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Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Subtitles: English HOH
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: BFI
  • Run Time: 111 Mins.
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 24, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005HIXF20[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

From Apple Films and George Harrison comes this 1974 adaptation of David Halliwell’s stage satire, Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs, appearing on Blu-ray (and DVD) under the BFI’s Flipside label. A satirical dark comedy, the film follows the angry railings of ousted art student Malcolm (John Hurt) as he goes on his delusional quest to conquer his unseen art school nemesis, Phillip Allard, and the “eunuchs,” those people in the world he sees as being strict conformists to the rules society places on them. Enlisting his friends as followers, he forms the anarchist Party of the Dynamic Erection, taking a large phallic symbol as their logo and a clawed hand as their salute, with an obscure mission to overthrow unknown enemies. Yet for all his rage and macho posturing, Malcolm’s Achilles heel is his inability to communicate with women, such as with his would-be girlfriend Ann (Rosalind Ayres), who belittles Malcolm’s plan to kidnap his “nemesis.”

With cinematographer John Alcott (A Clockwork Orange; The Shining) behind the lens and shot on location in a wintry Oldham, Little Malcolm is a beautifully bleak, and stark film, with comedic and sexual overtones that are familiar in British cinema to this day. We have seen similar in the likes of films like Naked, its angry young man and writhing sexuality.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

‘Little Malcolm was transferred in High Definition from the original 35mm negative, made available by The George Harrison Estate, and appears in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1…The picture was restored using HD-DVNR and MTI restoration systems, removing dirt, scratches and warps, repairing damaged frames and improving stability issues.’

Little Malcolm‘s AVC/MPEG-4 encodement looks very good, having been given the obvious care from BFI. It’s foreground detail is strong, colors are stable, and flesh tones are natural. Contrast is quite strong with bright whites and deep blacks, but blacks do crush just a tad. Grain structure is fine and even throughout.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The original mono mix was transferred from a 35mm print preserved by the BFI National Archive.‘ It comes on Blu-ray in LPCM 2.0. Dialogue is clean with little hiss and minimal crackle or sibilant distortions. Voices sound fairly full and natural, but the musical performances sprinkled through the film do not come across sounding to well at all.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

BFI have filled this up with some short films that are well-paired to Little Malcolm, plus the usually deluxe booklet that is a must-read.

The supplements provided on this release:

  • Put Yourself in My Place (Francine Winham; 1974) (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:25:01) – Fraught gender relations trigger a startling role reversal in this polemical comedy starring Judy Geeson (Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush).
  • The Contraption ( James Dearden; 1977) (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:31) – In a final act of defeat or defiance, a man (Richard O’Brien) builds a sinister contraption in a dark cellar.
  • Original Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • DVD
  • Booklet: Original artwork and contributions from Stuart Cooper, John Hurt, Mike Leigh (who directed the debut stage production from Halliwell’s Play) and Yvonne Tasker from the University of East Anglia.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

This is just the sort of unusual, little seen film that the BFI’s Flipside label is perfect for and they excel at bringing them to high definition with excellent quality. Let’s hope, for film lovers’ sakes they keep up the good work for a long time coming.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005HIXF20[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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