A Waste of a Good Design


I’ve made it no secret that I don’t like Frank Llyod’s 1933 adaption of Noel Coward’s famous play Cavalcade. It won Best Picture at the Oscars, and I reviewed it last year as part of my Best Picture series. With my video review of the movie coming soon, I thought I’d take a quick look at the Blu-ray, DVD combo release that came out last year for its 80th anniversary.

Well, it’s not going to be a complete look. With this release, all the current BP winners have individual releases in the U.S. I don’t like the movie, but I was intrigued by two things: that it had a DVD commentary (which some other, much better BP winners don’t even have) and its cover art. Commentaries on bad movies always intrigue me. Will the commentator reference that the film isn’t held in high regard (whether he or she agrees with that point of view or not) or will he/she avoid the subject? I started listening to the commentary but, and this is why I won’t be giving a complete look at the release, never managed to finish it. The commentator didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. He seemed like a commentator for hire who gathered behind-the-scenes information with no real interest in the subject matter. The little of the commentary I did hear made no reference to its current critical status. The commentary gave the impression that Fox wanted a commentary on the Blu-ray just to have a commentary and that they didn’t want anything negative said about the film. That’s only based on the first 10 or so minutes of commentary, though, and is probably grossly unfair.

What I really wanted to talk about is the Blu-ray cover art. It’s good. Good enough, in fact, that, when I first saw it while in a hotel room last year, I almost wanted to buy it. Here we have an eye-catching cover that has mixture of images that represent some of the crucial real life events portrayed in the movie wonderfully centered around our protagonists (played by Diane Wynward and Clive Brook). It’s well put together. It represents and suggests a lot without being the least bit clutered. It’s nice to look at and fantastically unique. It does its job, getting me interested in the movie. I quickly came to my senses, and remembered its dire quality.

Needless to say, I didn’t buy it. I did shake my head at the utterly wasted cover. Like the movie’s great production values, it’s a great design thrown away on a subpar film.

(Oh, and the Blu-ray made no effort to restore the film, and its picture quality is not the best. I may not like the film, but I do think it should’ve been restored for those who do. It’s laziness on the part of the studio.)


9 thoughts on “A Waste of a Good Design

    • Richard Schickel, a film historian who I am only vaguelly familiar with. Another reviewer liked the commentary and thought Schickel had a genuine affection for the film. He’s probably right. Again, I only listened to a brief portion of the commentary.

      • He was part of a short Charlie Chaplin documentary available on the RDJ Chaplin film’s 15th anniversary release. I liked him in that. He’s certainly a well informed and learned film historian. His commentary is probably better than I’m giving it credit for.

    • Darn it. Thought that was going to happen when I was writing this up. I always mispell her name when I don’t spell check it. That’s what I get for writing this whole post on a phone.

      Oh, and thanks for reading! 🙂

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