Nineteen Eighty-four DVD

I just picked this up, and I have to say that even though I’m barely through the film, I’m sorely disappointed with what they’ve done with it.

Not the movie itself, mind you, but how the DVD was done. The bonus features consists solely of the trailer. That’s it. No director’s commentary, no commentary by a noted scholar, none of a zillion other possible things that they could have put on the disk. The other thing that jumps out at me is how bright the damn thing is. On the videotape I have, the colors are washed out and subdued, which helps to symbolize how bleak the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four is. The images in the DVD are screaming at me in technicolor glory, that’s just wrong.

One thing that I noticed for the first time while watching this is in the scene where Smith looks in the window of the Chestnut Tree for the first time. There’s a shot, taken from inside, with him looking in, and there’s a paint drop on the glass at the edge of Smith’s hair, which gives him a Christ-like appearance. Wonder if that was deliberate on the director’s part? (Of course, without commentary, I’ll never know.)

Still, the clarity of the DVD is a definate improvement from the video tape. (For years I thought you could see the mic taped to John Hurt’s chest, now I realize it’s his undershirt.) And at least now I can watch it to my heart’s content without worrying about the tape degrading or being eaten.

Ah… but was the cost low?

I agree. I mean, it was Richard Burton’s last movie, made two or three months eefore he died. You’d think there would be some signifigance in that. They should have made a little documentary–something. Although I’m just so glad to get the movie in a good format that I’m willing to forgive.

It was on sale for $15, but the release price was around $20.

I read a online article on this matter (can’t remember where, sorry) and apparently the DVD was color-corrected during the telecine process without referring to the color-timing codes used for the theatrical prints, which were deliberately designed to be harsh and washed-out looking. So the DVD is flawed in that sense.

The subject of color-timing is pretty interesting. There’s a great featurette on the *O Brother, Where Art Thou? * DVD that demonstrates how the actual photography of the film was quite colorful and crisp, and was given its yellowish and hazy look through digital means.

You guys need to check out I just ordered 1984 from them for $13.67, with free shipping.