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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by longtime Cassavetes collaborators Mike Ferris (camera operator) and Bo Harwood (sound recordist/composer)
  • Video conversation between actors Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
  • Audio interview with Cassavetes by film historians Michel Ciment and Michael Wilson conducted in 1975
  • Trailer
  • Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos

A Woman Under the Influence

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: John Cassavetes
Starring: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper
1974 | 147 Minutes | Licensor: Jumer Productions, Inc.

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $124.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #253
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 22, 2013
Review Date: November 12, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

This uncompromising portrait of domestic turmoil details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family's struggle to save her from herself. Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk give unforgettably harrowing performances as a married couple deeply in love but unable to express their ardor in terms the other can understand. This landmark American film is perhaps the most beloved work from the extraordinary John Cassavetes.

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

The third film in Criterionís Blu-ray box set John Cassavetes: Five Films, A Woman Under the Influence is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this dual-layer disc. The film has been given a 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation.

Unsurprisingly Criterionís edition looks pretty close to the BFIís own Blu-ray (they apparently both come from the same masters) if not better. It looks incredibly crisp when the source allows (some shots can appear a bit out of focus) and detail is staggering. Colours are fairly bright and vivid despite a rather basic palette, and black levels appear to be spot on.

The film is grainy of course, and the density of it can vary, but it looks clean and doesnít give off a pixilated, digital look. Artifacts in general are of no concern, and even the source itself is in incredible shape with only a few noticeable imperfections of note. A stunner, and it improves noticeably over Criterionís already strong DVD edition.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Criterion supplies a 1.0 linear PCM mono track that sounds surprisingly good all things considered. There is some slight distortion noticeable in places (more than likely an issue with the original recordings) but the track is clean, delivers clear dialogue, and doesnít present any background noise. It lacks much in the way of fidelity but itís generally pleasing to the ear.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion ports all of their supplements over from their DVD edition starting with a slightly disappointing audio commentary by camera man Mike Ferris and sound man Bo Harwood, longtime collaborators with Cassavetes. It's very technical, as one would expect, and offers some interesting comments on the technique to making these films, but I found they were comments already covered rather well on the supplements on the previous discs. Still, they offer comments on Cassavetes, the cast and their overall experience over the years, which I liked hearing. It's a decent commentary but disappointing since it's the only one over the entire 5-disc box set.

A 17-minute conversation between Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk is also included. This has the two talking about the film and Cassavetes himself, with the camera just sitting on them. They're more or less interviewing each other and cover some interesting ground, especially Falk's comments on his likes and frustrations with Cassavetes, specifically his reaction to his technique while working on Husbands.

A fairly lengthy audio interview with Cassavetes by Michael Ciment, recorded in 1975, is next. The two talk about his work, A Woman Under the Influence particularly, development of his characters, how he works with his actors and whether itís different when he directs Rowlands, and more. Cassavetes is passionate, making it a fascinating interview. It runs 74-minutes and has been divided into 7 chapters.

The disc then closes with a series of production galleries, offering on set photos from the shoot, followed by a theatrical trailer.

A decent set of supplements but itís probably the weakest set to be found in the set.

6/10

CLOSING

Criterionís upgrade keeps the same supplements from the DVD but delivers a far more filmic presentation with its new high-definition transfer.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

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