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Running Time: 109 Minutes
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Ralph Fiennes, James Rebhorn
Written by: Hugh Costello
Directed by: Bob Balaban
Retail Price: $26.98
Features: Audio Commentary with Director Bob Balaban, Growing Up Rich: The Real Doris Duke
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapter Selection (12 Chapters)
Released: April 29th, 2008
"Bernard and Doris" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, just as it aired on HBO. The transfer is decent at best, as its chief problem is that its incredibly soft. Contrast is also upped way too much, as there is excessive noise and edge halos. Scenes with natural light often don't look too good either, as the film looks overexposed. The movie - which was shot digitally - often looks washed out, and color saturation seems a bit drained. Detail is decent, and fleshtones - while not perfect - are pretty consistent. In all, this is a pretty disappointing transfer.
Also included is a Spanish Dolby Surround track, English closed captions, plus subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
The only other feature is the piece Growing Up Rich: The Real Doris Duke. Lasting 10 minutes, this is an excellent mini-biography on the film's subject. Balaban literally talks non-stop, and covers a tremendous amount: Duke's relationship with her mother, her divorce, her feelings about being in the public eye and her large amount of passions. The piece uses clips from the movie, but also crams in tons of newspaper clippings, photographs and assorted archival material. Balaban sure knows his subject. A definite must see.
"Bernard and Doris" is an intriguing and handsomely made film, mixing fact while exploring a "what if" scenario between Dorris Duke and one of her butlers. The performances - especially from leads Sarandon and Fiennes - are uniformly excellent, as is the direction from the supremely talented Bob Balaban. As far as a DVD, the presentation is nothing too special, but the commentary from Balaban and the featurette he hosts are quite good. Most definitely worth a rental, and worthy of a purchase if you're a fan of the film.