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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Spoof > Slapstick > Sweden > Absurdity > Teens > Classical Music > Politics > A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window & Disappeared (2015/Music Box DVD)/The World According To Garp (1

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window & Disappeared (2015/Music Box DVD)/The World According To Garp (1982/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The World Of Henry Orient (1964/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

Picture: B/C/B-/B Sound: B-/C+/C+/B- Extras: C+/C/C-/B- Films: B-/C/C/C

PLEASE NOTE: The A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy and World Of Henry Orient Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, are limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while The World According To Garp Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Here are four comedies that try to do different things in the genre, even when they do not always succeed...

Though far form his best film, Woody Allen's A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) combines his love of comedy, absurdity and Ingmar Bergman where he plays an inventor who also will star paying attention to his non-scientific needs. Married to Mary Steenburgen, she is not happy with their lives and with other people and opportunities all around, you can imagine the return of the repressed with mixed result then and now. When the film does not work, it has great cinematography by Gordon Willis going for it, additional cast members like Jose Ferrer, Julie Haggerty, Tony Roberts and the first Allen film with Mia Farrow, ill-fated as that would be, plus this was part of the beginning of Allen's second wave of prolific filmmaking as he moved from United Artists to Orion Pictures.

All that makes it a special one-of-a-kind historic film for Allen that has no big laughs and now has odd new meanings 33+ years later, but it is distinctively an Allen film, one of his funny comedies and worth a look for what does work and the various ways in which the film has aged. It is long overdue for Blu-ray, even if it is a limited pressing.

Extras include a Twilight Time illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and an essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an Isolated Music Score track and Original Theatrical Trailer.

Felix Herngren's The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window & Disappeared (2015) was a huge hit comedy in Sweden about the title character (Robert Gustafsson) who is that man and does pretty much just that. It runs 115 minutes, is based on a book and though I was amused by some of its absurdity early on, I have to say I did not find anything here really funny, situational or otherwise and though it consistently does whatever it is doing, that does not make it funny. It does make it one-note, though.

The actors are not bad, the locales not bad and not seen much, but it never took off or really worked for me and old persons in themselves are not automatically funny either. Must be an acquired taste, so see it if you think you might find it amusing, but otherwise, don;t expect much or have high hopes.

Extras in a Making Of featurette, Original Theatrical Trailer and separate interviews on camera with the director and star Gustafsson.

We conclude with two films directed by the late George Roy Hill: The World According To Garp (1982) and The World Of Henry Orient (1964), two offbeat efforts by the director of The Sting, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Slap Shot and the remarkable Slaughterhouse Five. These are two ambitious quirky comedies of his that just do not work, no matter the talent or serious subject matter.

Garp has Glenn Close as a nurse who has sex with a patient on his deathbed, producing the title character (eventually played by Robin Williams) in a film that wants to make serious statements of some kind while still being amusing, whimsical and effective. Fans of the John Irving novel complained much of the book had been tossed and twisted, but no matter the degree of validity of that school of though, this film tends to be bitter, bizarre and seems to be saying things only the makers are trying to say with limited success. It was not a hit and added to Popeye as a series of duds and bombs for Williams before he finally became a movie star 5 years later, but this does not work and has aged oddly.

Close is consistently good as the strict mother, John Lithgow took a big risk at the time as the ex-NFL player who was now cross-dressing (does not seem as shocking as it was when this arrived in theaters then) and the cleverness and balance Hill brought to Slaughterhouse Five is most unfortunately missing here and makes one wonder if this would have been a better film had it been made by say, 1976.

Either way, it is a film that is a dark comedy at best, has odd senses of nudity (from the bouncing baby in the opening credits to an early locker room scene when a younger Garp hangs with teen males who are more nude than they ought to be or would be in a Hollywood film today) to gross humor, to absurd moments that are not as impressive as they think to relationships for the older Garp I never totally bought. The oddity of it all would be revisited in the horrid Williams hit Dead Poets Society and the infamous megahit Forrest Gump, a cycle of which is finally over. Mary Beth Hurt, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn and Swoosie Kurtz round out the at-least interesting cast, but the film remains a curio that simply does not work.

Orient has an oddly cast Peter Sellers in the title role of a successful-but-bitter classical music conductor who becomes the object of affection for two female best friends (Terry Spaeth and Tippy Walker) in a film where their story is more interesting than most of what the adults are doing. He's having an affair another woman (Paula Prentiss) against his wife (Angela Lansbury), the gals have to put up with their oppressive parents (though the Pop/Rock suggests this state will not last for long) and more issues happen when these lives criss-cross.

It is just a film that is too long and plays fake too often for its mere 107 minutes length, New York City looks great, but the oppression throughout the characters suffer in various ways lands up being a point of wallowing the whole film cannot escape. It is worth a look if you are not sleepy or tired, but it is a disappointment and I am glad to finally catch up with it in a high quality copy. Phillis Thaxter and Tom Bosley also star.

As for extras, both Hill films have Original Theatrical Trailers, while Orient adds another illustrated Twilight Time booklet on the film including informative text and essay by Julie Kirgo, who participates in a new feature length audio commentary track with Nick Redman & music scholar Jeff Bond and an Isolated Music Score by Elmer Bernstein that is the music from the limited edition CD soundtrack of the film we reviewed years ago at this link:


The 2 Twilight Time Blu-rays have the best playback performance with the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Sex and 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Orient looking really good with few flaws or showing too much of their age. Color has not been tampered with or altered and there are nice shots on both. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Garp however can show the age of the materials used, has more than a few rough spots, detail makes this look like an older HD master and I was slightly disappointed, but the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Man is the poorest performer being the only DVD and having a digital shoot that is soft and sometimes phony.

As for sound, all have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) sound, with Garp offering 2.0 Mono that should be the best performer here, but sounds dated and seems a bit off like the transfer, so the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mixes on Sex and Orient sound better, cleaner and clearer for being monaural. Garp and Sex were among and increasingly small number of such films in the 1980s as Dolby Stereo (and its imitators) became the standard. That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Man on the quiet side (think silent humor) with a limited soundfield.

To order A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy and The World Of Henry Orient limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these links:




and to order The World According To Garp Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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