Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 22nd, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1975
Director: Karen Arthur
Writer: Joan Hotchkis
Cast: Joan Hotchkis, George McDaniel, Sean Allan, Dixie Lee, Richard Bradford III, John de Lancie, Sarah Hotchkiss
DVD released: February 22nd, 2011
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A day in the life of a middle aged woman who slowly loses grip on reality.
Legacy was directorial debut of Karen Arthur (The Mafu Cage, Lady Beware). The screenplay for Legacy was adapted from a one woman stage production that also starred Joan Hotchkis (Breezy). Behind the scenes Legacy would feature three key collaborators cinematographer John Bailey (American Gigolo, Cat People), editor Carol Littleton (Body Heat, E.T. The Extra- Terrestrial) and composer Roger Kellaway (Silent Scream). Who would all re-team with director Karen Arthur for her next film The Mafu Cage.
Even though mental illness had been the focal point of many films. Very few films have approached this subject solely from the perspective of the protagonist. At the heart of Legacy is story about a middle aged woman, who one day after visiting her mentally ill mother. She starts to reflect on her life and how she does not want to end up like her mother. The further she digs into her own psyche. The more unbalanced she becomes.
Narrative wise the films finds a good balance between its protagonists inner / outer monologues and flashback sequences which give a well rounded view of those who are closest to her. If anything, some viewers might find the film’s slow build up a difficult road to travel. With the film’s final act. Specifically it’s finally being the most compelling and enduring aspect of this production. Building up a film around one primary character is not as easy task. Since the film pretty much sinks or swims because of the performance of the actress / actor who has been cast in said role. And with Legacy actress Joan Hotchkis is faced with an uphill battle of trying to make the audience sympathize with an extremely unlikable character. To her credit she creates a multi layered performance. That is utterly convincing. Ultimately Legacy is an ambitious film that most viewers will hard time digesting its challenging subject matter.
Scorpion Releasing presents Legacy in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. It should be noted that even though this film is presented in its intended aspect ratio. That there are borders all four side of the image. This transfer is essentially a 16X9 presentation of the film’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This film was shot on 16mm and then blow up to 35mm. There is some very mild print debris and a healthy amount of grain is present throughout. Flesh tones and colors look accurate. Black levels are consistently good and details generally look crisp. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clear and consistent throughout.
Extras for this release include a stills gallery, three interviews – actress / screenwriter Joan Hotchkis (33 minutes 32 seconds – 4:3 full frame), director Karen Arthur (46 minutes 5 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and editor Carol Littleton and cinematographer John Bailey (18 minutes 6 seconds), and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary with Joan Hotchkis and the second audio commentary with Karen Arthur. This release comes with a wealth of extras that covers the various aspects of this production. Also these extras give a in depth look into the key talent behind this production. Every last extra included with this release is fascinating and insightful. Overall Legacy gets a definitive release from Scorpion Releasing, highly recommended.