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  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
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  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
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    Heavens Above
    Universal/Universal . R4 . B&W . 113 mins . PG . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    With the current thrill regarding the life of - to quote a way overblown clichť - consummate funnyman Peter Sellers, thereís little wonder a string of Peter Sellers films are being dragged out onto DVD by slathering distributors. And thatís okay with me. Itís about time.

    Heavenís Above deals with the odd, the different, the before-his-time clergyman John Smallwood. Heís a hip young priest in the 60s trying his best to change the world heís been delivered unto by actually doing something productive rather than just asking for money and altar boys. When he grants a small humanity to a family in need, it starts a chain of events that eventually leads to a national riot regarding his clergy and his parish, seeing him as an outcast though all he ever meant to do was good. (Sounds way too familiar, particularly for the human race in general).

    Itís a clever film and being made in 1963, itís way ahead of its time in its delivery of social satire and scathing commentary on the national ethos surrounding Britain at the time. Sellers is at an early stage of his film career here, but he plays his part magnificently, donning one of the numerous characters and costumes that foreshadowed his chameleonic prowess in years to come. While this may be a little sedate for some, behind the story thereís a deeper vein of intent and meaning that is still be apparent these forty-odd years later. It's well worth the visit by anyone who enjoys a good social satire and the look on a politicianís face when he/sheís been caught in their own web of deceit.

      Video
      Audio
      Extras
    Contract

    Being a black and white vehicle from 1963, the picture quality is quite good. Contrasts are among the best Iíve witnessed in a black and white transfer, with clear shadow detail and true blacks. There are a couple of film artefacts, which is to be expected, but this print is remarkably clear and free of general debris. And happily, we get this in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with anamorphic holy waters.

    Sound is a stable delivery of Dolby Digital stereo and this does admirably with the mostly dialogue-fuelled religious mayhem here. The musical score of Richard Rodney Bennett deserves a special note here for its unusual nature and this seems to go well with the fish-out-of-water theme. Great stuff.

    As to extras, sadly we are devoid of these here in this budget release, but at least we get to see Peter Sellers in an early role that may well have evaporated into the mists of time had he not found a new popularity with the eerily-excellent Geoffrey Rush.

    For fans of Sellers, this is a great early vehicle and one well worth checking out. The social satire of the time is excellent and proves that politicians have always been jerks, itís just the style of suit they wear that changes. While not amongst some of Sellersí more confident roles, this one is still up there amidst the more subtle of them and well worth the look for the admirer. Good stuff.


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  •   And I quote...
    "While not amongst some of Sellersí more confident roles, this one is still up there amidst the more subtle of themÖ"
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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