DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Fairy Tale: A True Story

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    May 8, 2000
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    Fairy Tale: A True Story

    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1997

    Rated: PG for "Brief Mild Language"

    Length: 97 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic

    Audio: DD 5.1 English, Dolby Surround English & French

    English Subtitles

    Release Date: November 11, 2003

    Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997) is a charming film about a couple of young girls who claim to see, and photograph, fairies in 1917 and 1918. The photographs make their way to notable figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O’Toole) and Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel). Doyle is a believer in fairies, investigates the case, and goes on to publish a book about them, based on the photographs (Doyle did, in fact, publish The Coming of the Fairies in the 1920’s). Houdini, Doyle’s friend, was a skeptic - but he could not prove the photographs fake, and didn’t see the harm in the fantasy - though he did work hard to expose charlatans who took advantage of people. This film is, in fact, based on a true story. All of the controversy surrounding the photographs actually happened. The question is, were the photographs authentic? Though the girls admitted their trickery decades later, the film goes along with the gag and presents the fairies as real. Look for a cameo by Mel Gibson in the final moments of the film (his company, Icon Productions, produced the film).

    I enjoyed this film. Though it is geared toward younger audiences, the inclusion of historical figures and the “Theosophist” science, as well as the old-fashioned photographic processes we observe, made it interesting for adults as well.

    The Video
    I was truly impressed with the transfer of this film. The picture is tack sharp without any obvious ringing around hard edges. Colors are highly saturated and warm. The picture is bright overall, and has superb shadow detail. This is an outstanding transfer of an absolutely gorgeous print.

    The Audio
    The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, as well as English and French Dolby Surround. The 5.1 track is well done. Dialog sounds clear and natural, while the front soundfield is filled with effects and the wonderful musical score. Effects and music blend nicely into the surround channels. LFE is not overly aggressive, but then, there’s not much in this film to warrant Low Frequency Effects. This is a great example of a simple, well-done mix.

    Parting Thoughts
    This is a bare-bones catalog release.

    If you’re looking for a good, family-oriented, live-action fantasy film that you and your kids can enjoy, I think this fits the bill - an enchanting film with beautiful photography and good performances, and a well written story.
  2. Joshua Clinard

    Joshua Clinard Screenwriter

    Aug 25, 2000
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    Abilene, TX
    Real Name:
    Joshua Clinard
    I'll pick this one up, instead of the Matilda SE, that's really not an SE at all.
  3. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Jan 12, 1999
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    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    We've owned the vhs version for years now and so seeing it in widescreen for the first time will be a treat. A definite underrated movie. Looking forward to it. Nice review as well. [​IMG]
  4. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Jul 10, 1999
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    Fairy Tale: A True Story has been in my laser disc player many times in the last 6 years. For some odd reason the story was also filmed in 1997 as "Photographing Fairies" with Ben Kingsley in the cast. I discovered that version on cable and really disliked it.
    Can't wait to get this DVD.
  5. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

    Dec 30, 2002
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    The "True Story" in the title is misleading as this isn't a very accurate depiction of the events. Read Michael Crichton's Travels for a view on how this coudl be considered a cautionary tale. A decent movie nonetheless, though.
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    Sounds interesting. I might have to give it a try.

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