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Without question, ROXANNE ($35) is Steve Martin's masterpiece. Here is a film that is funny, romantic, intelligent and it comes wrapped up in a wonderfully effervescent package. ROXANNE is a winner on all counts- it is certain to appeal to almost every viewer.

Steve Martin himself is responsible for the screenplay. Martin has transferred Edmond Rostand's play CYRANO DE BERGERAC into modern world with marvelous results. Martin straps on the oversized proboscis to essay the role of C.D. Bales (Cyrano), the ski village fire chief with the heart of a poet. Martin's interpretation of Cyrano succeeds because he brings all the nobility, heroics and romance of the original to life, along with the addition of his own comic sensibilities. For those unfamiliar with the original, ROXANNE follows much of Rostand's basic story line with C.D. Bales falling in love with the beautiful Roxanne (Daryl Hannah), and Roxanne falling for the handsome, but empty-headed, Chris (Rick Rossovich). Since Chris finds himself unable to speak to a beautiful woman without offending her, or making himself physically ill, Chris enlists C.D. to help woo Roxanne. The only reason C.D. complies with his romantic rival's request is so he can give voice to his own feelings for Roxanne, without his oversized nose getting in the way. Shelly Duvall, Michael J. Pollard, Fred Willard and Damon Wayans fill out the cast of ROXANNE.

It's taken almost ten years, but Columbia TriStar Home Video has finally gotten around to issuing ROXANNE in the Letterboxed format. The transfer restores most of the 2.35:1 Panavision aspect ratio, but I could detect a number of instances where the extreme edges of the frame appeared cropped. Still, the transfer is an enormous improvement over the pan and scan atrocity that was originally issued through Pioneer. The cinematography on much of this film is intentionally hazy as to induce a romantic atmosphere, the transfer remains faithful to those intentions. While the digital transfer is detailed and the colors appear fresh, the film element chosen for the transfer has a few minor markings. The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a respectable mix for the mid-eighties, and doesn't call any undue attention to itself. The Sony DADC pressing had modest speckling, and just a hint of crosstalk. I can't praise ROXANNE too much. This is a marvelous film which most Laserdisc collectors will want to add to their collections.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1996 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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