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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

 

Picture: B+†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B+

 

 

No matter what Gregory Peck will always remain most memorable for his Oscar winning performance in To Kill a Mockingbird, a performance that even robbed the incredible debut performance from Peter OíToole in Lawrence of Arabia, what a fine year for cinema!However, his performances in other roles, such as 1956ís The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, which at that time would become a common phrase given to the working man, is just as impressive.What I particular love about this film, especially from todayís perspective, is how we wrap our lives around material things and we realize this when things are stripped away.

 

Peckís character is an ex-soldier returning home to face the world he left behind, but supporting his wife and children might not be as easy as it seemed, and this world he left seems distant to his new perspective.One can only imagine the life of a soldier returning from any war, in this case WWII, and facing a world that we once knew so well, only to feel so different towards it now.Somehow everything seems so different, cold, calculated, meticulous, and nearly impossible to live in after seeing the horrors of war.

 

The film is lengthy and almost epic in proportion and strength.It might seem dated with some of itís content, but just think of it in terms to our current situations with war in the Middle East and/or the past few combat situations such as Desert Storm or even Vietnam.Relevance here is simply a state of mind, but the film is strong and Foxís DVD presentation helps make that point.

 

As far as the picture quality is concerned this is yet another excellent transfer from Fox as part of their Classic series.The 2.55 X 1 CinemaScope transfer has been anamorphically enhanced and restored with great results and beauty.One thing I did notice is that the Internet Movie Database credits the movie as being 2.35 X 1, but this transfer clearly looks more like 2.55 X 1, which makes more sense for an early CinemaScope film.The real stellar moments with this print is the color fidelity and contrast, which still allows the film to look grainy and have sharpness and good color balance.Notice Gregory Peckís green uniform or even his famous gray suit and the level of detail that shows up.Also blacks are appropriately deep and dark, while whites are controlled and bright.There is little to complain about here in fact.

 

The sound is 2.0 Dolby Stereo/Surround, which derives from the films original 4-track magnetic stereo master and this certainly gives the film a nice warm touch.This is without a doubt one of the better re-mixed audio tracks from this era that does not attempt to over compensate or make the film sound bizarre and playful.Rather it spreads out the music and some ambience and lets the dialogue and sound design shine through the front of the soundstage.I typically prefer to set my receive to just playback in stereo, rather than have the Pro Logic attempt to split the sound with 3 front speakers and one surround channel, but doing both in this case seems ok.Usually what happens in Pro Logic cases is that the dialogue becomes too centralized in the center channel and gets lost in the mix with the left and right channels overpowering, but not really an issue here.

 

The extras are fairly interesting including a commentary from author and publisher James Monaco along with your typical Fox Movietone footage, which are becoming more common on the classic series.A still gallery, trailer, and restoration demonstration square this release off quite sharply as one of the best from Fox thus far and letís hope the goods donít stop yet.

 

 

-†† Nate Goss


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