All three of thiese films have previous been seen release on DVD (one quite some time ago,from the look of things), and they are of varying importance to Streisand’s career.
The most notable of the bunch is The Way We Were (1973). Directed by SydneyPollack, this charts the relationship of Streisand (fiery activist) and Robert Redford (writer in theF. Scott Fitzgerald mould) from their college days in the 1930s to their inevitable breakup in1950s Hollywood. Th…ugh much of the film’s interest is in making its stars look as good aspossible, in as many ways as possible, it is a handsome production, and deals, howeverglancingly, with the political currents of the times.
The other two films are directed by Streisand herself, and as for The Prince of Tides(1991), I quote what I said when reviewing the disc upon its original release: “Nick Nolte is TomWingo, an ex-coach whose life is on the skids. When his sister attempts suicide, he goes to NewYork to meet with her psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein (Barbra Streisand). Gradually, Wingoopens up about the insanely over-the-top family traumas lurking in the past. As a reward, he getsto go to bed with the psychiatrist. If Oprah is just too restrained for you, then you should behappy with this blitzkrieg of ranting melodrama.”
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) is the comedy of the bunch. Jeff Bridges is themath prof who loses all common sense when confronted with beauty. Streisand is the mousyliterature prof, daughter to Lauren Bacall. The two losers come together with the idea that, withno sexual attraction to screw things up, theirs will be a marriage of minds. But Streisand, madlyin love with Bridges after all, undergoes a Cinderella transformation. Much of the comedy is of afairly obvious and tired variety, lacking real bite.
The Prince of Tides lacks a 5.1 track, while the other two films have both 2.0 and5.1. They might as well have all stuck to the 2.0, as the 5.1 is noticeably weaker in the surroundelements than the 2.0. The job gets done fine in any event, though the results aren’t spectacularhome runs.
Curiously, the oldest film looks the best. Though The Way We Were does have somedodgy moments (the opening shot is very brown and dirty), for the most part it looks wonderful,with strong, vibrant colours, terrific blacks and superb sharpness. The Prince of Tides is adecent transfer, but the colours are a bit drab, the skin tones a little dark. The Mirror Has TwoFaces, the most recent film, is the weakest transfer. The case boasts a 1.85:1 anamorphictransfer, but what we have instead is a slightly soft fullscreen treatment.
No extras at all on Mirror. In fact, its menu is so primitive that this looks like arelease from the very early days of DVD. Prince of Tides has some filmographies andtrailers, but the liner notes once present are gone. It does have the most elaborate menu of thebunch, for whatever that’s worth. The Way We Were has a commentary by Pollack, whohas very vivid memories of the making of the film. “Looking Back” is an hour-long documentaryon the film, with interviews with most of the major participants (but not Redford). Here too arebrief bios and filmographies, and some trailers.
This is hardly a “Best Of” collection, and there is nothing new about the discs themselves.For fans only if they don’t already own these movies.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- “Looking Back: The Way We Were” Documentary