A Few Words About A few words about...™ A Man for All Seasons

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While A Man for All Seasons remains one of my favorite films, and one of the most literate to ever hit the screen, courtesy of Mr. Bolt, the original DVD release was not representative of the film that I knew.

    Sony has now re-transferred the film, and while certain footage is dupe -- and there is nothing to be done about this -- the color and densities come very, very close to my memory of the original dye transfer prints. Running the SD DVD through both a BD as well as an HD player to see if there were differences, the saturation seems a bit on the high side, but this was easily reduced on the monitor to perfection.

    While I recall most about the color scheme of this film were the brilliant reds and the heavily metallic golds, especially as worn by Orson Welles and Robert Shaw. Mr. Shaw, who passed away in 1978 at the age of 51, was one of our most extraordinary actors. One can only imagine what he might have given us after his Grant (From Russia with Love), Henry VIII (Man for All Seasons), Lonnegan (The Sting) and Quint (Jaws -- for which he is credited as writing the Indianapolis monologue)

    A Man for All Seasons is a thinking person's entertainment, with brilliant performances from all of the leads, Mr. Scofield, Dame Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Orson Welles, Susannah York... the list goes on.

    Until the BD version of this film arrives, which portends to be gorgeous, we'll make do with a beautifully rendered SD version, with aspect ratio, grain structure, color balance and black levels all looking absolutely correct.

    An extraordinary achievement in filmmaking that comes Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Shaw was also a playwright, having written the original play The Man in the Glass Booth, which was later filmed (though Shaw disowned the film for the many changes it made from his play). He was definitely a major talent. It's amazing the impact he made in movies in such a short time.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Robert,

    Having never seen this film before and passing on the
    many previous releases, I finally got the nerve to buy the
    latest incarnation of this title on DVD. Really, my motive was
    more about adding to my Best Picture collection than
    anything else. I really figured that this would not be a film
    that I would enjoy.

    Well, miraculously, I sat down and watched this DVD within
    days of receiving it. I suppose I had nothing better to watch.
    The first few minutes were rather difficult as I immediately
    figured that I was getting myself in over my head with a
    historical film about a Chancellor who refuses to support his
    King.

    Well, about a quarter of the way through, about the time
    that King Henry (Robert Shaw) comes ashore, I found myself
    becoming far less figity and far more involved in this film.
    By the time I got to the third act of this film, I was mesmerized
    by this story of a man who holds on to his personal convictions
    despite the fact that he knows he will die for them. Until the
    film was over, I had no idea that this was a true story.

    Paul Scofield is absolutely amazing to watch. I have never
    been aware of this actor before, and his delivery of some of
    the most brilliant dialogue ever spoken on screen has made
    his role quite memorable in my mind.

    I suppose you can say that I really enjoyed this film, though
    my personal opinion of the transfer was a little more lukewarm
    than yours, Robert. Then again, I have not seen the previous
    versions released to DVD and from what I understand, they
    were pale in comparison.

    I am very happy you brought this title up as one to write A
    FEW WORDS ABOUT.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    This is one of the greatest films I've ever seen. I know a lot of Best Picture winners get thrashed around as unworthy, but this is a genuine classic. Rarely does everything within a film come together with perfection. Most of all, it embodies a message that too many overlook: Thomas More stood by his principles even to death. How many of us would do the same? Paul Scofield, along with the excellent screenplay (by master scribe Robert Bolt), make his courage real on-screen.

    I've posted about this a lot, but people need to know how essential the film is - not as a movie buff, but for all. Along with films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Z.
     
  5. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    A Man For All Seasons was a relativley low-budget affair, too. They shot on location for much of it, and none of the stars were really big at the time. Just shows what you can do with a great script, cast and superb direction.
     
  6. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Like Ron, viewing this DVD was a new experience for me...and quite a pleasant one! I, too, was unfamiliar with Scofield's work and found him (and the story) captivating.

    Ron: If you want to see how terrific this transfer is...take a look at the bonus feature on the life of Sir Thomas More. This featurette includes a wealth of clips from the film and the clips look absolutely awful when compared to the transfer of the film itself. The most dramatic comparison, IMO, is the colors and detail in the dramatic courtroom scene near the end of the film. It's really worth a look.

    Thanks, Robert...for the "review."
     
  7. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    I found the HD transfer disappointing which I saw on the Dish Network recently. The transfer was plagued by unecessary clipping of highlights, resulting in a loss of detail that I imagine could easily be seen in SD. I hope that the Blu-Ray will be from an updated transfer source.
     
  8. Charles_Y

    Charles_Y Stunt Coordinator

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    Whereas, I agree for the most part with Mr. Harris' review (i.e. the saturation level being a tad high), I must add from my perspective I felt the image way too dark. The previous transfer was on the other hand a bit brighter than it should be.

    I also lament the fact once again that another academy award winner is ill served with NO extras other than a so so featurette about the historical individual. This was fine to a point but materials about the making of the film, interviews, etc. would have been much more interesting. I feel that there may not be much extant at this point sadly in any case. Interview with John Hurt anyone?
     
  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    i have never seen this.

    Guess I amgoing to order this now
     

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