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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Booklet

The Birdcage

MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 119 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

What happens when you try to hide the true nature of your gay parents from the eyes of your very conservative prospective in-laws? Hillarity, in great abundance, that's what.

The Birdcage is based on the French play and movie La Cage Aux Folles and focuses on how gay couple Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert Goldman (Nathan Lane) cope with having dinner with Kevin (Gene Hackman) and Lousie Keeley (Diane Wiest) - the parents of Barbara (Calista Flockhart), whom Armand's son Val (Dan Futternan) wishes to marry. The only problem is Kevin is a very conservative Senator in the US government, standing for re-election, and frowns upon "immoral" situations such as the relationship between Armand and Albert.

Val is worried that should Kevin learn the truth about his "parents", he would forbid the marriage. What follows is a comedy of errors as Armand tries to please his son, while also trying to not hurt the feelings of Albert.

  Video
Contract

Presented in an Anamorphically Enhanced 1.85:1 the video quality is quite good, and I did not notice any problems with the film used for the transfer, or anything from the transfer process itself. The club run by the Goldman's is a feast for the eyes, presenting a dazzling array of colours, whilst maintaing a deep black level for the unlit backstage areas. The layer change (at 54:54) was a noticeable pause, but occurs during a cut between scenes so is not as obtrusive as some discs.

  Audio
Contract

Presented in five different languages, all with a 5.0 soundtrack you wouldn't expect much surround activity due to space limitations, and you'd be right. The nightclub and crowd scenes are about the only times you'll get anything from your rear speakers, but then it's not the type of film that needs big surround effects. Honestly, I think it could've gotten away with non-discrete rear channels.

Dialogue and overall volume was nicely balanced, once I had things set the remote stayed put for the film, even during the musical numbers in the club that are at a slightly higher volume. Audio synching was good, the only noticeable bug-bears being the singing in the opening number, but that seems fairly common to audio-playback material.

  Extras
Contract

US Theatrical Trailer and a booklet containing comments from cast and crew.

  Overall  
Contract

This is a great film. I remember seeing the trailer when it had its cinema release and not thinking a great deal of it, but it's definitely in the category of films where the trailer does not do the film justice. Williams and Lane simply shine on screen. A story more about family and diversity than homosexuality, it would make good (mature) family viewing and withstands watching more than once. A definite keeper.


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    • TV:
          Philips 29PT6361
    • Receiver:
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    • Speakers:
          Aaron ATS-5
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    • Surrounds:
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