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HTF DVD REVIEW: Cinema Pride Collection (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Matt Hough


Cinema Pride Collection

The Children’s Hour/La Cage aux Folles/My Beautiful Laundrette/The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert/The Birdcage/Bent/The Object of My Affection/Boy’s Don’t Cry/Kissing Jessica Stein/Imagine Me & You
Directed by William Wyler  et al

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox/MGM/UA
Year: 1961-2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 nonanamorphic/anamorphic; 1.85:1 anamorphic; 2.35:1 nonanamorphic/anamorphic
Running Time: 1046 minutes
Rating: R/NC-17/NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, stereo; 5.1 English, others 
Subtitles: English, Spanish, others

MSRP:  $ 49.98


Release Date: June 8, 2010

Review Date:  June 11, 2010



The Films


Overview


From the tortured, repressed lesbian yearnings which come to the fore in The Children’s Hour to the loud and proud transvestites battling for respect in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, there is both painful drama and boisterous slapstick comedy (and everything in between) to be found in the Cinema Pride Collection, a boxed set of ten films made over the course of almost fifty years in which every facet of the LGBT community can find representation. The films do indeed run the entertainment gamut: some are monstrously funny, some are deeply moving, some are painful to watch for either not going far enough with the stories they’re attempting to tell or for portraying real life in terms that might be a bit too raw for an average moviegoer. All of the films have had individual releases before, and this set simply repackages existing releases in one place at a bargain price, but the play’s the thing (or in this case, the films are the thing), and even the weakest of the films has something that all audiences, not just those specifically gay-oriented, can find to enjoy and appreciate.



The Children’s Hour – 3.5/5


Struggling to make a go of their private girls’ academy, teachers Karen Wright (Audrey Hepburn) and Martha Dobie (Shirley MacLaine) are the victims of a scandalous lie told by one of their most recalcitrant students Mary Tilford (Karen Balkin). She tells her grandmother (Fay Bainter) that the two women are lovers and have been seen kissing, not even behind closed doors. The horrified elderly lady calls the families of the enrolled girls, and they’re immediately pulled out of school, effectively closing the institution. Despite the best efforts of Karen’s fiancé Dr. Joe Cardin (James Garner), the women lose a libel suit they bring against Mrs. Tilford, mainly because Martha’s meddlesome aunt (Miriam Hopkins) who had jokingly remarked on Martha’s lack of interest in men is too embarrassed by her gaffe to come back to testify on their behalf. With their lives in shambles, Karen, Martha, and Joe must decide what their next step will be.


Though the original play by Lillian Hellman was much admired in its day, the drama doesn’t hold up to close modern scrutiny especially with its feeble psychological underpinnings and characters who, despite much education, seem completely helpless in the maelstrom of negative public opinion which surrounds them. Shirley MacLaine has said that director William Wyler was terrified of the material (he had directed the earlier 1936 version called These Three though the lesbianism had been completely removed from the story), and he seems to have gone out of his way to avoid directly dealing with the issue here except in the vaguest of terms. Of course, the last vestiges of the infamous Production Code were still in force at the time making direct handling of most sensitive issues regarding homosexuality practically impossible. MacLaine gives a raw performance that’s the showpiece of the film. Miriam Hopkins does her addled auntie act well enough to make you want to strangle her, and Wyler couldn’t have found a more fitting child for the insidious role of Mary. Karen Balkin’s eternal pout and hate-filled eyes still send chills down one’s spine whenever she occupies the frame.


La Cage aux Folles – 4/5


Gay couple Renato Baldi (Ugo Tognazzi) and Albin Mougeotte (Michel Serrault) together own La Cage aux Folles, one of the most glittering and celebrated nightclubs in St. Tropez, and Albin serves as the star attraction: Zaza, a female impersonator. Renato’s son Laurent (Rémi Laurent) from a one night stand with Simone Deblon (Claire Maurier) announces that he’s engaged to Andrea Charrier (Luisa Maneri), daughter of the arch conservative Minister of Moral Order (Michel Galabru). During the first meeting of the parents, Albin through a series of slapstick circumstances is forced to masquerade as Simone and surprisingly charms the straight-laced father of the upcoming bride though how long he’ll be able to pull off the charade is anyone’s guess.


The play by Jean Poiret was brought to the screen by director Edouard Molinaro and screenwriter Francis Veber with great success. In its day, La Cage aux Folles was the highest grossing foreign film in American history, and the story served as the basis for a rousingly successful Broadway musical and an Americanized remake The Birdcage, also a part of this package. As Albin, Michel Serrault won just about every prize a French actor could win in his own country, but in retrospect, there seem to be a bit too much shrieking and mumbled dialogue (fortunately, there are English subtitles available), and some of the other performances ring a little truer including Ugo Tognazzi’s understated Renato and Michel Galabru’s frantic government minister. Still, there aren’t many scenes funnier than Albin’s lessons on masculinity or warmer than when the La Cage family brings in a celebratory cake.


My Beautiful Laundrette – 4.5/5


Enterprising Pakistani Omar Ali (Gordon Warnecke) so impresses his Uncle Nasser (Saeed Jaffrey) with his willingness to work hard and try anything in England that he’s put in charge of his uncle’s biggest headache, an all night laundromat. Using drug money that should have gone to his cousin Salim (Derrick Branche), Omar enlists the help of his old school friend Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis) and together they make the establishment into something of a showplace. They also continue their love affair from long ago, made more difficult because Uncle Nasser is pushing his daughter Tania (Rita Wolf) on Omar and Johnny’s street gang is quickly tiring of his involvement with someone whom they consider to be the enemy.


Director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi have fashioned a pretty remarkable exploration into the ethnic, class, and sexual breakdowns in British society circa 1985, and they do it with alternately touching, funny, and sexy sequences, one after another. There are two affairs going on that are the central focus of the movie: Johnny and Omar and Uncle Nasser with his long-time British mistress Rachel (Shirley Ann Field). Frears keeps interest in both relationships at white hot levels, at one point jumping alternately between one couple and the other, both in different parts of the laundrette on its official opening day. But the coruscating examination of the class distinctions with the resentments on both sides is pointedly acidic and takes much of the thrill away from the romances going on leaving an ugly taste in one’s mouth. Clearly there’s room for hope, but for the older generations, the chance to change attitudes seems unpromising.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 4/5


Australian drag queens Tick (Hugo Weaving) and Adam (Guy Pearce) along with transsexual Bernadette (Terence Stamp) are offered a paying gig in Alice Springs, so they pack up a bus named “Priscilla” and set out from Sydney on the road to the casino where they’ll be performing. It’s run by Tick’s former wife (Sarah Chadwick) which is news to his two traveling companions who had no idea that he had ever been married or that he had sired a son. The trio run into all kinds of problems on the road, but they take everything in stride with some high kicks, lots of booze, and trust that they’ll somehow survive.


The characters are so outrageous and overdrawn that it’s better with this film to just sit back and let it wash all over you. The three leading men all make valiant stabs at being drag queens (with immense help from makeup, hair, and wardrobe departments; the costumes actually won the Oscar), but if you’ve ever seen a real drag act in a first class establishment, you won’t be fooled by these overly macho impersonations. Guy Pearce comes closest to approximating the extremes in dress and mannerisms that professional drag artists employ. The film might be a touch too long for its own good, but with the steady stream of outlandish outfits, an assaulting mix of disco, pop, and opera on the soundtrack, and three expert leading actors, the film never falters even in its most melodramatic moments. And the sweet father-son scenes with Weaving at his best and most vulnerable and the touching developing relationship between Bernadette and mechanic Bob (Bill Hunter) give the film a nice variance of emotions from the wackiness that claims much of the running time.


The Birdcage – 3.5/5


Gay couple Armand Goldman (Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane) together own The Birdcage, one of the most glittering and celebrated nightclubs in South Beach, and Albert serves as the main attraction: Starina, a female impersonator. Armand’s son Val (Dan Futterman) from a one night stand with Katherine (Christine Baranski) announces that he’s engaged to Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart), daughter of the arch conservative Minister of Moral Order (Gene Hackman). During the first meeting of the parents, Albert through a series of slapstick circumstances is forced to masquerade as Katherine and surprisingly charms the straight-laced father of the upcoming bride though how long he’ll be able to pull off the charade is anyone’s guess.


Following the basic plot of La Cage aux Folles very closely, this Elaine May-scripted, Mike Nichols-directed farce is very well done, its effectiveness only marred by the fact that the French got there first. The Americanized version has a larger budget, of course, and a striking list of star names in these iconic roles (Hank Azaria as the maid Agador steals every scene he’s in). In fashioning the slightly updated story, May takes a tip from the Broadway musical version and allows the son to realize the error and selfishness of his ways by the end of the film and proudly claim his rightful parents. Unlike the Broadway musical, however, we only get the briefest of snippets of Starina’s drag act which uses an almost forgotten Stephen Sondheim song deleted from Follies “Can That Boy Fox Trot?” Williams and Baranski do a quick chorus of another Sondheim cutout, this time from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum “Love Is in the Air.” Gene Hackman milks every moment of humor with his empathetic attraction to Nathan Lane’s “mother,” and as in the original French film, the lessons on masculinity are still hysterical. This is also one of the few comedies where Robin Williams has been reigned in and plays something close to a human occupying this planet.


Bent – 4/5


It’s 1934, and after a night of complete hedonism, Max (Clive Owen) stumbles back to his apartment with Nazi SA officer Wolf (Nikolaj Waldau), much to the disgust of his live-in lover, ballet dancer Rudy (Brian Webber). The next morning, however, their apartment is invaded by SS stormtroopers out to purge the party of the SA officers. Max and Rudy barely escape with their lives and after getting clothes from nightclub transvestite entertainer Greta (Mick Jagger) and money from Max’s Uncle Freddie (Ian McKellen), they go on the run from the Nazis and manage to escape them for a year. However, they’re eventually caught and loaded on the train to Dachau. On the train Max meets Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), a prisoner wearing a pink triangle on his prison uniform, the Nazi’s symbol for homosexuals and considered the lowest of the tags used to mark political prisoners. After scheming to get a Jewish yellow star instead of a pink triangle for himself, Max convinces himself that he’s going to survive the camp no matter what it takes.


Martin Sherman’s stage version was a harrowing if spartan production. The movie version expands the stage’s obvious limitations with extensive sets and larger overall production values, but the drama is equally harrowing and just as moving as with its stage counterpart. Director Sean Mathias does a masterful job in the opening moments by setting the scene of Berlin in all of its pansexual glory. You see every possible sexual coupling (undoubtedly the reason for the NC-17 rating) with complete and unsensationalized nudity, and the anything goes nature of the nightclub where the action begins very much matches written descriptions of those wild, uninhibited lifestyles of the period there. Once the Nazis enter the picture, of course, the play and film move toward its ultimate end: portraying the indomitable nature of love despite the obstacles and specifically the journey Max takes in understanding the meaning of real love apart from the carnal. Clive Owen has never been better, never more viscerally emotional than here (perhaps in some moments of Closer he matches his work here), and Lothaire Bluteau, much less well known than the film’s other co-stars, is deeply touching as the proud but less calculating Horst. Mick Jagger’s trick casting as the heterosexual drag queen Greta isn’t revelatory, and composer Philip Glass has replaced the most effective stage song “Streets of Berlin” with a much less successful (and less period sounding) movie version (same lyrics, different tune).


The Object of My Affection – 3.5/5


After being dumped by his boy friend (Tim Daly) of four years, first grade teacher George Hanson (Paul Rudd) begins rooming with social worker Nina Borowski (Jennifer Aniston) despite objections from Nina’s boy friend Vince (John Pankow) who’d rather be the one moving in. Nina and George have an instant connection, something she’d like to see blossom into a full-fledged relationship if only George hadn’t met and fallen for struggling actor Paul James (Amo Gulinello). Nina’s unexpected pregnancy adds another kink into the household confusion, especially when she tells Vince that even though he’s the father, she’s decided to raise the child with George.


Wendy Wasserstein has scripted an intelligent and addictive comedy of manners, very much grounded in the New York literary and theater scene along with families of non-homogenized persuasions. Nicholas Hytner, who’s much more well known for mounting impressive stage vehicles than directing films, does a better than average job keeping the film from sagging with too much melodramatic baggage. Jennifer Aniston proves with this movie that she has a lot more going for her than her Friends character of Rachel. Paul Rudd is charming and genuinely heartfelt in his tightrope walking between the heterosexual and homosexual worlds. The very extensive supporting cast don’t all get maximum opportunities to explore their characters in depth, but John Pankow, Alan Alda, Allison Janney, and Nigel Hawthorne all make notable appearances. And in small roles, Tim Daly, Steve Zahn, and Bruce Altman also add flavor to the funny and emotionally satisfying mix.


Boys Don’t Cry – 3.5/5


Teena Brandon (Hiliary Swank) is one of those unfortunate souls of one sex born in the wrong body. She’s convinced she should be a male, but not having the money to undergo gender identity reassignment, she does the best she can in disguising her true sex and entering the world as a young man – Brandon Teena. As Brandon, she falls in with a rather rambunctious bunch: two ex-cons John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Tom (Brendan Sexton III) and two girls who generally hang around with them Candace (Alicia Goranson) and Lana (Chloe Sevigny). The group begins with admiration for the plucky, smaller Brandon, but once Brandon and Lana begin to get serious about one another, John’s jealousy rears its ugly head and hints about Brandon’s true identity begin to surface, information that so infuriates John and Tom that they seek their own style of redneck revenge on the deceiver.


The powerful albeit tragic story of Brandon Teena is a true tale made more horrifying by director Kimberly Peirce’s in-your-face direction. Sex scenes are captured in detailed close-up, and Brandon’s ultimate rape is graphically presented. What Kimberly Peirce and Andy Bienen’s script doesn’t do is get far enough under the skin of Brandon to help us understand his lack of self-preservation. Why, for instance, did he not take the opportunity to get away from his ultimate attackers when he was able to sneak away after his rape? Granted that none of the subjects of the film are operating on a full regimen of smarts; still, motivations, actions, and reactions don’t always seem to ring true. Since the script doesn’t delve very deeply into the psyches of the leading characters, the film seems overlong for its story, and a tighter running time would have made the film even more galvanizing and ultimately more poignant. Hiliary Swank’s Oscar was widely celebrated (though her approximation of a male varies from shot to shot: sometimes very strikingly masculine and at other times not looking the least bit so). Chloe Sevigny has in many ways the harder job of conveying the love and concern for Brandon even when she knows the secret after many lies have been told. Peter Sarsgaard scores electrifyingly as the unbalanced John, his hair-trigger tempter and drunkenness always placing him on the verge of an eruption. Matt McGrath as Teena’s gay friend who knows her secret and despite his objections helps her achieve her goals for a time makes the most of his limited screen time.


Kissing Jessica Stein – 4.5/5


After a series of disastrous dates with men that are either too stupid, too solemn, or too unattractive, copy editor Jessica Stein (Jennifer Westfeldt) reads an ad in the local newspaper under the section of “Women Seeking Women." It seems art curator Helen Cooper (Heather Juergensen) has tired of the three rather bumptious men she had been dating and wishes to dip her toe once again into the other side of the pond. The women take an immediate fancy to one another, but Jessica is sexually inexperienced with women and needs a lot of encouragement from Helen. Matters aren’t helped by her interfering, sarcastic boss Josh Meyers (Scott Cohen) or her meddlesome mother (Tovah Feldshuh) who’s constantly trying to set Jessica up with a nice Jewish man.


By far the most intelligent and embracing comedy in this collection, the two female stars of the piece also wrote the script and served as producers insuring that their baby would get the tender loving care it needed. They were fortunate in securing the services of director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld who handles the comedy of sexual experimentation with tact and generosity to the actors. Every scene seems perfectly realized from the hilarious montage of Jessica’s disastrous date nights through all of the various scenes depicting the arty, somewhat pretentious New York dating scene of the early part of this century. The script is also notable for having the greatest number of likeable major characters to have come along in ages, and the sophistication evident in every shot is so welcome and such a breath of fresh air from the general mediocre run of typical romantic comedies. Besides the terrific performances of the two leading ladies, sterling support is lent to the project by Scott Cohen, Jackie Hoffman as Jessica’s longtime married co-worker who’s agog when she learns Jessica is dating a woman, and Helen’s gay friends Martin and Sebastian played cleverly by Michael Mastro and Carson Elrod.


Imagine Me & You – 3/5


On her wedding day to good-natured stockbroker Heck (Matthew Goode), Rachel (Piper Perabo) gets her first glimpse of wedding florist Luce (Lena Headey), and it’s love at first sight. Though she attempts to make a go of the marriage, after three weeks, Heck realizes something is wrong, but he can’t imagine what it might be. Rachel’s rather miserably married parents (Celia Imrie, Anthony Head) are no help, and then there’s Heck’s horndog best friend Coop (Darren Boyd) who’s convinced that Luce can be turned into a ravenous heterosexual with only one night with him.


Though the script by director Ol Parker has a fair share of witty throwaway lines, the film seems awfully slight and overly contrived, and none of the actors really deliver anything resembling a charismatic performance. The two women in question don’t even spark that much heat which is decidedly a drawback if the audience is to buy their deep-seated romance. Parker also keeps things moving, but there are no standout moments to remember, and the film fades in the mind almost as soon as the credits begin rolling (though there are some rather limp additional plot pieces placed throughout the credits). Of the actors, the most enjoyable and heartfelt performances are not by the two female stars but by the slighted husband played by Matthew Goode and the tired, frustrated older husband acted by Anthony Head. Both of them convey their heartbreak and dissatisfaction with their relationships quite wonderfully and are indeed the most memorable characters in this somewhat disappointing, predictable romantic comedy.



Video Quality



The Children’s Hour – 3.5/5


The film’s theatrical 1.66:1 aspect ratio is faithfully presented, but the image has not been given anamorphic enhancement thus robbing it of the potential to be the best image possible for this material on DVD. The grayscale has been well captured with strong contrast and more than acceptable black levels. There are dust specks and debris, however, and some minor aliasing occasionally along with some soft shots which appear to come from a source other than the print used for the transfer. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.


La Cage aux Folles – 2.5/5


The film is framed at 1.66:1, but the image has not been anamorphically enhanced and looks all the poorer for that reckless decision. Much of the film has milky contrast which gives the color a decidedly dated appearance, and there are plenty of dust specks and some print damage to contend with. You’ll also see pronounced moiré on several occasions. The white subtitles are easy to read. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.


My Beautiful Laundrette – 3/5


The film’s 1.66:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented in a transfer that’s anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Even with this enhancement, picture quality is very erratic with some decent sharpness on occasion but also some decidedly soft shots and scenes that are crawling with digital noise. Color is usually fairly drab, but this could have been the artistic intent of the film’s design. The movie has been divided into 16 chapters.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 3/5


The film has been framed at 2.35:1, but it has not been anamorphically enhanced. Thus, the film is literally crawling with aliasing and moiré which disrupt some otherwise gorgeous images that feature strong, vibrant color and reasonably good sharpness. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.


The Birdcage – 3.5/5


The film is presented in its original theatrical 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Color is more than adequate with realistic flesh tones and good black levels. There are some age-related dust specks, but they aren’t prominent, and sharpness is certainly better than average without been reference quality. The movie has been divided into 24 chapters.


Bent – 4/5


The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented in a transfer that’s anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Sharpness is very effective in this transfer with nicely delivered details in close-ups, though I did notice some minor edge enhancement in a few scenes. Color is well delivered with very realistic flesh tones. Black levels are also quite good. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.


The Object of My Affection – 4.5/5


The film is framed at 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. Except for a few close-ups when color seems bit chalky and thick, this is an outstanding transfer with excellent sharpness, good black levels, and a mostly pristine picture with only an occasional bit of dust or debris to prevent it from attaining a reference quality score.


Boys Don’t Cry – 4/5


The film is presented in its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. On the whole, the transfer is very good with exceptionally deep black levels which do occasionally crush and affect effective shadow detail. Color is very natural and sharpness is never a problem. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.


Kissing Jessica Stein – 4.5/5


The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in a wonderful anamorphically enhanced transfer. Except for a few brief scenes where edge enhancement is noticeable, the majority of the image is quite superb for a 480p transfer. There’s quite a bit of detail in close-ups and medium shots, and color is rich without going overboard. Flesh tones seem accurate and very natural. Black levels are just fine. The movie has been divided into 24 chapters.


Imagine Me & You – 3.5/5


The film’s theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio is presented in a transfer that is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Contrast is the erratic factor here sometimes bleaching out the color of a scene too much and washing out flesh tones and detail. Shots are not always well focused although overall black levels are good. The film has been divided into 20 chapters.



Audio Quality


The Children’s Hour – 3/5


The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio track is decoded by Dolby Prologic properly into the center channel. While there are no obvious problems with the low bit rate audio encode, fidelity is rather limited, and the stirring, unsettling Alex North score doesn’t always have the fullness one would like it to have.


La Cage aux Folles – 2/5


The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio track is fairly poor. There’s noticeable if slightly soft hiss present throughout, and upper reaches of the music and voices distort regularly. With most of the the picture post dubbed, all of the dialogue has that flat, lifeless sound that makes for a dull audio track.


My Beautiful Laundrette – 3/5


The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio track isn’t weighed down with any audio artifacts, but it’s also not especially vibrant either. Dialogue is decently recorded, but the music and sound effects don’t have much punch to them.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 4/5


The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix is very well recorded with the dialogue properly placed into the center channel and the heavy mix of disco, pop, and operatic music infusing the soundtrack with bold, bright sound. The music, in fact, can sometimes to a trifle too loud, so viewers might choose to lower the volume levels for this one before playing the disc.


The Birdcage – 3.5/5


The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track has more than adequate spread through the soundstage, but only the music really benefits from the full surround encode. Very little is done with the rear channels in terms of ambient effects in the nightclub scenes or later scenes of large crowds or offstage sound effects as disastrous things are happening.


Bent – 4/5


The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround track is much more effective than one would expect for a low budget production. Both music and ambient effects get spread beautifully through the soundstage making the drama and some horrifying visuals even more disturbing than with the images alone.


The Object of My Affection – 3.5/5


The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track spreads the music well throughout the soundstage (several variations of “You Were Meant for Me” including the Gene Kelly version from Singin’ in the Rain), but otherwise it’s a very conservative and undemonstrative mix. There’s some slight ambiance on occasion, but most of the surround activity is front and center. Dialogue, which is very important to the film, is well recorded and placed properly in the center channel.


Boys Don’t Cry – 3/5


The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is a slightly above average encode for a low budget indie film. Not much is done with the rear channels though dialogue is well recorded and comes through expressively in the center channel. The subwoofer can take the night off.


Kissing Jessica Stein – 3.5/5


The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is true to its low budget and its comedy forefathers and concentrates on the front soundstage with the rears basically an afterthought. Marcelo Zarvos’ music does get routed through the soundstage to give some sense of immersion, but there are lots of lost opportunities for surround ambiance.


Imagine Me & You – 3.5/5


The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track does weave Alex Heffes’ music well into the fronts and rears, and during a fireworks display, the sound designer has placed some ambient crowd noises to give the soundstage some body. Otherwise, though, the rears are pretty much left alone with the front soundstage having the carry the major load for the audio.



Special Features


The Children’s Hour – 1/5


The film’s theatrical trailer is presented in nonanamorphic letterbox and lasts 1 ¾ minutes.


La Cage aux Folles – 1/5


The movie’s theatrical trailer runs 1 ¼ minutes in nonanamorphic letterbox.


My Beautiful Laundrette – 1/5


The theatrical trailer is presented in nonanamorphic letterbox and runs for 2 ¼ minutes.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 1/5


Though the press release mentioned that this disc would come with a plethora of bonus features including audio commentary, a gag reel, and some featurettes, the disc in the review set contained only a teaser trailer (1 ¼ minutes) and the theatrical trailer (2 ¾ minutes).


The Birdcage – 1/5


The theatrical trailer is presented in full frame and lasts 2 minutes.


Bent – 1/5


The theatrical trailer is presented in nonanamorphic letterbox and runs for 2 ½ minutes.


The Object of My Affection – 2.5/5


A promotional featurette featuring the leading actors talking about their characters along with the director and writer discussing the story runs for 3 ¾ minutes in 4:3.


The theatrical trailer runs for 2 ½ minutes in anamorphic widescreen.


There are four TV spots each running for ½ minute.


Boys Don’t Cry – 3/5


Director Kimberly Peirce contributes a dry, spotty audio commentary. Though it begins promisingly, it quickly deteriorates into the director describing what we’re seeing and explaining the characters’ motivations for their actions. There are also many long pauses between comments.


A promotional featurette with the leading actors and the director discussing aspects of the film is strictly EPK puffery. It runs 4 ¼ minutes and is presented in 4:3.


The film’s teaser trailer runs 1 ¾ minutes in nonanamorphic letterbox.


The theatrical trailer runs 2 ¼ minutes in 4:3.


There are three TV spot ads which run ½-minute each.


Kissing Jessica Stein – 3/5


There are two audio commentaries: director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld and director of photography Lawrence Sher share the first one, co-stars Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen contribute the second one. Both pairs of commentators are good natured and lively speakers, and each speaks from different points of view about the project offering quite a bit of useful and entertaining information. They’re both worthy tracks.


There are ten deleted scenes which may be played with or without commentary by Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen. There is no “play all” function, so each scene must be selected and played separately.


A Fox-prepared promotional featurette features the two stars talking about the journey in getting the film made while walking around New York pointing out some places were filming was done. It runs 8 ¾ minutes.


The theatrical trailer is presented in 4:3 and runs 2 ¼ minutes.


Imagine Me & You – 2.5/5


Director Ol Parker contributes the audio commentary for the film. He’s very honest and upfront about the mistakes he made in this, his first film effort, and his conversation is worth a listen for fans of the film.


The director’s statement, a sort of mini-pitch for the movie, is played against a succession of scenes from the film in anamorphic widescreen.


There are six deleted and extended scenes presented twice on the disc. The first time includes director introduction and commentary and lasts 9 minutes in anamorphic widescreen. The same scenes are presented without commentary and must be selected individually by the user.



In Conclusion

4/5 (not an average)


Running the gamut from tragic to funny, serious to slapstick, the Pride Collection is an excellent bargain for those who have interest in these gay-themed films and haven’t already purchased them in previous editions. Not every movie is presented at its best (Priscilla is a particularly old transfer), but these ten worthwhile movies in many varying genres deserve to be seen, and this is as good a place to start as any. Recommended!




Matt Hough

Charlotte, NC

 

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