DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The President's Analyst

Scott Kimball

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The President's Analyst



Studio: Paramount

Year: 1967

Rated: PG

Length: 102 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio: English Mono

English subtitles; Closed Captioned

Special Features: none

S.R.P. $14.99


Release Date: June 8, 2004




Prologue

This film has not been made with the consent or cooperation of the Federal Board of Regulations (F.B.R.) or the Central Enquiries Agency (C.E.A.). Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, and so forth and so on.


The above text is the very first thing you see as you watch The President’s Analyst, and it sets the tone for things to come.

Set in the late 1960’s, Dr. Sidney Schaefer (James Coburn), a noted psychologist in New York City, is called upon to leave his private practice and become the President’s personal analyst. It seems that the burdens of attaining world peace, worrying about the national debt, and making dessert choices at state dinners has taken a toll on the President, and he needs some help setting his mind at ease.

It seems, though, that the job of President’s Analyst comes at a high price. Members of government agencies, both domestic and foreign, will do anything to capture Dr. Schaefer and extract the information that he now possesses. And if they can’t have Schaefer’s secrets, then the alternative is to kill him so nobody else can have them either. Surprisingly, there is another rogue agency, more powerful than all the governments of the world, that wants Schaefer, too.

The interplay between an American agent and a Soviet agent (Godfrey Cambridge and Severn Darden) is priceless, playing much like Wile E. Coyote and the Sheep Dog from the old Warner cartoons - working against one another, but being sociable and civil in the process (though here, they eventually end up working together to fight the ultimate evil agency, TPC).

James Coburn is perfectly cast as Dr. Schaefer. He is able to do more with a double-take or a wry smile than anyone else, and plays the whole thing up to great comedic effect. His love interest (and spy) is played by Joan Delaney. Pat Harrington turns in a delicious performance as the president of “TPC.”

Also appearing are William Daniels in a hilarious role as Wynn Quantrill (a concerned American citizen), and Barry McGuire and Jill Banner as a couple of hippies.

McGuire has an excellent musical interlude, Inner Manipulations. The music is by Lalo Schifrin, Barry McGuire and The Clear Light. Thankfully, Paramount has restored music which has been missing from previous home video releases of this film. My thanks to Peter Fitzgerald for enlightening me on the edits the film has seen over the years.

Look quick for some animation by Depatie-Freleng near the end of the film.

This is a classically funny but understated film that absolutely oozes The Sixties like few other films I can recall. There is no mistaking the period in which the film was made. The clothes, the hair, the furniture, the music... far out. For me, that adds to the fun. Your mileage may vary.

The Video
The President’s Analyst comes to you in an anamorphically enhanced, 2.35:1 widescreen version. The image is pleasantly sharp, considering the age of the film elements. It has good contrast and deep black levels overall, though one or two scenes suffer from a very mild lack of depth in blacks. There is good shadow detail throughout.

The color (by Technicolor) is wonderfully saturated, offering up deep and vibrant colors without saturating to the point of bleeding or losing detail.

There were a few instances where I noticed very mild ringing in high contrast areas, such as the border between building and sky. I’m not sure if this was due to oversharpening, or if they were resampling artifacts. Either way, they were very mild and fleeting. I didn’t even notice them until my second pass through the disc - so you’re likely not to notice unless you’re looking for it.

The most bothersome issue with the transfer is the amount of dust. There are mild but pervasive negative and positive specks throughout the film. These specks are frequent, but fleeting. While a minor annoyance, they wouldn’t keep me from adding this film to my library.

This transfer is above average in the video department, for an older catalog title - losing points for dust and scratches more than anything else.

The Audio
There is one audio track to choose from - the original mono track. The sound is clean with no noticeable hiss. Dialog is always easy to hear and understand, and music sounds okay, utilizing much of the frequency range available to it. The bass won’t rattle your windows, and the high end of the range is slightly lacking compared to a modern recording - but the audio on disc is probably accurate when compared to the original recording.

Special Features
There are no special features.

Final Thoughts
I love this film. It’s a great sixties comedy - much more subdued than, say, The Pink Panther films of the era, but still very funny in its own right. The transfer is very nice, save for the dust...

It’s priced to sell, too, at a suggested retail of $14.99. You’ll probably find this for under $12 at your local retailers or online.

Far Out.
 
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Thank you for your review Scott. I thought I read somewhere that this was going to have a remixed 5:1 soundtrack plus the original mono. Oh well. Glad to hear that the original soundtrack was left intact by Paramount. Thank you Paramount. Looking forward to picking this up in a eight days.
 

Bill Parisho

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(1)Thank you to Paramount for releasing this wonderful film to DVD. (2)Thank you for restoring the original soundtrack. (3)Thank you for putting it at an affordable price
Now if we can only get you to toss in some bonus features on your older films.
And please stop hurting your bottom line by putting out separate full screen editions when they're not needed. Simply put out full screen titles for full screen presentations and wide screen titles for wide screen presentations. Simple enough!
Bill Parisho
 

Peter M Fitzgerald

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I just received my copy of THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST in the mail today, and upon inspection, can further confirm that all the original music is in its proper place (for the first time ever on legit home video). Good job, Paramount!
 

Dave Jessup

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Intrigued by portions of the film I saw by chance, I searched unsuccessfully locally, ended up getting it online.

What a wicked, delightful piece of work. Thoroughly enjoyed it, especially knowing it's presented as intended.

The case for my copy has a couple extra "security" snaps I've never seen on a DVD case before. Appropriate, given the subject.
 

Dave Jessup

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Intrigued by portions of the film I saw by chance, I searched unsuccessfully locally, ended up getting it online.

What a wicked, delightful piece of work. Thoroughly enjoyed it, especially knowing it's presented as intended.

The case for my copy has a couple extra "security" snaps I've never seen on a DVD case before. Appropriate, given the subject.
 

LarryDavenport

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Since this was James Coburn's favorite movie it's sad they didn't get a commentary or at least add as extras the many interviews he did about the film.
 

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