best Bond meets the best format
comes to DVD
by Jim Bray
considered Goldfinger to be the best, the most entertaining Bond movie
ever, so when it surfaced on DVD I was anxious to give it a try.
a beautiful showcase for the new format - with the exception of its audio
tracks. Don't get me wrong, the Goldfinger DVD comes with plenty of audio
opportunities (English, French, and Spanish language tracks, subtitles
in all three languages, and even English closed captioning for the hearing
impaired - the problem isn't the technology, it's the chronology: Goldfinger
was released in 1964 and is in mono sound with no surround.
MGM/UA has done a beautiful job with this film.
offered in both widescreen and "pan and scan" versions on the
same side of the same disc, which is the way I prefer to see DVD's. Many
titles put widescreen on one side and "square screen" on the
other, which is okay, but the dual layer technology DVD's can exploit
makes it possible to use the one side for both versions, so why not use
it. My problem with two sided use is that the labels showing which side's
which are tiny and hard to read (they put 'em on the ring around the spindle
hole), whereas using only one side brings up an onscreen menu that's easy
to read and to use.
disc into the player brings up your opening menu choices of widescreen
or pan and scan. A separate menu accesses the various chapters (and there
are lots of choices, well laid out and displayed with screen captures)
and other features - like the audio/video setup and the supplementary
material is pretty much a waste of time, except for a relatively interesting
featurette on the making of Goldfinger (which focuses mostly on Harold
Sakata's casting as "Oddjob" and Honor Blackman's "Pussy
Galore" that's okay to watch once). The other stuff, "Goldfinger
unclassified" (a list of gadgets, girls, and villains on which you
can click to bring up the appropriate scene from the film) and "James
Bond - the History" (a couple of paragraphs outlining the genesis
of Ian Fleming's hero) are little more than window dressing and don't
do much to make this a real "special edition." You also get
the usual theatrical trailer, which is always nice.
So other than
a couple of fleeting instants, Goldfinger looks absolutely gorgeous on
DVD. The colours are rich and the resolution is, as advertised, wonderful.
It's a real treat to watch.
DVD, from MGM/UA home video.
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