Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 12th, 2003
Claudia Draper (Barbra Streisand) has been charged with first-degree manslaughter. Hermother and stepfather try to have her declared incompetent to stand trial, so she will go to apsychiatric hospital rather than jail. Claudia refuses to be railroaded, punching out her lawyer incourt. Public defender Richard Dreyfuss winds up saddled with her case, and decides to fight forStreisand’s right to have her day in court. The role of Claudia is big, scenery-chewing exercisefor Str…isand, which will either please you or not, depending on your taste. Dreyfuss is a lot offun as the world-weary but still feisty lawyer.
The soundtrack is only 2.0, but does quite a stellar job within that limitation, particularlywhen it comes to the creation of an environment. When we are in crowded settings, such as aprison or courtroom, the result is particularly impressive, with the babble of voices generating areal sense of space. The dialogue and music are all fine as well, and the dialogue doesn’t buzz,even during the shouting (of which there is quite a bit).
A 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer (as is the case with the other new Streisandreleases). There are no edge enhancement halos to speak of, and no grain. The blacks are okay, asare the colours. The contrasts are a bit dark, however. Granted, the film does take place in a manylow-light settings, but a number of the scenes look a bit murkier than they should.
Barbra Streisand provides the feature-length commentary. She touches on many interestingaspects of the making of the film and its themes, but the talk also gets oddly defensive at times,to the point of being squirm-inducing. The other extras are basic: the theatrical trailer, cast andcrew filmographies, and a still gallery. The menu’s main page is scored.
A big-name cast (Streisand, Dreyfuss, Karl Malden, Maureen Stapleton, Leslie Nielsen, andso on) give it their all in a solid courtroom drama. Arguably the strongest entry of the recentStreisand DVDs.
Special Features List
- Commentary by Barbra Streisand
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery