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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Stereo
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by director Terence Davies and director of photography Michael Coulter
  • Episode from 1992 of the British television series The South Bank Show with Davies, featuring on-set footage from The Long Day Closes and interviews with cast and crew
  • New interviews with executive producer Colin MacCabe and production designer Christopher Hobbs
  • Trailer

The Long Day Closes

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Terence Davies
1992 | 85 Minutes | Licensor: Film4

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #694
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Review Date: February 6, 2014

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SYNOPSIS

The Long Day Closes is the most gloriously cinematic expression of the unique sensibility of Terence Davies, widely celebrated as Britain's greatest living filmmaker. Bursting with both enchantment and melancholy, this autobiographical film takes on the perspective of a quiet boy growing up lonely in Liverpool in the 1950s. But rather than employ a straightforward narrative, Davies jumps in and out of time, swoops into fantasies and fears, summons memories and dreams. A singular filmic tapestry, The Long Day Closes is an evocative, movie- and music-besotted portrait of the artist as a young man.

Forum members rate this film 7.5/10

 

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PICTURE

Terrence Davies makes his debut in The Criterion Collection with his 1992 film The Long Day Closes, presented here in a new 2-disc dual-format edition. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the filmís high-definition transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc, while a standard definition version, enhanced for widescreen televisions, is presented on a dual-layer DVD.

Criterion has been on a winning streak the past few months and with The Long Day Closes that streak continues: There really isnít that much I can fault either the Blu-ray or DVD with. Despite saying that, the Blu-rayís delivery is the better one of the two, looking crisper and far more filmic in the end. Other than one place where an optical effect is obviously being used the image never falters, keeping a sharp, distinctly clear image. Details and fine patterns pop, the little details on the rather impressive set come through clearly, from little cracks to some of the fascinating textures (which are discussed in the d supplements.) The colour scheme to the film isnít all that dynamic, limited to browns and a splash of some colour in places, and to my understanding the colours were purposely desaturated. Yet despite all of this the colours donít look at all drab and still manage to pop. Black levels are exceptional without an instance of crushing and shadow detail is excellent. The film has a very unique look and the Blu-ray appears to capture it wonderfully.

The DVDís transfer obviously uses the same high-def transfer for its base, and as a DVD it looks great, delivering about as much detail as it possibly can while lacking any out-of-the-ordinary compression issues. Its only issue is that detail is nowhere near as good in comparison to the Blu-ray, and there is no sense of depth as best displayed in the opening sequence, which looks incredible on the Blu-ray. This is of course a limitation of the format, but itís clear here that the Blu-ray offers the better presentation.

The print is in excellent condition and other than some issues with the aforementioned optical effect and a few minor flecks there isnít much to nitpick. In all itís an exceptional presentation.

9/10

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AUDIO

The lossless linear PCM 2.0 stereo track is incredibly robust and far more dynamic than I would have expected for the film. I admittedly threw the subtitles on because I had issues with a few accents but this is something inherent in the recordings and nothing to do with the presentation, which is otherwise sharp and clear. Music is especially impressive. Davies throws in various songs and recordings throughout the film and the audio track delivers them in a rich manner with great range. There is no distortion or damage to speak of. In all a surprisingly strong audio presentation.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion puts together a nice little special edition here, starting with an audio commentary with director Terrence Davies and director of photography Michael Coulter, which was actually recorded for a 2007 UK DVD edition. Iím not familiar with Davies so I wasnít sure what to expect from the commentary after viewing his film. I was surprised by how charming the director is, who has an infectious, dry wit about him, ultimately making the track far more engaging and entertaining than I would have expected. The two, recorded together, recall what they can about the production, joking about the cheap nature of the film (which I have to say has been hidden incredibly well,) and offering a few surprises (the film makes great use of miniatures.) While many of the technical aspects about the film are great and full of surprises, the track is at its best when Davies talks about the personal aspects of the film and its protagonist, as well as when he talks about the films he loves and how he fit those into the film. The stories he tells are so vivid and heartfelt as well, and I had to admit I almost shed a tear when recalls a story (somewhat depicted in the film) where his friends went to the movies without him and the hurt that caused. The biggest surprise out of this whole track, for me, was his love of Hollywood musicals, which I donít think I would have ever guessed in all honesty. Itís a delightfully pleasant track and not at all what I was expecting after viewing the film for the first time.

Following this is a 1992 episode of The South Bank Show, which aired a month before the premiere of The Long Day Closes. It has a few portions written by Davies where he seems to be covering his youth and where he grew up, but a good chunk of the segment (which runs 47-minutes) is an interview with Davies. During the interview portions Davies talks about first discovering the cinema and his love of Hollywood musicals, while also talking about growing up as a ďrepressedĒ homosexual and the bullying he had to endure at the Catholic school he attended (he recalls one story where he met one of his bullies as an adult and the feelings that brought out.) He talks about The Long Day Closes and his intentions with it, and we also get some behind-the-scenes footage along with short interviews with Leigh McCormack (who plays Bud,) producer Olivia Stewart, and production designer Christopher Hobbs. I found the entire episode a rather wonderful look at the film and its director, who again is a rather wonderful, witty interview subject; heís able to keep you transfixed as he recalls his past, displaying his skill as a master storyteller.

The remaining supplements are all new and appear to be exclusive to this edition. First is a 14-minute interview with executive producer Colin MacCabe. At one point MacCabe he worked for the BFI production board and recalls his one job of having to go through submitted scripts, which he found rather torturous. He then came across Daviesí Death and Transfiguration and was so spellbound by it he was able to finally (through what sounds like some arm twisting) get funding for him. From there they did Distant Voices, Still Lives and then finally (though mostly outside the BFI) he helped in getting money for The Long Day Closes. He focuses mostly on the financial aspects of Daviesí films, and the difficulties that come in raising funds, and then even talks about Daviesí style and what can frustrate viewers. Overall a fascinating look at how difficult it is to get one of the directorís films off of the ground.

Finally we get a 20-minute interview with production designer Christopher Hobbs. He gives an overview of his career, including his work for Derek Jarman and Ken Russell, and then talks about how he came to work on Daviesí films. He talks about how he didnít want to create a ďrealisticĒ set so to say, instead wanting to create Daviesí memory of where he grew up. He talks about the look of the sets, the textures he added and then covers how he did the special effects in the film (which he admits were probably a little unorthodox) with sketches. He also talks about the design of the sets and how they were able to get around the low budget. Again another fascinating examination.

The disc then closes with a lengthy 3-minute theatrical trailer and a nice essay by Michael Koresky on the film, its themes, and Daviesí style.

I was rather surprised by how entertaining the features actually were, mostly thanks to Daviesí presence and wit. Everything in this release is worth going through.

8/10

CLOSING

A great looking transfer and some solid supplements (including a great commentary track) makes this release a must. It comes with a high recommendation.


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