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Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York (1975) – Imprint Collection #234 (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A single woman moves from the suburbs to New York City to meet men and make it in her career in this dark comedy.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Sidney J. Furie stepped out of his comfort zone with the 1975 dark comedy Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York, based on the bestselling novel by Gail Parent. It was at the time a rare comedy and a rare film with a female protagonist helmed by the director, Lady Sings the Blues being his most notable.

Jeannie Berlin (The Fabelmans, Inherent Vice) plays the titular character, a single woman who moves from Pennsylvania to New York City to try to make it. She moves into a rundown apartment building with a flighty roommate, gets a job at an indie record label that deals in children’s music, and get involved with a doctor, Sam (Roy Scheider) who is not all that interested in a real relationship with her, but does start stating her roommate.

Jeannie Berlin is perfect in the role as the neurotic, self-effacing, and insecure Sheila trying desperately to make it in “the big city” and get her handsome doctor. She singlehandedly carries this comedy and Furie allows her to, tempering his usual heavily stylistic directorial style. The cinematography of Donald M. Morgan captures the grit and grime of mid-1970s New York City authentically, making this both an enjoyable slice-of-life comedy and good time capsule of the era.

  • Directed By...Sidney-J-Furie (Imprint)
  • Directed by...Sydney J. Furie (Imprint)

The Video

Imprint offers up a worldwide Blu-ray debut of Sheila Levine from a 4K scan of the original camera negative in a 2.35:1 AVC 1080p encodement. This is one of two titles in the Directed By… Sidney J. Furie (1970 – 1978) – Imprint Collection #231 – #235 that is a worldwide Blu-ray debut from a 4K scan, and it shows. While this is a very grainy film, it looks very crisp and organic. Dark scenes have an elevated and almost noisy amount of grain due to the low light photography, but overall shadow detail is good. The color palette is mostly in the midtones and they present well, with natural flesh tones as well.

The Audio

We get the original mono soundtrack for the film in LPCM 2.0 and it has intelligible dialogue even if the dynamics are nothing spectacular. There is no issue with clipping or noise.

The Supplements

Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York is a part of the Directed By… Sidney J. Furie (1970 – 1978) – Imprint Collection #231 – #235. In addition to the bonus features on the disc listed below, the collection also includes an exclusive 60-page booklet with essays on the films and images, housed in a glossy limited edition (1500 copies) hardbox.

  • Audio Commentary by film historian/filmmaker Daniel Kremer and director Sidney J. Furie (NEW)
  • Audio Commentary by film historian Samm Deighan (NEW)
  • The Film That Died and Lived – interview with cinematographer Donald M. Morgan (1080p; 00:14:02) (NEW)
  • Why Can’t I Be Doris Day? Sheila Levine from Page to Screen – video essay by film historian Bill Ackerman (1080p; 00:19:54)  (NEW)
  • Sidney J. Furie is Alive and Dreaming of New York – video essay by filmmaker Scout Tafoya (1080p; 00:15:02) (NEW)
  • A Little Uncomfortable: Furie’s 1970s Politics – video essay by critic/filmmaker David Cairns (1080p; 00:13:25) (NEW)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:58)

The Final Assessment

Going through the early career films of Sidney J. Furie one gains a unique perspective of the filmmaker than contemporary viewers may have based on his latter works. Things may have taken a downward turn with Superman IV, but prior to that notably horrendous film, Furie made some true classics, some better known than others. Sheila Levine falls into this lesser known category and thanks to Imprint it can now be rediscovered in a gorgeous new transfer.


Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York (1975) – Imprint Collection #234 is out on Blu-ray as part of the Directed By… Sidney J. Furie (1970 – 1978) – Imprint Collection #231 – #235 in Australia from Imprint Films on July 26 2023


  • Rating Certificate: Australia: M
  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Imprint Films
  • Director: Sidney J. Furie
  • Written By: Gail Parent (novel & screenplay) | Kenny Solms
  • Run Time: 112 Mins.
  • Street Date: 26 July 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English HOH
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A single woman moves from the suburbs to New York City to meet men and make it in her career in this dark comedy.Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York (1975) – Imprint Collection #234 (Blu-ray Review)