The opening credits set the tone, as we see a Relief for Africa billboard being replaced byone advertising the tell-all autobiography of the glamorous Diana Scott (Jule Christie). Yup, it’sall very symbolic, folks: all kinds of close-ups ram the point home just in case we missed it. Therest of the film is no more subtle. See! Diana sleep her way to the top of the modelling world.Feel! John Schlesinger’s contempt for horrible rich people pretending to do good for the ThirdWo…ld. Experience! The decadence of the Paris party scene. See! Diana become an Italianprincess. See! Diana have an empty life. Let this be a lesson to you. In fact, with its shimmeringphotography and ham-fisted, facile symbolism and obvious satire, the movie is just as pretty andshallow as its self-obsessed heroine. That said, Julie Christie’s performance is terrific (you reallydo want to strangle her), and she is ably supported by Dirk Bogarde (as the writer whose life sheruins) and Lawrence Harvey (doing his best George Saunders impression as the jaded cad).
The sound is mono, and the music comes off best here, sounding quite clean and not too thin.The dialogue is rather more problematic. Much of it, especially in the early goings, is verydistorted, with harsh, distracting sibilance. I am, however, inclined to give the transfer the benefitof the doubt and blame the source material.
The print is in terrific shape, with nary a speckle or bit of grain in sight. The aspect ratio is1.66:1 and isn’t anamorphic, but even with the picture zoomed to fill a 16×9 screen, the pictureremains sharp and grain-free. The edge enhancement is a bit of an issue, but the real problemis a tendency to pulse in and out of focus every few minutes. At about 69:28, the image freezesand flickers too.
Nothing but a grainy trailer. The menu is basic.
The years have not been kind to Darling, as it arguably looks even more superficialand silly now than it did in 1965. As a product of its times, however, it retains a certainfascination, and has Julie Christie’s star turn at its centre.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer