A few words about…™ The Whales of August — in Blu-ray

Very Highly Recommended 4 Stars

Lindsay Anderson’s The Whales of August, is a simple story of two sisters at their home on the Maine coast.

It’s also one of the most magnificent cinema experiences set to celluloid.

And another film for which I’ve been waiting aeons to arrive in a respectable form for home video consumption.

Thanks to Kino Lorber, it’s here.

The sheer overabundance of acting experience in this film is astounding, but that’s not the half of it.

There’s something spellbinding watching this film, and those in it.

Those in it…

Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Vincent Price, Ann Sothern. Add in the experience of Harry Carey, Jr., and you’ve got over 300 years of acting between them.

It’s enough cinema history all rolled up into a single film, to make you sit up straight, as the hair on the back of your neck stands on end.

I probably won’t get this correct. I’ll let you check sources on the inter-web…

But I recall a comment at the time of release which went something like this.

Director Anderson, commented to Lillian Gish that she was doing a terrific job with her close-ups.

Bette Davis, overheard the comment, glared at Anderson, giving him one of those “you’ve can’t be serious” looks, and told him something like…

“Miss Gish, doing a terrific job on her close-ups! She invented them!”

This is another of those very rare films that must be experienced.

Kino’s Blu-ray is of high quality, with superb color, nice grain structure, and stable enough for government work.

Buy a copy, and enjoy. And don’t forget to sample the extras. There are many, and they’re worth their weight in gold.

Lest readers don’t get the message, I love this film!

Image – 4.5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Absolutely

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

18 Comments

  1. In addition to the performances, I love this film for its gentle, relaxed pacing (it's obviously not a hyper-kinetic Michael Bay film) and for the beautiful setting and sense of place. It transports me back to the New England of my youth whenever I watch it. Can't wait to receive my pre-ordered Blu-Ray.

  2. RichMurphy

    In addition to the performances, I love this film for its gentle, relaxed pacing (it's obviously not a hyper-kinetic Michael Bay film) and for the beautiful setting and sense of place. It transports me back to the New England of my youth whenever I watch it. Can't wait to receive my pre-ordered Blu-Ray.

    Somehow I cannot imagine Mr. Bay directing either Miss Davis or Miss Gish.

  3. I'll definitely have to pick this one up; have always liked this picture, and am very interested in all the bonus material. I think it's a marvelous and fitting send-off for these truly legendary actresses (let's just pretend Bette's few scenes in "Wicked Stepmother" never happened, and that this is her last film). My only nitpick is that both Bette and Lillian seem to be about two decades too old for their parts, as scripted. For me, the film would have made more sense if it were talking about women in the 65-75-year age range.

  4. octobercountry

    I'll definitely have to pick this one up; have always liked this picture, and am very interested in all the bonus material. I think it's a marvelous and fitting send-off for these truly legendary actresses (let's just pretend Bette's few scenes in "Wicked Stepmother" never happened, and that this is her last film). My only nitpick is that both Bette and Lillian seem to be about two decades too old for their parts, as scripted. For me, the film would have made more sense if it were talking about women in the 65-75-year age range.

    In this case, I'd opt for talent over a literal age; especially with the combined acting chops of these two legends.
    Not many scripts in those days for such combined greatness.

  5. octobercountry

    I'll definitely have to pick this one up; have always liked this picture, and am very interested in all the bonus material. I think it's a marvelous and fitting send-off for these truly legendary actresses (let's just pretend Bette's few scenes in "Wicked Stepmother" never happened, and that this is her last film). My only nitpick is that both Bette and Lillian seem to be about two decades too old for their parts, as scripted. For me, the film would have made more sense if it were talking about women in the 65-75-year age range.

    In this case, I'd opt for talent over a literal age; especially with the combined acting chops of these two legends.
    Not many scripts in those days for such combined greatness.

  6. I've never seen this film. But I'll be blind-buying.

    I love slow "simple story" films. Some of my favorites include Driving Miss Daisy, The Trip to Bountiful and On Golden Pond.

    If Whales of August can compare to films like that, I'm all in.

  7. Mike Frezon

    And I can't get the thought of a Bay-directed CGI Lillian Gish out of my head.

    I shudder as to what her super-power might be…

    😀

    Gish would be so powerful, she could endlessly rock out of the cradle.

  8. Mike Frezon

    I've never seen this film. But I'll be blind-buying.

    I love slow "simple story" films. Some of my favorites include Driving Miss Daisy, The Trip to Bountiful and On Golden Pond.

    If Whales of August can compare to films like that, I'm all in.

    Charles Smith

    Yes to "slow" and "simple story" films.

    And I would say you're in for a big treat, sir.

    And a treat it was.

    "Wow" to the acting talent in this film. The story was secondary to the powerhouses that starred in this film. They were able to take those characters and make them completely real. I shudder to think what any lesser actress may have done with that scene in which Gish's character (Sarah) celebrated her wedding anniversary alone. Never did I feel like there was a contrivance of any sort. Davis was crazy good at no over-playing her character's blindness. And Price, Sothern and Carey were all on their game, too.

    Loved it…even though the story didn't seem to move me all that much.

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