What's Up Doc? Blu-ray Review
‘What’s Up Doc?’ comes to Region free Blu-ray with a 1080p VC1 encoded transfer framed in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film looks very good for something that might normally be considered a back catalogue title. It’s clear, sharp and detailed with very good colour. Skin tones have the movie star tan look, while reds as used in the tartan cases stand out with fine saturation. The sumptuous red on the leather binding of the book used in the main titles has a richness all of its own. The 70’s hotel colour scheme is reproduced accurately and the detail in the wallpaper patterns used in the corridors is interesting. Contrast is excellent throughout and the deep blacks are solid. There’s a fine veil of grain throughout that reminds us that it was all shot on 35mm film and the only time it becomes pronounced is during the main titles on the grey pages of the book. At all other times it looks great. Ms Streisand’s blue eyes are bright and sparkly too. I had the dubious pleasure of seeing this movie on a cable channel just after watching the Blu-ray and it reminded me of why we all like the High Definition format.
Warners have made a really nice job of this transfer.
The audio on ‘What’s Up Doc?’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 1.0 track which seems to have been cleaned up as there’s no hiss, snap, crackle or pop to offend the ears. The original mono soundmix would have ensured that the dialogue would not have been obstructed by any sound effects as the movie relies so much on the quick fire delivery of lines. Here, it’s all clean and crisp and we get the chance to hear every syllable.
Ms Streisand’s version of ‘You’re the Top’ over the main titles sounds pure and the orchestra is punchy. This will, obviously, never be on anyone’s demo list but it’s a good functional track.
- Audio Commentary
Director Peter Bogdanovich sounds a bit depressed as he talks us through the movie in a soporific manner. He really needed someone in there with him to prod him along. He does provide us with some interesting facts about the actors and what he recalls of his experience of working with them. He also gives us some background into the movie’s development as well as details of how some scenes were shot. Drink coffee as you listen to him and it might keep you awake.
- Scene-Specific Audio Commentary
Barbra Streisand provides a commentary of sorts (a very short one) for some scenes from the film. I got the feeling that she hadn’t seen the movie for quite a long time as much of her comments were reactions to it. The only detail she provides are about whose mother is sitting next to Ryan O’Neal and which actor had been used in the most productions. A bit of a disappointment.
- Screwball Comedies... Remember Them? (SD, 9 mins)
This is really a promo piece from around the time of the movie’s release featuring some behind the scenes footage of the cast and crew on set and in rehearsals. It’s a bit of a misnomer as it doesn’t really focus much on other screwball comedies.
- Theatrical Trailer (SD, 4 mins)
This is the kind of trailer you don’t see very often these days with a lot of footage taken from the above short. By today’s hard selling standards it’s very low key and hard to imagine it would persuade anyone to want to see it.
The Barbra Streisand/Ryan O’Neal screwball comedy classic ‘What’s Up Doc?’ wisecracks its way onto Region free Blu-ray with a surprisingly good 1080p VC-1 encoded transfer framed in the 1.85:1 widescreen ratio.
Picture clarity and detail are pleasing while colours, particularly red are vibrant while a thin veil of grain reminds us it was all shot on film in 1972.
The DTS-HD MA 1.0 audio provides us with good clear dialogue which helps as its all fast talking stuff and Ms Streisand sounds good when she sings ‘You’re the Top’ over the main titles.
The extras include a couple of disappointing commentaries from director Peter Bogdanovich and Barbra herself as well as a period promo and trailer.
But it’s the movie we all want here and it keeps you smiling from start to finish as the ridiculous situations build when four people try to recover their very own tartan holdalls that have become mixed up. A witty script and good performances from all make this a welcome addition to any real film buff’s collection.
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- Audio Commentary