morality, guilt, and righteousness continually come into play (a seder from Judah’s past where relatives debate the cause and effect of faith versus practicality is the heart and soul of the film’s message). While the subject matter is sometimes grim and at other times playful (a murder is ordered by one; a murderously satirical slam at his rival is the other’s plan), the variance in tone isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, the witty quips and putdowns found on Cliff’s side of the story are a welcome breather from the far more serious and solemn story that Judah must experience, sequences which occasionally make us recoil in horror and yet stare at in dumb amazement as events either unfold or are played back for us (Allen’s smooth, effortless way of working in flashbacks within scenes taking place in present time is matchless and likely one of the reasons he found himself with yet another Best Director Oscar nomination for his work here).
The performances are sublimely superb across the board. Martin Landau’s desperation, exasperation, revulsion, and guilt over his predicament put him squarely in the limelight even though his screen time likely isn’t any longer than that of Woody Allen’s wisecracking director or Mia Farrow’s softly appealing producer. Alan Alda steals all his scenes as the pompous producer who thinks his every word is a pearl worth savoring (he won Best Supporting Actor from both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics), while Jerry Orbach as Judah’s shifty brother, Anjelica Huston as the discontented mistress (whose character is so fascinating that one wishes even more of her life could have been shown), and Sam Waterston as a rabbi who’s going blind all make notable appearances in key roles.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully conveyed in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Apart from some stray white specks which dot the film at irregular intervals, the picture is very warm and welcoming with strong color that lends peaches and cream complexions to many of the flesh tones. Sharpness is quite fine with black levels which might not be the inkiest but are certainly beyond serious criticism. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix produces exactly the mono sound associated with all of Woody Allen’s projects at this stage of his filmmaking career but with likely better fidelity and clarity than was present in the theater or in previous releases of the film on home video. Dialogue is always strong and clear. The infrequent music cues never intrude on what people are saying but often complement the on-screen visuals in a wry way.
Special Features: 2/5Isolated Score and Effects Track: presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0.
Theatrical Trailer (1:39, SD)
MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06, HD)
Six-Page Booklet: contains a selection of color stills, poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s astute and informative take on the movie.
- Mark Walker likes this