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Two for the Road (1967) Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) [Masters of Cinema]
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One of the great films by Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain, Charade) after the studio era had come to a close, Two for the Road was a break-off with the old system, one which allowed Donen to further stretch his art, aided by screenwriter Frederic Raphael (Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut), in this tale of a couple voluntarily stretching themselves through the long period of their relationship.
Portrayed in fragments that span the couple's time together in marriage, Two for the Road runs the course of a relationship (between Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney) that finds a circumstantial come-together escalate into newlywed-status and, through a series of travails, into the serious situation of bearing a daughter. The disturbance of marriage, and/or life, is chronicled from here on.
After so many studio-system smash-hits, Two for the Road marked a reckoning for director Donen which went on to influence directors like Jacques Rivette for its portrayal of a couple in interaction and its keen sense of duration across the length of their time together. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Stanley Donen's Two for the Road for the first time on Blu-ray in a Dual Format edition.SPECIAL DUAL FORMAT (BLU-RAY + DVD) EDITION:
- New 1080p presentation of the film (on Blu-ray) in its original aspect ratio with a progressive encode on the DVD
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Feature-length audio commentary with director Stanley Donen
- Video interview with screenwriter Frederic Raphael
- Original theatrical trailer
- 32-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay on the film by critic Jessica Felrice, and rare archival imagery
a slick, entirely professional, very smooth movie --Film Critic Roger Ebert
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This Blu-ray version is great. Fantastic quality and the commentary by director Stanley Donen is worth a listen.
The film follows the often dysfunctional relationship of a married couple, Mark (Albert Finney) and Joanna (Audrey Hepburn) by way of showing episodes from various holidays (mostly in France and filmed on location) through the years, going back to their first meeting as young students. However, the story is not told in chronological order, but rather in short vignettes that jump forward and backward in time. And while this might make for a confusing film, it actually works surprisingly well.
Audrey Hepburn is drop dead gorgeous, even when she is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and her rather down to earth character is likable and relatable. Finney is excellent opposite her even if his character is far less lovable in his complete selfishness.
This is most definitely not a bit of fluffy escapism. It is British kitchen sink drama produced on a big budget by a major Hollywood studio. And the result is excellent. The film manages to present a very realistic look at a (1960s) marriage with all those situations most if not all married people who have made it past the honeymoon stage will find familiar. Thankfully, many humerous moments as well as the glorious French locations and bright colours prevent the film from ever becoming gloomy. Excellent acting, excellent script, excellent direction, excellent music (an original score by Henry Mancini). Highly recommended.
For those who have not seen it before, the film is produced and directed by Stanley Donan, and rightly regarded as a masterpiece of the genre. In fact it contains a second masterpiece: Henry Mancini's hauntingly romantic music. The script by Frederic Raphael, who wrote Darling, examines the marriage of the two lead characters, their meeting, as impoverished young people hitching through France, to marriage and parenthood, and the trials of career success and infidelity. The scenes that focus on the weaving and unravelling of their relationship, seldom contain more than a few lines of dialogue, and are stylishly mixed together: juxtaposing their observations and feelings over the years. This style of film making will probably be quite new to many people, and it becomes quite absorbing and fascinating. It is one of the reasons Stanley Donan was so highly regarded. Finally, one trivial observation: Ms Hepburn wears her iconic false eye lashes in every single scene. Whether in the bath, bed, or even in the swimming pool, she is never without them. It seems odd, but then it was the sixties!
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Finney plays his usual boorish male prig - even for the sixties.Read more