Alvy Singer (Allen) is one of Manhattan's most brilliant comedians, but when it comes to romance, his delivery needs a little work. Introduced by his best friend, Rob (Tony Roberts), Alvy falls in love with the ditzy but delightful nightclub singer, Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). When his own insecurities sabotage the affair, Annie is forced to leave Alvy for a new lifeand lover (Paul Simon) in Los Angeles. Knowing he may have lost Annie forever, Alvy's willing to go to any lengthseven driving L.A.'s freewaysto recapture the only thing that ever mattered'true love.
After having to put up with a lackluster, non-anamorphic DVD edition of Annie Hall for what seemed an eternity MGM and Fox revisit the title on Blu-ray, delivering a new 1080p/24hz high-definition transfer for the film on a dual-layer disc.
In comparison to the DVD this clearly blows it away. MGM appears to have left it alone and the image, which takes up a good 31GB on the disc, more than enough for a 93-minute film, has room to breathe. It looks natural and clean with no artifacts. Film grain has been left intact and doesn’t present any issues. The image stays sharp and the finer details manage to show up clearly as well. Colours look nice, but unfortunately the one place where the image falters is in its rendering of the blacks. Crushing unfortunately gets heavy and details are lost in darker areas causing the image to become a bit murky. Fortunately the print is in pristine condition with only a few blemishes, a big improvement over the previous DVD.
Taken altogether it’s a beautiful looking image, delivering the best presentation I’ve yet seen for the film on home video.
(One thing that I will note here is the presentation of the subtitles during the one sequence where Alvy and Annie are talking out on the roof. During this sequence subtitles are displayed showing what each character is thinking while they talk. The subtitles are not burned in but cannot be turned off and are presented in yellow text, which is a bit annoying. I’m not sure why the subs are yellow since all of the other subtitle settings for the disc are white. Also, the alternate language subtitle tracks don’t translate the interior-monologue subtitles, which will still display in English for most. I’m glad MGM at least included the subtitles, since there was a time back in the early days of DVD where they inexplicably refused to show any English subs on their releases, but their presentation here is a little obnoxious.)
The 2 channel DTS-HD MA mono track is perfectly fine, delivering clear dialogue and clean music with a little bit of depth and strong volume levels. The film is mostly quiet so the track never strives for much, but it’s clean and more than adequate for the film.
Allen apparently doesn’t care for special features so the only item we get here is the film’s theatrical trailer.
It’s still disappointing Allen doesn’t like providing any material for supplements on home video releases for his films (even the Criterion laserdisc has nothing significant on it.) But the Blu-ray offers a substantial improvement over the DVD and is worth upgrading to just for the new transfer.