All the Right Noises
Tom Bell stars as a discontented young husband who begins an affair with a 15-year-old girl in this drama written and directed by Gerry O'Hara, based on his own novel. Bored with his job and marriage to wife Joy (Judy Carne), electrician Len Lewin (Bell) starts up an affair with teenage actress Val (Olivia Hussey). Swept up in the initial rush of excitement, the pair are quickly forced to re-evaluate their situation when Val discovers that she is pregnant.
For the 5th release in their Flipside series, BFI presents Gerry O’Hara’s All the Right Noises in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this dual-layer Blu-ray disc. The image is presented in 1080p.
It’s a decent image marred with a few issues, though I feel most of them lie within the source and how the film was shot. The transfer presents a fairly sharp image through a majority of the film but there are a few instances where it comes off soft and/or blurry, but in a majority of cases it looks either like a soft focus is being employed or the camera was simply just out of focus. Colours are decent, some reds and greens coming off fairly strong, but flesh tones look a little pasty, but in all fairness the actors could just be naturally pale.
Despite some heavy marks at the beginning and then some scattered throughout the film the print is in fantastic shape. What sort of threw me off was that for a transfer taken from a 35mm source grain is fairly heavy and though it looks natural there are some instances where it causes the image to come off a tad fuzzy. Certainly not a killer by a long shot, but I was still a little surprised.
It’s limited in some regards but it’s still a much sharper image than I would have expected, BFI yet again surprising me.
(The Blu-ray is region free and should play on all Blu-ray players worldwide. I had no issues with it on my PS3.)
The lossless mono track is perfectly fine for the film. Dialogue is clear, music is sharp, and the soundtrack overall is clean and crisp. There isn’t much in the way of range but it’s clear and easy to hear. Nothing extraordinary but perfect for the film.
BFI presents only a couple of supplements for this Blu-ray.
The first is an interview with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, taken in 1967 and conducted by Bernard Braden for Now and Then, a planned series that never took off. The idea behind it was to interview various people (celebrity and non-celebrity) and then follow up with them years later to see how things have gone. Segments of this also appeared on BFI’s Blu-ray (and DVD) for Primitive London. Running 17-minutes it focuses primarily on the two and their appearance in Romeo and Juliet, talking about their nude scene, working together, their past work, Romeo and Juliet in general, and other possible work. It’s not the best interview of the ones I’ve seen so far from the series but it’s still rather interesting and I like how BFI presents it in its raw, unedited form.
Better is O’Hara’s 28-minute short film The Spy’s Wife, which co-stars All the Right Noises’s Tom Bell, Ann Lynn (Dudu in A Shot in the Dark,) and Vladek Sheybal (Kronsteen in From Russia with Love.) I unfortunately can’t give a full description of it without giving away everything but it is actually an amusing, off-beat swinging spy film, apparently the first of two “Wife” films O’Hara made with Julian Holloway (the second being The Chairman’s Wife.) It hasn’t received a vigorous restoration but the transfer itself is still quite strong.
Unfortunately this is it for disc supplements but BFI have again included one of their thick booklets. Inside you get an excellent essay on the film and some of O’Hara’s other work by Robert Murphy, another essay by William Fowler that primarily focuses on the flats presented in the film and how they’re used, and notes by Gerry O’Hara on making the film. You also get an essay by Vic Pratt on The Spy’s Wife, and a recollection of that short film by Julian Holloway. And finally you get biographies on Gerry O’Hara, Olivia Hussey, and then a brief note on the Now and Then interview that appears on the disc. As usual the booklet is a great read loaded with information.
Of the Flipside titles I’ve come across it feels the most sparse when compared to their other releases in the series but the two we get are both quite good, plus a lot is filled in with the booklet. A small amount but they’re of excellent quality.
BFI’s Flipside series is so far one of the more fascinating collection of Blu-rays I’ve come across. I can’t say the films I’ve viewed on them so far are “great lost classics” but they’re fascinating and I’m certainly glad to have viewed them. While the music doesn't help it (it's awful folk stuff) All the Right Noises was still a bit of a surprise, the film not going down the route I was expecting. As the notes point out 20th Century Fox tried to sell it as an exploitive piece but it really isn’t and tries to handle the subject matter in as honest a way as it can. BFI’s Blu-ray is again a wonderful release. The transfer isn’t their best looking but it’s yet again stronger than what I’m sure most would expect for the film, and the couple of supplements are fascinating and enjoyable. Another pleasant surprise from the company.