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HTF REVIEW: "Charlotte Gray" (with screenshots) - REPOSTED

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#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 18 2002 - 06:02 AM

Posted Image

Charlotte Gray

Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2001
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 121 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

"War makes us into people
we didn't know we were"

It's so refreshing once in a while to have
the opportunity to watch a movie like Charlotte
, a film that stands out amongst most of
the mediocre films arriving on DVD in the next
few weeks.

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Cate Blanchett is Charlotte Gray, an intelligent
young Scottish woman trapped in wartime Europe
during the 1940's. We quickly learn that Charlotte
is fluent in French and has a fondness for France,
having studied in Paris for several years.

A chance meeting with a RAF pilot (Rupert Penry-Jones)
changes her life as she quickly falls in love with
the man only to find weeks later he was shot down
over France whilst fighting for his country.

Another chance meeting with a man from the British
Ministry (initially under the pretence of inviting
her to a book launch), results in Charlotte being
drafted for SOE-style operations under-cover in
France. This is her chance to use her knowledge of the
french culture and language to not only help the
French Resistance, but find the man she loves.

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Once in France, her cover name becomes Dominique,
a woman from Paris with a POW husband. Julien
(Billy Crudup) is the leader of the resistance team
she is assigned to. Charlotte goes to the country to stay
with Julien's father, Levarde (Michael Gambon) taking
care of two Jewish boys that are in hiding. When
she learns that her fighter pilot boyfriend is dead,
she has nothing left but what is in France which
she decides to fight for, despite the Nazi's that
now occupy the small village she lives in.

Posted Image

Charlotte Gray is just a superb film to
watch for many reasons. Foremost, Cate Blanchard
is absolutely stunning to watch for her effortless
beauty and complexity that shows she is a great
actress. There is also the great period detail
captured by director Gillian Armstrong and
cinematographer Dion Beebe.

How is the transfer?

I think that I screen more Warner product than
any other studio, and anyone that has taken notice,
knows that there is a consistency of superb
transfers coming out of that studio on their new
release product. Charlotte Gray joins that
list of nearly flawless transfers.

Picture has a very warm and soft feeling to it,
rather than looking bold and sharp. While there
is the slightest hint of video noise in some
scenes, none of it becomes dominant in a picture
that remains mostly crisp and detailed, even in
the blue-filtered night scenes. Just a wonderful
transfer that does justice to the beautiful shots
of the pastoral French countrysides.

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The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is effective, yet never
obtrusive. The rear speakers are used to emphasize
certain points of the film such as gunshots and
a train explosion. What I found surprising here was
the activity in the LFE channel that brought out
the strong rumble of German tanks rolling into the
French village, or the roaring sound of a squad
of Germans matching from the front to rear. A very
robust soundtrack for a movie that is not particularly
action orientated.

Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image

A few extras have managed to make their way
onto this DVD. It isn't much (aside from
commentary), with less than 8 minutes of added

First, there is a full-length audio commentary
by Director Gillian Armstrong.

Posted Image

A Village Revisits History looks at the
quest to find the perfect location to bring a
story to life. That location was St. Antonin
Noble Val, near Toulouseof. It was the perfect
location not only for the fact that it has remained
virtually untouched for the past 50 years, but
filmmakers also had access to the only period train
in France with its own private line that ran through
the town. The townsfolk were very patient with
the film crews who had taken over, even appearing
in one or two of the scenes. Many of the older
residents of the village were weeping when they
saw the recreation of German tanks entering their
town. This was something they had all seen before.
A very short, but interesting featurette.
(length: 3.5 minutes)

Posted Image

Living Through Wartime introduces us to
the book's author, Sebastian Faulk, who takes us
through the story of Charlotte Gray, aided
by film clips and interview with Cate Blanchett.
Director Gillian Armstrong thought the role was
the best she has ever read for a woman, and felt
that Blanchett was the perfect woman to fill that
part. Blanchett talks about what it means to be
an agent, dumped behind enemy lines, where there
are absolutely no rules.
(length: approx. 3.5 minutes)

The extras are rounded out with a Cast & Crew
as well as the Original
Theatrical Trailer

Final Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed
watching Charlotte Gray. Though it may
be considered another one of those strong-willed,
independent women placed in difficult situations
type of movies, this one seems to pull it off
quite well.

Release Date: July 9, 2002


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted June 18 2002 - 06:21 AM

Thanks for the review Ron. While critics weren't very kind to Charlotte Gray, I'll definetely rent this one specifically for the actors involved. Cate Blanchett is a tremendous actress and has impressed me in everything I've seen her in. Billy Crudup has also been providing some great performances over the last few years also. It's nice to see that Warner is still meeting their very high standards for video presentation.

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Jens Raethel

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Posted June 20 2002 - 06:06 AM

Thanks for the review! Im going to get a copy of this movie, sounds great!

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   PhilipG



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Posted June 20 2002 - 06:28 AM

A great film; I saw it at the cinema a few months back, and look forward to the DVD. Now bring on Enigma!

P.S. It's Cate Blanchett! Even one of the screenshots gets it wrong!! Posted Image Sorry for being so pernickety!

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   MikeEckman



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Posted July 02 2002 - 02:02 AM

I've never seen this movie, and had never heard of it until the DVD was announced, but upon reading reviews of it, I think I will rent it, and decide on possible purchase possibility later. I, too, am a fan of Cate Blanchett. Although her role in The Fellowship of the Ring is probably her most accessible role in an American picture, my favorite movies I've seen her in are, The Gift (Directed by Sam Raimi), and Elizabeth. For those of you who are a fan of Cate, and havent checked out either of those two movies, I HIGHLY recommend you at least rent them.
Mike Eckman
Chicago Heights, IL
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#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Malcolm Cleugh

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Posted July 05 2002 - 12:07 AM

This is a film I would recommend if you like non-extreme violence war films. Went with US version as well as the films producers Channel 4 a UK company inflict rental windows on us here. Philip am also waiting for Enigma. This is out from Disney in the UK on 5th Aug with no extras whatsoever. It was however announced by Columbia this week for a US release on 24th Sept. Waiting with the hope they do something as good as their similar recent war film Dark Blue World.

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Trevor Bateman

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Posted July 25 2002 - 11:55 PM

I saw this and quite liked it, but isn't this the film that THEY are saying has sank Film Four films. I'd heard that it cost about $15 million and made squat. A shame! Shame! Shame! that this film is gonna be known for taking down a studio (albeit a small one).

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Hakan Powers

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Posted August 01 2002 - 05:39 AM

Good review Ron, and an excellent movie. I still havn't picked the DVD up but inted to soon. Those of you who said you'd take a look at this, have you done so yet? What did you think of it?
My movies
The Price of freedom is eternal vigilance - Thomas Jefferson

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