PictureSons and Lovers is presented in a black and white 2.35:1 aspect ratio widescreen transfer that is not anamorphically enhanced. Considering that it is nearly fifty years old, it is remarkably good. Clarity and detail are the best you could expect, with an understandable amount of softness but a remarkable lack of grain for the most part. The monochrome palette has stood the test of time as well (one of the big benefits of black and white), with decent contrast across the range, few hazy shades and solid blacks where they count. Once again, considering the age, the lack of print defects is noteworthy, although there are obviously a few minor glitches here and there that you can pick up on.
SoundThe soundtrack is the original mono recording which clearly has not quite lasted as well and is possibly one of the most tinny, grating, lacklustre efforts that I have ever come across. I might as well have been playing the movie on an old black and white TV with a bad mono speaker for all my sound equipment was given to work with here. The dialogue is, at times, difficult to make out and even the voices are desperately tinny, with no depth or decent depiction. The score is overbearing and again lacking in substance, but it is the kind of score you would only expect for a movie this old and of this style. I know I wasn't exactly holding out for a DTS version of this aged movie, but the mono track is still noteworthy only as being one of the worst soundtracks that I have ever come across. Begrudgingly, one has to be grateful that at least the movie has been given a DVD release of some sorts.
ExtrasSurprisingly, for this kind of release, we do actually get one or two nice extras adorning the disc. First up there is an interview with the Director, Jack Cardiff. This has been done relatively recently and lasts nearly half-an-hour in length, with Cardiff discussing his memories from the movie, how he came into the business, how he developed his directing skills, how he came across this movie and offering various insights into the production. For fans of the movie, this is a desperately important addition. We also get a small but nice stills gallery and the original trailer which briefly surmises the movie's content.
VerdictSons and Lovers is a timeless classic, well developed and cleverly executed by all those involved. Sure it's black and white and it looks quite dated but the story will always be relevant, no matter how our society changes with time. The video presentation is surprisingly good considering the production's age, but the audio still leaves a lot to be desired. We get a couple of surprise extras to round off the disc, the interview alone making this a must-have for fans and a worthy rental to those others who are interested in it.
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