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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Oleanna -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

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    David Mamet's Oleanna, which he originally created as a play, stared William Macy and Mr. Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon -- who composed the music for the film.

    The film, which was released in 1994, has Mr. Macy in the role he created on stage, along with Debra Eisenstadt, who was a stand-in during the run of the play, eventually replacing Ms Pidgeon in the role of Carol.

    Not too complex.

    Occasionally I turn to Roger Ebert's words, as he had the ability to crystallize plots far better than I.

    "It is made apparent in the first act that Carol is failing the course because she is either incapable or unprepared. Certainly the professor should not raise her grade simply because she is unhappy about it. Nor does he make an improper sexual advance - although his awkward movement at one point is later misinterpreted by Carol, and is the basis of the complaint that may destroy his career.

    The most illuminating value of "Oleanna" is that it demonstrates so clearly how men and women can view the same events through entirely different prisms. With all the best will in the world, despite a real effort, I cannot see the professor as guilty. I see the student as a monstrous creature who masks her own inadequacies with a manufactured ideological attack; she is failing the course not because she is a bad student but because her teacher is a sexist pig."


    What may be most of interest is how the play, and film, might be interpreted in the eyes of those per the current social movement.

    I find it difficult to believe that this is one of the films missing on Blu-ray, but Powerhouse has solved the problem.

    As to the look of the new Blu-ray, it's a difficult one, as I'm not familiar with the look of the film. To my eye, it appears a bit on the contrasty side, with a loss of shadow detail, but that may have been by design.

    If one is seeking great Mamet, this probably isn't it, but Mamet is always worth a look.

    Like their release of The Odessa File, Powerhouse is setting themselves apart with quality extras.

    Oleanna gives us:

    Power Play (2018, 18 mins): new and exclusive interview with award-winning actor William H Macy who recalls working with David Mamet on the controversial stage and screen versions of Oleanna

    The Understudy (2018, 11 mins): new and exclusive interview with actor and director Debra Eistenstadt who discusses her role and the experience of working with Mamet and Macy

    along with more normal fare.

    Powerhouse is a publisher to watch, epecially for their forthcoming Night of the Demon, and William Castle films.

    Image - 4.5

    Audio - 5 (stereo)

    Upgrade from 2003 DVD - Absolutely.

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    RAH
     
    PMF, B-ROLL and Powell&Pressburger like this.
  2. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I'm very selective about what DVDs I upgrade but I'll certainly get this Blu-ray from the Indicator label (always a class act). The DVD picture quality was very poor and wasn't even anamorphic. Mamet's dialogue also makes the film very repeatable for me.
     
  3. JoshZ

    JoshZ Supporting Actor

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    That's quite an understatement. The choice to re-release a movie whose message is that women are monstrous liars who falsely accuse innocent men of sexual harrassment in order to destroy them, today, in the middle of the MeToo movement, is curious to say the least.
     

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