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As movies go, there is nothing awful about THE AWFUL TRUTH ($25). The movie is one of the most delightful screwball comedies of the 1930s, and as such, it breezy, lighthearted entertainment. THE AWFUL TRUTH stars Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, both of whom are at the top of their form as a married couple, heading for divorce, although very much still in love with one another. As Lucy and Jerry Warriner, Dunne and Grant shine as two people who allow their pigheadedness to bust up their marriage, and then act like spoiled children when the begin fighting over custody of their dog Mr. Smith. Only when Lucy finds herself engaged to the wealthy Daniel Leeson (Ralph Bellamy), do both halves of this divided couple begin to suspect that their pending divorce may be a mistake. The cast of THE AWFUL TRUTH also includes Alexander D'Arcy, Cecil Cunningham, Molly Lamont, Esther Dale, Joyce Compton, Robert Allen, Robert Warwick and Mary Forbes.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made THE AWFUL TRUTH available on DVD in a nice enough looking full screen transfer that frames the movie in its proper 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Like many other Columbia Pictures productions from the 1930s, the black and white film elements used to create the DVD master for THE AWFUL TRUTH do have some rough edges, which are due to the kind of care and handling the movie has received over the last sixty-plus years. Brief segments of the black and white film element would appear to be a few generations removed from the original negative and display a rather "dupey" quality. These segments appear somewhat soft, overtly grainy and have reduced contrast.

The majority of the transfer comes from early generation film elements that produce an image that is reasonably crisp and nicely detailed. For the most part, blacks appear accurate and whites are fairly clean. Contrast tends to be fairly smooth and there is usually a nice variety in the grayscale. However, there are a large number of small blemishes and minor scratches on the film elements, which are moderately noticeable and could only be removed by costly frame-by-frame digital restoration. In addition, film grain remains fairly noticeable throughout. Digital compression artifacts are well concealed by a short running time and smart DVD authoring.


THE AWFUL TRUTH comes with a Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack that provides a decent aural experience. Most of the background hiss and surface noise have been cleaned from the track, with very few audible anomalies remaining. Dialogue is always intelligible, although some of the voices can occasionally sound a bit hollow. Fidelity is limited by the recording technology of the late 1930ís, which primarily effects the filmís musical passages. However, the music does manage to sound fairly good with a mild amount of amplification. While there are no other language tracks on the DVD, subtitles are provided in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as bonus trailers for BORN YESTERDAY, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and HIS GIRL FRIDAY.

THE AWFUL TRUTH is a delightful screwball comedy that has lost none of its charm in over more than six decades. Columbia TriStar has come up with a respectable presentation that should keep movie buffs fairly happy. If you are a Cary Grant or Irene Dunne fan, youíll definitely want to check out THE AWFUL TRUTH on DVD.



The Awful Truth (1937)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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