Film Length: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
The story of a father's love that changed a nation
Amongst this week's selection of screeners is an
enjoyably warm and uplifting story that may just
be worth your time.
Made by Pierce Brosnan's production company, Irish
DreamTime, Evelyn is based on a true case
that occurred in Ireland in the 1950s. Desmond Doyle
(Pierce Brosnan)is a hard drinkin' middle aged father
of three down on his luck. When his unfaithful wife
abandons the family, George finds himself at the
mercy of the Church. The SPCC (Society of Prevention
for Cruelty to Children) learns of his plight as a
single father with no woman to care for the children,
and the courts quickly rule that each child must go
in to foster care at Church institutions. Doyle is
forced by the courts to drive his two boys, Dermot
(Niall Beagan) and Maurice (Hugh McDonagh), to an
all boys Catholic school while Desmond's father
(Frank Kelly) takes his daughter Evelyn to St.
Joseph's girls school.
Desmond decides to clean up his act to get his
children back, but in order to go up against church
and state he'll need considerable help from barmaid
Bernadette Beattie (Julianna Margulies) and her
lawyer-brother (Stephen Rea). Soon, they turn to
Nick Barron (Aidan Quinn), an American lawyer who
may be Desmond's best chance — if he has any — of
challenging the constitutionality of the court's
Evelyn is a nice little surprise for the
fact that it features Pierce Brosnan in a role that
many would not have expected from the man that has
played 007 all these years. Brosnon really shines
as a simple man struggling to do right with his
children as his world is being pulled apart. We
even are treated to hearing Brosnon belt out a
few Irish tunes down at the local pub. Director
Beresford and screenwriter by Paul Pender have
crafted a film full of heart and humanity that
often gets a little too sweet, but still remains
How is the transfer?
On the whole, the transfer is very good. The entire
transfer has a very "warm" look to it with colors
that are mostly subdued throughout. Flesh tones look
very accurate. I do want viewers to be aware that
the picture tends to run dark, which makes interior
scenes look rather drab. Otherwise, picture appears
to be very smooth and film-like with just the slightest
hint of background grain. I would suspect this is
exactly the way the film looked theatrically and
give credit to MGM for providing a pleasing transfer.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is mostly front
heavy with the main channels providing excellent
stereo separation. Dialogue sounds clear and
detailed as it rests firmly in the center channel.
The rears occasionally come into play, providing
the ambient sounds of the neighborhood. There is
also an effective use of echo added to scenes that
take place in large auditoriums such as a courtroom
Featured on this Special Edition DVD are not just
one -- but two feature-length commentaries.
The first features director Bruce Beresford. The
second features Pierce Brosnan and producer Beau
St. Clair. For this review, I sampled the Brosnan/St.
Clair commentary. It begins with Brosnan giving
us some background on how he came upon this story
and decided to produce it with his production company.
At first, Brosnan wasn't too sure what part he should
play, that is, until he did a read-through with other
Irish actors and knew the part of Desmond was for him.
He goes on to talk about how he cast the film, and
his fight to obtain Alan Bates. His dream of doing
this film was finally coming true! Beau St. Clair
talks about many of the film locations and the pursuit
of finding locales that are still faithful to that
era. She also touches base on some of the various
casting choices. The commentary is often low-key
and there are some significant gaps, but overall it's
nice to hear Mr. Brosnan doing a commentary gig.
The story behind the story begins with
writer Paul Pender first hearing the story of
Desmond Doyle and the way he fought church and state
to alleviate the strangle hold they had upon the lives
of Irish people. A script was written with actor
Pierce Brosnan in mind to play the Desmond Doyle
role. Pierce Brosnan and producer Beau St. Clair
talk about receiving the script, doing various
read-throughs with other Irish actors, and then
going after Bruce Beresford to direct the film.
Brosnan's company put all the money together for
this film project which was very low on budget but
very high on passion.
(length: approx. 19 minutes)
A behind the scenes featurette is a very
calm, non-glitzy look at the making of this film.
Through interviews with all the major cast members
as well as director Bruce Beresford and writer Paul
Pender, we learn how a simple script based on a true
story brought together a great group of actors whose
individual passions created this wonderful film.
(length: approx. 21 minutes)
A photo gallery contains only a small
handful of images of the cast, behind-the-scenes
photos and scenes from the film.
The film's original theatrical trailer is
Evelyn is the sort of good-natured film
that is hard to resist. Though it can be a bit
corny and overly sentimental at times, its real
drawing power is its inspiring story and sensational
cast. One can't help but admire the passion that
the filmmakers have brought to this warmly told
David and Goliath story,
Though I was a little put off by the overly dark
transfer, I do praise MGM for putting together a
rather nice Special Edition to support this
Release Date: April 15, 2003
All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality