Timothy Bottoms plays Hart, a first-year law student at Harvard. His existence centresaround a class taught by Kingsfield (John Houseman), a brilliant but utterly ruthless professorwho consistently humiliates his students, yet somehow acquires their unswerving loyalty. Hartalso begins an affair with a Susan (Lindsay Wagner), who turns out to be Kingsfield’s daughter.Though the film is never less than compelling, it does lack a centre. The characters are almostall cyphers or…cartoons, and this is also true of our protagonist. What exactly Hart wants, whathis motivations are, remain utterly mysterious.
The sound comes in both the original mono and a 2.0 surround remix. The new stereo is amixed blessing. It is clear enough, but the curse of the surround voices is definitely present.Though many of the sound effects are quite good, the surround is used indiscriminately, and soall sorts of inappropriate sounds get the treatment. As well, there is some hiss, and a backgroundnoise that suggests the entire film is taking place with running water in the background. Thedialogue distorts occasionally as well.
The ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and is struck from a very fine print. There is nodamage whatsoever, there is no grain, and the colours are strong and warm. The contrasts aregood too, though there is occasionally some very slight edge enhancement visible. Not enough tobe a problem however, and the picture is overall very good indeed.
The menu is basic, and the only extra (apart from trailers for The Paper Chase, Brubaker,High Crimes and The Verdict) is a commentary by producer Robert C. Thompson. He is stillpretty enamoured with the movie, and his talk (not particularly scene-specific) certainly coversalmost anything you’d want to know about the making of the film. One very nice aspect of thecommentary is that it has its own index, allowing you to jump to specific subjects.
Iffy sound, but nice picture and an entertaining film. The little extra touch of the indexedcommentary is a feature that should be encouraged too.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Theatrical Trailers