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AN IDEAL HUSBAND ($30) is one of those movies that usually gets missed by mainstream audiences, which is a complete shame, since this sophisticated English comedy is total delight. Based upon the play by Oscar Wilde, AN IDEAL HUSBAND tells the story of Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam), a well-respected politician, who finds his life thrown into turmoil when a certain Mrs. Cheveley (Julianne Moore) informs him that she has evidence of a past misdeed. Of course, Mrs. Cheveley is willing to trade the evidence for certain political considerations that will protect her financial investments. With the situation threatening to cost him both his political career and his marriage to Lady Gertrud (Cate Blanchett), Sir Robert turns to his best friend, Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett) for help. Lord Goring's own dishonorable reputation make him the only person Sir Robert can trust to assist him overcome his difficulties with Mrs. Cheveley. That is, if Lord Goring can avoid a romantic entanglement or two… including one with Sir Robert's sister Mabel (Minnie Driver).

Like any good film adaptation of Oscar Wilde, AN IDEAL HUSBAND features wonderfully witty dialogue that proves utterly timeless. However, what makes AN IDEAL HUSBAND a truly memorable film are the outstanding performances from a superb ensemble cast. Additionally, I have to single out Rupert Everett's contribution to this delightful comedy. Everett is so utterly perfect as Lord Goring that one would think that he was born to play the role. The cast of AN IDEAL HUSBAND also includes John Wood, Lindsay Duncan, Peter Vaughan, Jeroen Krabbé and Benjamin Pullen.

Miramax Home Entertainment has done a splendid job of transcribing AN IDEAL HUSBAND to DVD. Not only has this exquisite looking film been given a first rate wide screen transfer, the DVD features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. AN IDEAL HUSBAND is framed at 1.85:1 and the transfer provides wonder clarity and detail to the film's opulent settings and marvelous period costumes. Bright daylight sequences and the beautifully lit interiors are equally well reproduced by the transfer. Colors are quite vivid and flesh tones appear natural under all lighting conditions. There are no problems with either chroma noise or bleeding from the more strongly saturated hues. Blacks are accurately rendered and contrast is always exemplary. Digital compression artifacts never really make their presence known.

Since this is a dialogue driven period film, the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a somewhat reserved mix. The forward soundstage is well utilized for dialogue, music and the occasional sound effect, while the rear channels see relatively little activity, other than ambient sound and musical fill. The actor's voices sound quite good and the dialogue is always intelligible. Overall, the soundtrack is clean, vibrant and perfectly suited to the film. Subtitles are available on the DVD in English.

The interactive menus are fairly basic, providing access to the standard scene selection and set up features. A short production featurette is provided as the DVD’s only supplement and it is accessible through the menu system.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 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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