on 1 May 2015
MRS. DOUBTFIRE [1993/2015] [Blu-ray + Digital HD] [US Import] Robin Williams is Hilarious! The Film is Fall-Down Funny!
Comedy superstar Robin Williams is “downright irresistible” (The Washington Post) as Mrs. Doubtfire, the delightfully doting British housekeeper who’s much more than a woman – “she” is actually a well-meaning divorced father in disguise, trying to spend more quality time with his children without his ex-wife Sally Field catching on.
FILM FACT: 66th Academy Awards® Won for Best Makeup. 51st Golden Globe® Awards Won for Best Picture for Musical/Comedy. Robin Williams Won for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy. 48th BAFTA Awards Nominated for Best Makeup and Hair.
Cast: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Scott Capurro, Robert Prosky, Polly Holliday, Anne Haney, Martin Mull, William Newman, Todd Williams and Terry McGovern
Director: Chris Columbus
Producers: Mark Radcliffe, Marsha Garces Williams and Robin Williams
Screenplay: Leslie Dixon and Randi Mayem Singer [Based on “Alias Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine]
Composer: Howard Shore
Cinematography: Donald McAlpine
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color by Deluxe]
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: Dolby Surround and French: Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Running Time: 125 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Euphegenia Doubtfire [Robin Williams] joins a long list of comic female characters played by men for narrative purposes. Other memorable cross-dressing film characters include Joe and Jerry who became Josephine and Daphne respectively in ‘Some Like It Hot’ ; Michael, who became Dorothy in ‘Tootsie’ ; and Brian and Charlie who became Sisters Euphenia and Inviolata respectively in ‘Nuns On The Run’ . When ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ was released in 1993, another classic performance was born, with Robin Williams playing the lady of the title, whose shining light and comedy genius has now been taken away from us.
Critics were somewhat muted in their response to the film from the perspective of story-line, originality and length, but all agreed that Robin Williams’ performance was alone responsible for saving the film from failure. His manic delivery, his mastering of a whole range of accents and voices and his very believability as a woman made this one of his most compelling and admired performances. Robin Williams’ funniest lines were ad-libbed rather than scripted, and that this created a sharper and more hilarious comedy. In this relatively simple tale of marital break-down, and a desperate desire by one partner to maintain contact with the children of that marriage, there was probably little in the original script likely to upset or challenge family audiences. The film was based on “Alias Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine, which was first published in 1987, and became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. The popularity of the book meant that the film was eagerly awaited by many UK families and children as well.
‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ is about a man who dresses as a Scottish dowager to invade the household of his estranged wife, who has thrown him out. Here we find Robin Williams lurks behind a latex face mask, ready to scatter wicked jokes and brilliant non sequiturs about whatever crosses his mind. Robin Williams's genius is in these details, and it is given free rein during much of ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ as in the sequence that has him improvising with toy dinosaurs at a television studio and coming up with a Raptor Rap. ("Yo, yo, see me/I'm livin' below the soil/I'll be back/But I'm comin' as oil.") But if this film creates as good a showcase for the Robin Williams zaniness as anything short of the Disney animation ‘Aladdin.’
A lot of the film has gone into giving a sitcom shininess to ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ which was directed by Chris Columbus (who also did both ‘Home Alone’ films). Attention has been paid to everything from the sunny, well-heeled look of the family household to the pert costumes on Sally Field, who plays Robin Williams's careerist wife. The story is that the wife's job alone is enough to villainies her: Miranda Hillard [Ms. Sally Field] is seen doing something terribly important involving fabric swatches, while her sweet, helpless husband, Daniel [Robin Williams], cannot stay employed dubbing voices onto animated films. When Miranda complains about his childishness, kicks him out of the house and keeps him from seeing enough of their three children.
Conveniently, Daniel has a brother [Harvey Fierstein], a right tart and is very funny here, who specialises in makeup effects. And naturally Daniel is an actor, just as Dustin Hoffman's character was in the funnier, more substantial ‘Tootsie,’ which unavoidably comes to mind. That film made the most of its hero's hostility, allowing it to become part of the joke. This one insists on a veneer of good intentions, which wears thin long before the story culminates in a speech about families and love.
Once the screenplay, by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, has accomplished the gargantuan job of getting Daniel into a dress (so that he can play nanny to his own children). There's a sequence about how Daniel, now done up as the broad-backed, hairy-legged matron of the title, can't cook dinner for the children, even though he has been feeding and caring for them for years. There are also two separate episodes, one elaborately staged in a restaurant, when Daniel must become a quick-change artist and jump into and out of his Mrs. Doubtfire drag. No audience will believe he can do this in a few seconds' time, but of course in the process is total humorous mayhem.
The film keeps busy by finding Miranda a handsome chump of a boyfriend [Pierce Brosnan], who becomes a fine target for Daniel's insults and the subject of Mrs. Doubtfire's motherly advice to Miranda. ("Once the father of your children is out of the picture, the only solution is lifelong celibacy," the nanny says sweetly.) It also lets Daniel's son [Matthew Lawrence] catch his father in the bathroom and discover his disguise, asking nervously: "You don't really like wearing that stuff, do you, Dad?" Even then, the comic possibilities posed by letting the children in on the joke are never quite explored, despite this, it worked.
Robin Williams remains the film's main and only real attraction, although Ms. Sally Field tries gamely to generate sitcom-calibre sparks. Robin Williams is definitely well worth seeing whatever he's wearing, but he's most fun in an anarchic mode, threatening to blow the film's illusions wide open. The dress, the mask and Mrs. Doubtfire's gentility are inherently very funny, but nothing holds Robin Williams back when he's on a roll. You may not believe he could pass for a woman, but you'll want to see what he can do with a vacuum cleaner all the same.
One thing ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ does well is to avoid the often-used plot device of trying to turn Pierce Brosnan's Stu, who is Miranda's new love interest, trying to turn him into a snake. He never comes across as anything but charming, and Daniel's dislike of him is based on purely selfish reasons. In fact, there really isn't a nasty or mean-spirited character in the film. Imagine that, a film without a villain.
Everything comes back to comedy, and for the most part, that means Robin Williams. Due in part to his ability and in part to Chris Columbus' sense of timing, most of ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ works. But to most critics it has been said that is a flawed film, but I totally disagree as there are loads of times it is sheer genius entertainment and enjoyment win out over the technical and intellectual aspects of film making. Few that see the film ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ will emerge grumbling about wasting time and money and anyone who doesn't laugh during the course of the whole film are missing something truly special. To me it is Robin Williams’ funniest hilarious film of all time and gets a generous 5 star rating.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Basically fairly solid 1080p encoded image quality with few weaknesses. Usually good and consistent sharpness and detail drawing. Satisfactory contrast with the 2.35:1 ratio with good black level. Most little pale-looking, but good colour reproduction. Scattered scenes offer solid depth effect. The Master used has not really aged, but at least you can say that the presentation is impressive. Image values move at a satisfactory, sometimes even quite a good level. Especially the sharpness makes at first sight a good impression for the most part and actually acting the 'Mrs. Doubtfire 'picture rarely a little softer. On closer inspection falls on the basis of existing occasionally ghosting and some hard looks of the presentation on but that the image easily sharpened and was also minimal noise filtered. Minimal grain is in place and also a few dirt particles flare up here and there, but the really taboo digital post leaving definite negative traces.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – When it comes to the audio tone, ' Mrs. Doubtfire ' is very satisfactory, and albeit mostly spectacular, which is due to the actual sound design of the film. This comes here, in principle, suitable for the genre of the film, quite front heavy and therefore provides only a few sequences that act a little bit of spatial thanks to the film music and songs and some ambient noise. After scores of sound mix with a good stereo separation which sometimes has a surprisingly good fine detail reproduction, while the balance is quite balanced and excellent intelligibility is guaranteed. It sounds as if the pitch of the dialogue has not been adjusted, but this small and hardly noticeable deficiency becomes rarely noticeable.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: CUTTING ROOM: Deleted & Extended Scenes: Here you get eighteen really brilliant and very funny selected categories and they are as follows: After Party  [1080p] [2.35:1] [2:40]; Make-Up Montage  [1080p] [2.35.1] [0:46]; A Simple Formula  [1080p] [2.35.1] [5:36]; Cleaning: Mrs. Doubtfire Style  [1080p] [2.35] [00:34]; Oatmeal Cookies  [1080p] [2.35.1] [00:37]; In The Laundry Room  [1080p] [2.35.1] [1:52]; The Boys Go Shopping  [1080p] [2.35.1] [00:40]; Gloria Sprays Her Flowers  [1080p] [2.35.1] [00:14]; A Dash  [1080p] [2.35.1] [1:18]; Walk Like A Man  [1080p] [2.35.1] [00:38]; The Dancing Scene  [1080p] [2.35.1] [2:10]; Spelling Bee  [1080p] [2.35.1] [5:59]; Playing The Same Note  [1080p] [2.35.1] [1:31]; The Ladies Room  [1080p] [2.35.1] [00:51]; Found And Lost  [1080p] [2.35.1] [1:44]; The Cajun Chef  [1080p] [2.35.1] [1:06]; Gloria’s Surprise  [1080p] [2.35.1] [1:04]; Family Fight  [1080p] [2.35.1] [2:20].
Special Feature: Alterative Scenes: Here you have four individual titles and they are as follows: Daniel’s First Day At Work  [480i] [4:3] [1:49]; The Body Suit  [480i] [4:3] [1:00]; Bus Driver  [480i] [4:3] [1:14]; The Missing Ingredient  [480i] [4:3] [00:22].
Special Feature: PRODUCTION OFFICE: You get five selected categories and they are as follows: From Man To Mrs – The Evolution of Mrs. Doubtfire: Cooking-Up The Script [1993/1994] [480i/1080p] [4:3] [4:08] Here we get a very intimate behind-the-scene of bringing ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ to fruition. Along the way we get a lot of contributions from people like Robin Williams [1994/Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire]; Marsha Garces Williams [1993/Producer]; Chris Columbus [1994/Director] and Mark Radcliffe [1993/Producer].
Special Feature: An Eye For Casting  [480i] [4:3] [5:25] Once again we go behind-the-scene of the film, sometimes on location, but mainly we hear from contributors like Chris Columbus [1994/Director]; Robin Williams [1994/Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire]; Mark Radcliffe [1993/Producer]; Pierce Brosnan [1994/Stu] and Harvey Fierstein [1994/Frank].
Special Feature: Making-Up Mrs. Doubtfire  [480i] [4:3] [6:22] With is extra we get to see a real close-up on the process of turning Robin Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire, and in the process we get to hear the views of Robin Williams [1994/Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire]; Chris Columbus [1994/Director]; Ve Neill [1993/Make-up Artist]; Mathew Lawrence [1994/Chris Hillard]; Marsha Garces Williams [1993/Producer] and Mara Wilson [1993/Natalie Hillard]. This is a really funny hilarious extra, but also very sad at the same time that the talented comedian Robin Williams is no longer with us and a great loss to the comedy world.
Special Feature: On The Set With Euphegenia  [480i] [4:3] [6:12] Once again we go behind-the-scene on location with the film, but we also get more intimate conversations from the likes of Pierce Brosnan [1994/Stu]; Sally Field [1993/Miranda Hillard]; Mathew Lawrence [1994/Chris Hillard]; Chris Columbus [1994/Director]; Robin Williams [1994/Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire] and Harvey Fierstein [1994/Frank].
Special Feature: Seriously Funny  [480i] [4:3] [4:26] In this particular extra, you find out more about the characters of the film and getting serious to make the film very funny. On the way once again we come into contact with people behind the film and they are as follows: Robin Williams [1994/Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire]; Chris Columbus [1994/Director]; Mathew Lawrence [1994/Chris Hillard]; Lisa Jakub [1993/Lydia Hillard] and Harvey Fierstein [1994/Frank].
Special Feature: Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery  [1080p] [16:9] [7:20] Here you get a really nice slide show where you get to view 88 different and interesting images relating to the film. While viewing the images, it would have been nice to have some music playing in the background.
Special Feature: Aging Gracefully: A Look Back At Mrs. Doubtfire  [1080i] [16:9] [13:42] Here we get to see on a sofa Chris Columbus [Director] and Robin Williams [Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire] who talk about the making of the film, that was 10 years ago at the time of recording this video session and it is also a very funny intimate revelation special feature.
Special Feature: ANIMATION STUDIO: A Conversation with Legendary Chuck Jones  [480i] [4:3] [4:16] This is a really nice little feature, because at the start we get to see some extra cartoon footage that was featured at the start of ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ where you see Robin Williams trying to dub the voices for the Chuck Jones cartoon. But finally we get to see Chuck Jones talking about how he got involved in the Chris Columbus film. We also get to hear how they wanted Chuck Jones to invent a new cat and bird, which he laughs and says, “it’s like coming up with a new mouse.” We also get to see the original pencil test animation. But best of all we get to see Chuck Jones telling us that he felt Robin Williams was a great professional artist and was proud to work with him.
Special Feature: Original Pencil Test  [480i] [4:3] [2:25] With this extra you get to see nearly all of the cartoon, plus you get to hear Robin William’s voice over with the music.
Special Feature: Final Animation Sequence  [480i] [4:3] [5:14] Here you get to see the actual cartoon in full glorious Technicolor and looks stunning, which Chuck Jones excels in. Happy viewing!
Special Feature: Final Animation Sequence with Alternative Background  [480i] [4:3] [5:50] Chuck Jones informs us that this is another version of the cartoon, utilising different colour backgrounds. When Chuck Jones originally completed the cartoon, he felt the original backgrounds were too realistic and did not reflect the Chuck Jones “style.” But Chris Columbus also informs us that the cartoon was reshot and is now presented in this Blu-ray extra, because Chuck Jones preferred it, and because Chris Columbus thinks it is a fascinating glimpse into the world of animation. Happy viewing!
Special Feature: MAKE-UP DEPARTMENT: Make-Up with Ve Neil  [480i] [4:3] [4:10] Here we get an in-depth look about the long process of turning Robin Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire, with of course the help of the brilliant Ve Neill. And of course we also get contributions from Robin Williams [1994/Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire] and Commentary from Ve Neill [1993/Make-up Artist]. This is really interesting and shows how professional Ve Neill is and also the patient of a saint Robin Williams of going through 3 hours stint to make him look like the fabulous Mrs. Doubtfire.
Special Feature: Make-Up Photo Gallery  [1080p] [16:9] [1:50] Here once again we get another slide show where get to see 22 glorious colourful images of the intricate process of turning Robin Williams into the fabulous Mrs. Doubtfire.
Special Feature: Make-Up Tests: You have a total of five separate categories and they are as follows: Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire – A  [480i] [4:3] [2:33]; Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire – B  [480i] [4:3] [3:45]; Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire – C  [480i] [4:3] [4:10]; Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire with Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub and Mathew Lawrence  [480i] [4:3] [4:37] and Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire with Sally Field  [480i] [4:3] [2:40]. I tell you this is another hilarious funny extra and you will ache with laughter. Happy viewing!
Special Feature: STAGE A: The Improvisation of Mrs. Doubtfire: While filming ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ Director Chris Columbus often encouraged the cast to improvise as a way to heighten the comedy of the film. This feature allows you to view the improvisational abilities of Robin Williams in various scenes from the film. Here you get to view seven different categories and they are as follows: SCENE 26: Another Applicant  [480i] [4:3] [3:33]; SCENE 34HH: A Work In Progress  [480i] [4:3] [3:00]; SCENE 78F: Mrs. Catchfire  [480i] [4:3] [3:10]; SCENE 111B: The Death of Mrs. Doubtfire  [480i] [4:3] [3:45]; SCENE 131: Daniel’s Show  [480i] [4:3] [8:53]; SCENE 148A: Pitching Mr. Lundy  [480i] [4:3] [6:45] and SCENE 159B: Girlfriends  [480i] [4:3] [7:40].
Special Feature: PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT: Original 1993 Feature: Meet Mrs. Doubtfire [1080i] [16:9/4:3] [5:21] With this extra special video feature, we get a studio session where Robin Williams interviews Mrs. Doubtfire, which of course is done with the very clever split screen trick photography. But in-between you get studio shots and also we get massive clips from the film.
Theatrical Trailers: Theatrical Trailer A  [480i] [4:3] [1:07]; Theatrical Trailer B  [480i] [4:3] [1:59] and Theatrical Trailer C  [480i] [4:3] [1:29]
TV Spots: TV Spot 1  [480i] [4:3] [00:31] and TV Spot 2  [480i] [4:3] [00:31]
Theatrical Posters: You get to view just two posters, one entitled Teaser Poster and the other one is entitled Theatrical Poster. But this only lasts about 6 seconds and what a shame they could not have included in this extra some more posters, especially from around the world.
Publicity Photo Gallery: Like the previous slide shows, with this particular one you get to view a total of 100 glorious colour images all relating to all aspects of ‘Mrs. Doubtfire.’  [1080p] [16:9] [8:19].
Extra Trailers: Mr. And Mrs. Smith  [1080p] [2.35:1] [1:51]; The Devil Wears Prada  [1080p] [16:9] [2:55]; Night At The Museum  [1080p] [16:9] [2:24]; ICE AGE 2: The Meltdown  [1080p] [16:9] [2:09]; ERAGON  [1080p] [2.35:1] [2:25] and League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen  [1080p] [2.35:1] [1:04]
Finally, ’Mrs. Doubtfire’ provides plenty of hilarious laughs that will make you ache with laughter and a genuine character drama. Most fans of the film will be pleased with this new 2015 Blu-ray release and it features an excellent stunning video transfer, and a very nice 5.1 DTS-HD audio track, and a host of behind-the-scenes bonus extra contents. However, completest will be disappointed by Fox's decision to leave Chris Columbus’ director’s commentary on the cutting room floor. But despite this, I am very proud to finally have this brilliant film in my Blu-ray Collection, and especially starring the brilliant comic genius of Robin Williams.
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom