Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 12th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1965
Director: John Schlesinger
Writer: Frederic Raphael
Cast: Julie Christie, Laurence Harvey, Dirk Bogarde, José Luis de Vilallonga, Roland Curram, Basil Henson, Helen Lindsay
BluRay released: March 30th, 2015
Approximate running time: 122 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Studiocanal
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
Darling was directed by John Schlesinger whose other notable films include, Billy Liar, Far from the Madding Crowd and Midnight Cowboy. Key collaborators on Darling include screenwriter Frederic Raphael (Two for the Road, Eyes Wide Shut) and composer John Dankworth (The Servant, Modesty Blaise), he is most known for composing theme music for the 1960’s British T.V. series The Avengers. Darling was the second of three collaborations between John Schlesinger and Julie Christie. The first was Billy Liar and the third, Far from the Madding Crowd.
Throughout the film Diana tosses aside lovers like someone who always has to be seen with whatever is in fashion. And though she is very callous in the way she treats those that she has since replaced. When she gets bored with her new plaything, she often return’s to a former lover trying to rekindle what they once had. And not to be overlooked is how she chooses her lover to help further her career as model /actress and her social status.
In the mid-1960’s there were a handful of films which explored the swinging London like, Blowup, Bedazzled and Performance. The look and vibe of Darling is in line with what has since become synonymous with 1960’s swinging London. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Darling is its use of Black & White cinematography, when majority of films were being shot in color, especially those films that were capitalizing on what was going on in Swinging London.
All around there are so many great performances in this film and of course none shine brighter then Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago, Don’t Look Now) in the role of Diana Scott. The weight of this film is on her shoulders and she effortlessly creates a tangible character that exudes sympathy despite the amorality of the character she is portraying. And it should not come as a surprise that she would win the academy award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Diana Scott. Also though there are many standout moments in this film none epitomize the character of Diana Scott more than a scene where Miles one of her lover’s takes her to a party and forces her play the ‘truth ‘game. And the gist of this game is that when the light shines on you then you are supposed to give a self-portrait of how you see the person whose article of clothing that you are wearing. Not happy with the way she was portrayed Diana then seizes the moment when her turn arrives and she is given the task of tearing down Miles.
Other standout performances include Dirk Bogarde (The Damned) in the role of Robert Gold, a TV journalist and Laurence Harvey (The Manchurian Candidate) in the role of Miles Brand, an advertising executive. These two characters are opposite sides of a coin, Robert is more a homebody, while Miles is someone who always has to be part of a large gathering and he also likes to flaunt expensive things.
Everything about Darling, Begins and ends with its protagonist Diana Scott. She is an amoral character who is utterly irresistible and even when she does something despicable, it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by her charisma.
Darling comes on a 50 GB dual layer (38.2 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Grain looks natural, shadow detail and contrast levels look consistently strong throughout. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have also been included. There are no issues with distortion and background hiss is very minimal. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sound balanced. Range wise things sound as good as one would expect from a dialog driven film. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and the film’s score sounds appropriately robust.
Extras are limited to a trailer for the film (2 minutes 50 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen). Overall Darling gets a solid audio / video presentation from Studiocanal.
Note: This film is also being released by Studiocanal on DVD.