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Daisy Miller

review by Zach B.

 

 

 

Based on Henry James' story, Cybill Shepherd is Daisy Miller, a woman with interesting sensibilities as far as how she acts and treats people. But her mindset and ways end up creating some trouble in Victorian society, circa 1878. As Daisy shows interest for Frederick Winterbourne (Barry Brown) and Giovanelli (Duilo Del Prete), what may seem like a light G-rated affair ends up concluding pretty sadly...

Fun Fact: According to Bogdanovich himself, he was originally going to play Winterbourne opposite Cybill Shepherd.

 

 

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Daisy Miller" certainly looks as if it was left over from 1878. The usual Paramount trademarks are there: good color saturation, fine details and wonderful fleshtones - all of which look great here given the film's extensive period design and location shooting. But the film looks faded and is quite grainy, let alone there is noise and a ton of other distractions like scratches, blemishes and dirt pieces that diminish the picture. It looks decent, but it could have definitely looked better.

 

 

The English Dolby Digital mono isn't so hot either. The film is dialogue-heavy, and the dialogue sounds crisp and is easy to hear for the most part. The film's sound effects are bland though and don't add much to the listening experience, but the music does sound pretty nice. In fairness, the film is old and the sound dynamics are painfully limited. Some background hiss can also be heard now and then, but it's not as distracting as you'd imagine. Overall, the track fits the film's nature. Also included are English subtitles and English closed captions.

 

 

Director Peter Bogdanovich gives a wonderful introduction. With behind-the-scenes footage, film clips and a wide array of stills, Bogdanovich is quite open and honest about the project. He talks about its origins in how he and his then-lover Cybil Shepherd wanted to do a movie togehter, and admits candidly the film wasn't going to appeal to the masses. He talks about the cast, locations, how he was going to have a role in the film and how Bogdanovich asked Orson Welles to direct the project, who then suggested he personally direct it. He covers a lot in this near thirteen-minute intro, and it definitely is a must watch if you can't listen to the more detailed commentary.

So yes, Peter Bogdanovich also provides a wonderful audio commentary over the film. He explains so many little details, but he's never overwhelming. Bogdanovich explains some of the story points, talks about the location shooting, offers some interesting anecdotes about the actors and offers some fun comments. By the end of this commentary, you really feel like you know the film inside and out.

 

 

"Daisy Miller" isn't one of Bogdanovich's best, but it's hard to resist this DVD given its low retail price and great supplements. If you're a completist, then do get this DVD.

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $9.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Peter Bogdanovich, Introduction by Peter Bogdanovich

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (18 Scenes)

Released: August 12th, 2003

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 91 minutes

Starring: Cybil Shepherd, Barry Brown, Mildred Natwick, Eileen Brennan, Duilio Del Prete and Cloris Leachman

Screenplay by: Frederic Raphael
Based on the story by: Henry James

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich