Scenes Of Winter (1979
aka Head Over Heels/United
(1957/Fox/both Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)
B Sound: B- Extras: B-/B Films: B-/C+
Both 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 from the links below.
the arrival of TV, even before network radio drama, feature films
developed what they called 'the woman's film' as a female-aimed
variant of melodrama that we would now think of as soap operas. Of
course, women would star in them, but not necessarily have much
control of or power in their production. The few women director's
out there either made Film Noirs (like the great actress Ida Lupino)
or maybe propaganda films (Leni Riefenstahl) and only so much has
changed since then. Slowly, there was a rise of female filmmakers,
but it has been all too rare. These next two releases show the
differences between the two.
Micklin Silver's Chilly
Scenes Of Winter
(1979 aka Head
third film, here a reedited version of a recent film she was not
happy with. When it was released under its older title,
distributor/studio United Artists existed as a strong major studio.
By the time the film was recut by her a few years later, it had
merged with MGM and both times, did not find the audience it deserved
and was there for it.
Heard plays a guy who has fallen in love with another woman (Mary
Beth Hurt) who is married and after a serious fling, has disappeared
out of his life. We see how well this did and did not go in
elongated flashback and becomes obsessed about it very slowly but
surely. This eventually includes dealing with her husband (Mark
Metcalf) without her initially knowing it and driving his friends up
the wall about it all.
has a talent/knack for quirkiness that shows up in enough of a unique
way that she'd likely be an auteur, though she has not received
enough credit for it or for her work that included films like Hester
(appropriately with Carol
a perfect actress when it comes to being quirky) and Between
(with Heard, Jeff Goldblum & Lindsay Crouse), but critics did not
back her and audiences did not find her like they should have.
However, taking this over led to Crossing
(1988) her biggest commercial and critical success, followed by the
oddly interesting Loverboy
(1989) in her most blatant commercial comedy that is now a curio that
I am surprised has not found a cult audience (a young, teen, still
unknown Patrick Dempsey starts delivering more than pizza to older
woman), so there is an interesting career her to be (re)discovered.
is subtly interesting in this film is that Heard is shown more
extensively as love sick than you would likely get from most male
directors and Silver is not only delivering a female discourse, but
trying to show a side to these kinds of relationships we do not get
to see honestly enough. That does not mean the film does not have
other down parts or issues, as some scenes ring false, but that it is
her world of human emotion and interaction that makes this all worth
a look and is a true film coming from a three-dimensional woman.
the other hand is the kind of male-produced epic (based on a
best-selling book) that says women should be expected to only find
happiness with men, particularly when stuck in a small town and that
is cleverly buried in everything from post-WWII concerns to all kinds
of private secrets that can only come from a life lived in oppression
(here the suburbs of the period) and it was a big hit for Fox.
Thus there are two ways to take this. One is the film is a big
success within the parameters of what it attempts and that is fair
enough, as my fellow writer expressed in his review of the then-solid
DVD release many years ago...
issued as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray, that alone shows
the audience for this one is somewhat limited, but the extras have
been nicely expanded and the film looks and sounds better than at any
time since the best 35mm prints were issued and, where applicable,
still exist. No doubt the casting of Lana Turner was a real coup for
the film, along with support from Lloyd Nolan, Lee Philips, Arthur
Kennedy, Hope Lange, Russ Tamblyn, Terry Moore, Diane Varsi, Bette
Field and Lorne Greene among others. Getting that kind of serious
talent together for such a serious soap opera affair just screams
more soapiness, as well as plenty of unintentional laughs, campiness
and all on a grand scale. The only person they forgot to cast was
for what it is, it is well made, decent, well-directed, has nice
on-location filming and Fox put the money and effort in it. However,
it is 2.5 hours long and like all other soapers at any price, goes on
and on and on and on and on and on... You get the idea. You had
better be awake and not operate any heavy machinery while viewing.
Otherwise, it is worth a look... at least once.
hit paydirt again by turning the property (you guessed it) into a TV
soap opera, but one of the first in prime time and that includes two
young actors who would have plenty of off-screen soap opera press:
Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal. You can read about those series at these
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Winter
and the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
can show the age of the materials used, but both films have never
looked better on home video and in the case of Peyton,
even better than the DVD my fellow writer reviewed about years ago.
Both shot in color on 35mm film, they were processed in MetroColor
and DeLuxe Color respectively and play pretty accurately. Peyton
was also shot in real, anamorphic CinemaScope using its wide frame to
show off the locales. Winter
has a nice, naturalistic look to it.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Winter
is not badly recorded for tis time and sounds pretty good here,
likely better than it ever will. Peyton
in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 off of its original
4-track magnetic soundmaster with traveling dialogue and sound
MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixdown, so you have two
choices. The 5.1 is better, but it shows how some of the tracks in
the mixed have not aged (or were as well stored?) as well as others,
so the sound between the two films is about even.
for both releases include nicely illustrated booklets on the film
including informative text and yet more, excellent, underrated essays
by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo for each respective film, while
both Blu-rays add feature length audio commentary tracks (Director
Silver and Producer Amy Robertson on Winter,
the only film of the two with an Isolated Music Score with select
Sound Effects, two commentaries on Peyton
including an older track by Terry Moore & Russ Tamblyn, plus a
new one by film scholar Willard Carroll), and both have Original
Theatrical Trailers. Peyton
also repeats the AMC Backstory episode on the film and Fox Movietone
Newsreels on the film.
either of the limited
edition Blu-rays, along with other great exclusives while supplies,
last at these links: