Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > British > Enchanted April (1991/Miramax Award Winning Collection DVD)

Enchanted April (1991/Miramax Award Winning Collection DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: C+



In the 1960s and up to the mid-1980s, it was not uncommon for TV material to land up in theaters.  Production companies would shoot 1.33 X 1 film with 1.85 X 1 in mind in case they wanted to use the footage in theaters and for many TV series, cut the episodes together and issue faux features in the days before home video, cable, satellite, HDTV and the Internet.  Steven Spielberg’s U.S. TV movie Duel became a hit film in Europe and John Schlesinger’s Cold Comfort Farm was a U.K. telefilm that hit U.S. theaters.  Mike Newell’s version of Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April (1991) was a BBC TV movie until Miramax thought it would make a good art house film.  They were right and it did business.


It was also a critical success, though it was a film I did not love in either medium, but the cast that includes Miranda Richardson and Josie Lawrence as two married women who need to get away and go find real estate in Italy still has its moments.  Add a supporting cast that includes Joan Plowright stealing every scene she is in, Polly Walker, Aldred Molina, Michael Kitchen & Jim Broadbent and you get a film that is often rewarding if you have patience.  I am no fan of Newell, but this is some of his better work.  Not for everyone, Enchanted April holds up well enough and is worth revisiting, especially if you have never seen it before.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image was actually shot in regular 1.33 X 1 16mm film, but it was theatrical film safe enough to be issued wide and looks good for its age.  Rex Maidment really delivered here not knowing this would ever be seen outside of TV, especially as that practice was in decline and this embarrasses many an HD and Super 35mm shoot to this day.  There are limits and some shots are stylized to look like that, but this is not bad and I would be curious to see a Blu-ray.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix tries its best to upgrade the old analog Dolby A-type sound, but it shows its age and the production’s budget, though Richard Rodney Bennett’s score is not bad.  The only extra is the fine audio commentary by Newell and Producer Ann Scott.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com