Senior HTF Member
- Jul 3, 1997
- Real Name
- Ronald Epstein
COHEN MEDIA GROUP PRESENTS A REDISCOVERED CLASSIC STARRING GLORIA SWANSON AND LAURENCE OLIVIER
The 1933 Ealing Studios Comedy, With a Screenplay by Michael Powell, Comes to DVD and Blu-ray for the First Time in a Definitive HD Edition on June 4, 2013
Cinema icons Gloria Swanson and Laurence Olivier made just one film together, and now that rarely seen gem has been recovered and restored for its Blu-ray and DVD debut. PERFECT UNDERSTANDING, a 1933 romantic comedy written by a young Michael Powell, has been fully remastered in a definitive edition to be released by the Cohen Film Collection. Supplemented by two shorts from the period, the film will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on June 4, 2013, with SRPs, respectively, of $34.98 and $24.98.
Judy (Swanson) and Nicholas (Olivier) are a young society couple who marry based on the "perfect understanding" that they will be allowed to enjoy extramarital adventures and never let jealousy come between them. That arrangement is soon put to the test. During their honeymoon, they go to Cannes to spend time with friends. Judy decides to go back to London to set up their new home, but insists Nicholas remain with their Riviera friends.
One night, when drunk, Nicholas sleeps with a former lover (Nora Swinburne, The Forsyte Saga); when he returns to Judy, he is guilt-ridden and confesses his indiscretion. She forgives him, but Nicholas is soon battling his own feelings of jealousy when he comes to believe that Judy has slept with an old friend of hers (John Halliday, The Philadelphia Story).
PERFECT UNDERSTANDING was shot at London's renowned comedy factory Ealing Studios, and is an eye-opener for its candid treatment of sexuality and pregnancy; just a few years later such frankness would be tamped down in the U.K., as it would in Hollywood. It was also a pivotal film for Gloria Swanson, who had struggled in the early years of the talkies to maintain the vaunted position she had held as a silent-screen superstar. She produced the film herself, and it was the only one she made in Britain.
As for Laurence Olivier, by 1933, he was an established Shakespearean stage star who was just three years into his film career. Thus, PERFECT UNDERSTANDING captures a poignant moment in film history, as the old guard represented by Swanson intersects with one of the first great actors of the sound era (though in fact she was only a few years Olivier's senior).
The result is a priceless comedy of manners, co-written by a 27-year-old Michael Powell, who would go on to become one of England greatest filmmakers with such classics as The 49th Parallel (starring Olivier), The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and Peeping Tom.
The Cohen Film Collection's PERFECT UNDERSTANDING Blu-ray and DVD both include two shorts from 1933: Husband's Reunion and Dream Stuff, both produced by another icon of early screen comedy, Mack Sennett.
Street date: June 4, 2013
SRP: $34.98 (Blu-ray), $24.98 (DVD)
Running time: 85 minutes
2.0 Dolby Digital for DVD/LPCM 2.0 for Blu-ray
Extras: Two Mack Sennett shorts: "Husband's Reunion" and "Dream Stuff"