Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on October 28th, 2005
Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney are a couple whose marriage appears to be reaching its end. They travel through France, which was the scene of so many other memories, and they (and we) experience, through interlocking flashbacks, the history of their relationship.From the moment the animated credit sequence and Henry Mancini score begin, one is clearly watching a Stanley Donen film from the peak of his career (the presence of Hepburn is yet another reminder of Charade from just a couple of years prior). The flashbacks-within-flashbacks structure might initially seem daunting, but the film is light on its feet, and is never confusing. Finney’s character is sufficiently cranky even in the early stages of the relationship that one might be forgiven for wondering what Hepburn ever saw in him, but the scenery is pretty and the dialogue zings.
Both mono and stereo options are present. The latter has some wraparound dialogue, but nothing too severe. There is some distortion happening with the dialogue as well. But the music is served very well by the mix.
Not all the recent Studio Classics have been restored, but this one has, and the effort shows. The colours are strong, the flesh tones are natural, and the print is in terrific shape. There is no grain or edge enhancement, and the image is nice and sharp. The original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio is preserved.
After a short bio and introduction by an anonymous speaker, Stanley Donen steps in for the commentary, and does a fine job, covering not just the making of the film but what its intent and narrative strategies are all about. The other extras are minimal: a restoration comparison, a still gallery, and trailers. The menu is basic.
It seems to me that the Studio Classics series has abandoned the once glorious package of extras they lavished on these releases. Still, the movie looks good, and Donen’s commentary is excellent.