Friday, 7 March 2014

“The Remains Of The Days” on BLU RAY – A Review Of The 2013 Sony Pictures 20th ‘Anniversary Edition’. Part of SONY COLLECTOR SERIES on BLU RAY

Here is a link to the right issue on Amazon UK to get the best price:

“…It Is Not My Place…” – The Remains Of The Day On BLU RAY

I own 7 titles in this Sony Pictures BLU RAY series (see PS below) and the picture quality on some of these reissues has been hit and miss for me – "Guns Of Navarone", "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" and "Stand By Me" are good rather than great – while "Gandhi", "The Bridge Of The River Kwai" and "From Here To Eternity" look utterly amazing. So it’s with relief that I can say the transfer of 1993’s "The Remains Of The Day" looks truly beautiful on this well laid out and well thought out 2013 Anniversary Edition BLU RAY.

Tony Pierce-Robert’s masterful cinematography is brought out in a way you’ve never seen it before in this quality transfer. It’s defaulted to 2.40 (bars top and bottom) - but even stretched to full aspect – the grain on the huge number of indoor shots is very minimal. It fact giving the picture a bit of distance – it could be “Downton Abbey” in High Def – it’s that well filmed. Boarding House signs, the family Daimler car, the crunch of the gravel outside the huge Darlington House door, a bead of sweat dripping off the old man’s nose as he serves at table, the squeak of leather shoes, chucking water over a kitchen table to wash it – it all looks and sounds glorious.

Anthony Hopkins (playing James Stevens) and Emma Thompson (playing Miss Kenton) had just come off "Howard's End" in 1991 – so they knew each other very well – and were ideal casting for this kind of material (Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep were once muted for the parts with Mike Nichols as the Director). Equally impressive is James Fox as Lord Darlington, a young Hugh Grant (pre "Four Weddings" fame) and English stalwart Peter Vaughan playing Hopkins’ frail father. There are also small parts for Ben Chaplin (ITV’s "Mad Dogs") and Lena Headey (Queen Cersei Lannister in "Game Of Thrones"). This is a world where people say “my dear boy” at dinner, there are 12 for tea and a scullery maid who’s eloped with a footman is described as a ”bad business”.

The principal Extra “The Filmmaker’s Journey” features interviews with Hopkins, Thompson, James Fox and Christopher Reeves, Director James Ivory, Producers Ismail Merchant and James Calley and novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.

AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Surround
SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.

1. Ultraviolet Code – To Download the movie for mobile devices
2. The Remains Of The Day: The Filmmakers Journey
3. Blind Loyalty, Hollow Honor: England’s Fatal Flaw
4. Love & Loyalty: The Making Of The Remains Of The Day
5. Deleted Scenes

“The Remains Of The Day” is such a quality piece of filmmaking – a life wasted in servitude (dialogue above) – not taking a chance on love when it’s presented to you. And the ache that Hopkins and Thompson are able to bring to the piece is almost red raw.

This is a top class reissue – and I wish there were more of them…


Film fans will probably have noticed that original issues of this ‘UK’ Sony Pictures series of releases have generic artwork – usually a gold-banded card wrap on the outside with a number on the top of the spine (blue band on top, gold stripe set against a white sleeve). Although it doesn’t say so on anywhere on the artwork – this ‘UK’ set of BLU RAY releases has become known as the “Sony Collectors Series”.

“The Remains Of The Day” is number 19 so far (as of March 2014). Here are the other titles in the series – all of which originally came with ‘card wraps’:

1. Taxi Driver (35th Anniversary Edition) (1976)
2. The Bridge On The River Kwai (Collectors Edition) (1957)
3. Stand By Me (25th Anniversary Edition) (1986)
4. Gandhi (2 Disc Special Edition) (1982)
5. Easy Rider (Special Edition) (1969)
6. Midnight Express  (Special Edition) (1978)
7. Boyz N The Hood (20th Anniversary Edition) (1991)
8. Das Boot (2 Disc Director’s Cut) (1981)
9. The Guns Of Navarone (50th Anniversary Edition) (1961)
10. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (2 Disc Special Edition) (1977)
11. Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (Special Edition) (1964)
12. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Special Edition) (2000)
13. The Caine Mutiny (Special Edition) (1954)
14. Lawrence Of Arabia (50th Anniversary Edition) (1962)
15. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Special Edition) (1993)
16. Groundhog Day (Special Edition) (1993)
17. Glory (Special Edition) (1990)
18. From Here To Eternity (Anniversary Edition) (1953)

19. The Remains Of The Day (Anniversary Edition) (1993)

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