The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover [VHS]
Peter Greenaway directs this culinary tale of passion and revenge. An arrogant gangster (Michael Gambon) invests in a popular French restaurant, which he begins to frequent with his wife (Helen Mirren) and a band of crooks. He delights in humiliating his spouse, and, when she begins an affair with another patron (Alan Howard), the restaurant's cook (Richard Bohringer) tries to protect them from her husband's wrath.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover is both adored and detested for its combination of sumptuous beauty and revolting decadence. Few directors polarise audiences in the same way as Peter Greenaway, a filmmaker as influenced by Jacobean revenge tragedy and 17th-century painting as by the French New Wave. A vile, gluttonous thief (Michael Gambon) spews hate and abuse at a restaurant run by a stoic French cook (Richard Bohringer), but under the thief's nose his wife (the ever-sensuous Helen Mirren) conducts an affair with a bookish lover (Alan Howard). Clothing (by avant-garde designer Jean-Paul Gaultier) changes colour as the characters move from room to room. Nudity, torture, rotting meat, and Tim Roth at his sleaziest all contribute the atmosphere of decay and excess. Not for everyone, but for some, essential. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the DVD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I project my blu-ray discs using a Sony VPL-HW65ES projector, professionally calibrated onto a 140 inch screen in a totally light-controlled environment. I play the discs using an Oppo BDP-103D player with the Darbee video processor set at about 40% through a Denon AVR-X7200W receiver.
I have compared The Cook, The Thief.... to three other Peter Greenaway titles, which I own on blu-ray:
- Drowning By Numbers is also licensed from NBC Universal - to MediumRare films. The print is spotless with no obviously grain reduction or other digital artefacts, the bitrate averages about 30 Mb/s, there are subtitles and a very interesting 30 minute interview with Peter Greenaway included. The colours are accurate but the blacks are mastered incorrectly and I had to bring down the brightness a few notches.
- A Zed & Two Noughts and The Belly of an Architect come from BFI masters. They are similarly mastered as Drowning By Numbers, with the same average bitrate and the same incorrect black level mastering. They are both subtitled and have a few supplements.
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and her Lover blu ray is quite different.Read more ›
The opening titles illustrate the problem that persists throughout.
The orinigal wide screen presentation has been cropped such that the titles are incomplete.
Within the body of the film one is frequently left watching an empty centre of the original with the speaking characters somewhere off screen.
This brilliant film deserves much better treatment.
Once again, Greenaway has used the music of Michael Nyman to add a whole new dimension to the film. Indeed, Nyman never 'scored' any Greenaway films... the process was infact the other way around, with Greenaway choreographing his scenes to fit with Nyman's music. This film is by far and away the best example of this, and the result is superb. Incorporating some of Nyman's best music, the musical centrepiece of the film is Nyman's 'Memorial', and epic funeral march-like piece, originally composed as a memorial to the victims of the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985.
As well as some great costumes (by Jean Paul Gaultier), set designs and brilliant acting (esp. by Gambon), this film boasts some great dark humour, as well as it's fair share of geniune nastiness. Gambon plays the abominable Albert Spica, a grotesque and vulgar man who abuses and humiliates his wife (Mirren), who seeks refuge with another man, only for Spica to turn his wretched attentions to him, with terrible consequences (can't say any more without giving the end away!)
As a piece of film-making, it's a masterpiece. As a nice cosy film you can sit down to watch on a rainy weekend over and over again, forget it! But for Greenaway's talent, Gambon's acting, Nyman's music, Gaultier's costumes and Sacha Vierny's cinematographic excellence, how many more reasons do you need to go out and buy this film? Great stuff!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not for the feint-hearted. An in depth exploration of the animal within.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is the worst DVD I have ever watch I bought it on a friends recommendation I'm beginning to question her sanity it's awful doesn't make sense quite pornographic definitely not... Read morePublished 7 months ago by lady penfold