Entertainment :: Movies

Out Of Africa - Collector’s Series

by Ed Tapper
Contributor
Friday Mar 9, 2012
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At the 1986 Academy Awards, Sydney Pollack’s epic "Out of Africa" ruled, earning seven Oscars, including one for Best Picture. Based on the autobiographical book of Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), the story concerns a Danish noblewoman who travels to Kenya and buys a plantation with her husband of convenience. Left to manage it when he moves out, she ultimately falls in love with a freethinking adventurer.

Set in 1913, the film boasts wonderful period costumes, and gorgeous cinematography. The minor roles of the African servants and farmhands are delightfully realized. As Karen’s charming, immoral husband, Klaus Maria Brandauer is a standout among the supporting players. Yet, in this sort of film, it is the romantic leads that contributes in largest measure to the success of the venture.

Obviously, Meryl Streep is an accomplished actress, but hardly warm and cuddly; nor should she be here, portraying a stolid Scandinavian woman. Yet her internalized acting leaves one unsympathetic. The broad, artificial Danish accent begins to wear after the first hour, just one element in a film that does not ring true. Add into the equation Robert Redford’s somnambulistic presence and, after over 2 ½ hours, some audiences may want out of Africa---permanently.

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, Universal has released a Collector’s Series edition of the film. The attractive package includes a stunning Blu-ray version, and a fine DVD incarnation. The high-definition, Blu-ray visuals are remarkable. The generous extras include an interesting documentary on the life of Blixen, internet-connected features, Pollack commentary, and, for the masochistic, several deleted scenes. The discs are enclosed in a hardbound book that contains essays, photographs and facts. The Collector’s Series is definitely the way to go for ardent fans of "Out of Africa," although a simpler 25th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD combo is also available at half the price.

Out of Africa
Blu-ray/DVD
$39.99
www.universalhidef.com

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