After achieving international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, Clint Eastwood surprised everyone by adding directing movies to his resume; he did that with Play Misty for Me (1971), which he also starred in, and that success would begin another fruitful period in his career. His third directorial effort, Breezy, would be a departure for him since not only was it his first film that wasn’t action oriented, but also the first which he didn’t have a starring role. Released by Universal on DVD, Kino has given the movie its Blu-ray debut.
The Production: 4/5
Edith Alice Breezerman – or “Breezy” (Kay Lenz) – is a free spirited teenager living a hippie lifestyle in Southern California, drifting from place to place following the death of her parents in a car accident. Frank Harmon (William Holden) is a successful realtor living a life of loneliness and detachment since his divorce. However, that self imposed isolation ends when Breezy happens upon Frank one fateful day; reluctantly taking her in at first, Frank soon grows to love Breezy and finds a spark missing in his life. But the question is: will the two stay together despite their obvious differences in both age and lifestyle?
Although May-December romances were not too uncommon in film, Breezy represented a departure in the way they were depicted in the subgenre. Clint Eastwood – in his third directorial effort – tackles the younger woman – older man dynamic of the story with a refreshing honesty that was rarely seen in movies dealing with this plot line; most either tended to gloss over it or would come off as heavy handed in its depiction. Better yet, the movie avoids sensationalizing or stooping to exploitation in depicting the burgeoning love between Frank and Breezy; a lot of that owes to the solid performances of the film’s two leads. The only fault that can be found here is that film’s pacing – which does tend to drag in some parts – sometimes makes it feel a bit longer in the tooth than it should be. Overall though, Breezy is an interesting and underrated movie in the directorial career of Clint Eastwood; one can see the instinct for intimate personal drama that would really serve him well later on in movies like Unforgiven (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).
As the man whose self imposed emotional isolation ends with the appearance of Breezy, William Holden is given one of his best late career roles as Frank; it’s also one of his most underrated roles of his career overall too. Kay Lenz makes a memorable impression as the eponymous Breezy; it was one of her earliest film roles and would earn her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Promising Newcomer – Female (a now retired category). While Holden and Lenz form the emotional core of the film, they’re also ably supported by a fine cast as well. Among those lending a hand here are Roger C. Carmel as Frank’s buddy Bob Henderson, who’s also going through a midlife crisis as well, Marj Dusay as Frank’s ex-wife who still has a good friendship with him despite their divorce, Norman Bartold as the disturbed driver Breezy gets a ride from at the beginning of the movie, Jamie Smith Jackson as one of Breezy’s friend, Lynn Borden as Frank’s overnight date at the beginning of the movie, Sandy Kenyon as a fellow real estate agent, and Shelley Morrison as Bob’s wife; Clint Eastwood also has an uncredited appearance on the marina boardwalk.
3D Rating: NA
The film is presented in its original 1:85:1 aspect ratio for this release. Film grain is organic throughout, with fine details, skin tones and color palette given a faithful representation. There’s minimal case of problems like scratches, tears and dirt present here, which means that this is likely the best the movie will ever look on home video and an upgrade from the previous DVD.
The film’s original mono soundtrack is presented on a DTS-HD Master Audio track for this release. Dialogue is strong and clear, with the sound mix and Michel Legrand’s score also given an equally faithful representation and presentation as well. Problems like distortion, crackling or hissing are very minimal here, making this another improvement over the DVD and likely the best the movie will ever sound on home video.
Special Features: 3/5
Commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger & C. Courtney Joyner – Recorded for this release, Berger and Joyner talk about the movie, the cast and crew and some of the themes in conjunction to the movie’s place in Eastwood’s long career.
Theatrical Trailer (2:27)
Bonus KLSC Trailers – The Devil’s Brigade, The Revengers, The Earthling, The Passage, Play Misty for Me & The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday
While it was essentially discarded by Universal during its initial theatrical run, Breezy is still an interesting drama and one of the more overlooked films in Clint Eastwood’s career both in front of and behind the camera. Kino has done another good job of bringing the movie to Blu-ray, with a solid HD transfer and an informative commentary track to accompany it. Highly recommended and worth upgrading from the DVD if you’re an Eastwood completist and fan.
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