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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Relationships > Romance > Drama > Obsession > Melodrama > Soap Opera > Chilly Scenes Of Winter (1979 aka Head Over Heels/United Artists/MGM)/Peyton Place (1957/Fox/both Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)

Chilly Scenes Of Winter (1979 aka Head Over Heels/United Artists/MGM)/Peyton Place (1957/Fox/both Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)



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



PLEASE NOTE: 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.



Before 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.



Joan Micklin Silver's Chilly Scenes Of Winter (1979 aka Head Over Heels) was her 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.


John 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.


Silver 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 Street (appropriately with Carol Kane, a perfect actress when it comes to being quirky) and Between The Lines (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 Delancey (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.


What 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.



Mark Robson's Peyton Place (1957) on 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...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/875/Peyton+Place


Now 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 Joan Crawford.


Taken 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.


Fox 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 links...


Part One

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/8548/Peyton+Place+%E2%80%93+Part+One+(1964+%E


Part Two

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/8763/Peyton+Place+%E2%80%93+Part+Two+(1964+%E



The 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 Peyton 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.


The 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 is offered in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 off of its original 4-track magnetic soundmaster with traveling dialogue and sound effects, plus a DTS-HD 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.


Extras 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, two on Peyton including an older track by Terry Moore & Russ Tamblyn, plus a new one by film scholar Willard Carroll), Isolated Music Scores with select Sound Effects and Original Theatrical Trailers. Peyton also repeats the AMC Backstory episode on the film and Fox Movietone Newsreels on the film.



You can order either of the limited edition Blu-rays, along with other great exclusives while supplies, last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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