Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 2nd, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1967
Director: Stanley Donen
Writer: Frederic Raphael
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Gabrielle Middleton, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray, Georges Descrières, Jacqueline Bisset, Judy Cornwell
BluRay released: January 11th, 2017
Approximate running times: 111 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Two for the Road was directed by Stanley Donen who’s other notable films include, Singin’ in the Rain, Indiscreet, Charade, Arabesque, Bedazzled and Saturn 3. Key collaborators on Two for the Road include, screenwriter Frederic Raphael (Darling, Eyes Wide Shut), cinematographer Christopher Challis (The Tales of Hoffmann, A Shot in the Dark) and composer Henry Mancini (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther).
Two for the Road is a rare example of film that was so far ahead of its time that its contemporaries have not aged as well as this film has. On the surface the film appears to be yet another film about a couple dealing with the baggage that they have accumulated over the years they have been together. When upon closer inspection one will discover that this film has so much more to offer than similar themed films.
The film features a meticulously constructed narrative that has been precisely edited and pacing is never an issue as this film does a superb job letting key moments set in for maximum impact. And when discussing this film one must not overlook the importance of this film’s nonlinear narrative. Another strength of the aforementioned narrative is that it does no focus on time as it shifts back and forth. It lets each moment speak for itself.
From a production stand point, there are no areas where this film does not excel. The characters are well defined and Henry Mancini’s score is arguably one of his best. Visually this film takes full advantage of the scenic European locations featured throughout the film. With a few standout moments being, a scene that takes place at the early stages of the couple’s relationship. In this scene, Mark is about to leave with another woman and he is forced to leave with Joanna, when the other woman gets chicken pox. Another standout moment includes, the scene where Joanna returns from her affair and Mark gives her the cold shoulder instead of welcoming her back with open arms.
Without a doubt this film’s greatest strength is its solid cast who are all very good in their respective role. With this film’s standout performances being this film’s two leads Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina, My Fair Lady) in the role of Joanna Wallace and Albert Finney (Tom Jones, Wolfen) in the role of Mark Wallace. Their chemistry is undeniable and they deliver a pitch perfect portrayal of a coupe in a crisis. Other notable cast members include, Eleanor Bron (Help!, Women in Love) in the role of Mark’s ex-girlfriend Cathy Manchester , William Daniels (The Graduate, “Boy Meets World”) in the role of Cathy husband, Claude Dauphin (Barbarella) in the role Mark’s boss, Georges Descrières (Come Dance with Me!) in the role of the man who Joanna has an affair with and Jacqueline Bisset (Cul-De-Sac, The Mephisto Waltz) who’s character would have ended up with Mark if she didn’t get chicken pox. Ultimately Two for the Road is a timeless melodrama that has not lost any of its potency.
Two for the Road comes on a 50 GB dual layer (33.4 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This another strong transfer from Twilight Time that is on par with Eureka Video’s Region B Blu-Ray release. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. Both audio mixes are in great shape, dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. The more ambient aspects of these mixes are well represented and range wise both sound robust when they need too. With Henry Mancini’s score, really benefiting from these audio mixes.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 17 seconds), a Fox Movietone Newsreel (1 minute 45 seconds), an option to listen to a Isolated music track and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman and the second audio commentary is with director Stanley Donen.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman include, screenwriter Frederic Raphael, director Stanley Donen, the cast, the film’s unconventional narrative, composer Henry Mancini, cinematographer Christopher Challis and their thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Stanley Donen include, this film’s dialog, how the opening sequence sets up the rest of the film, the symbolism behind many of shots, locations and information about them, why Jacqueline Bisset’s voice had to be overdubbed by another actress, the cast, his initial thoughts after being presented with the premise for this film, after the first time he read the script how he felt that this would be an easy film to make and it ended up being the most difficult film of his career, how this was the first film that Audrey Hepburrn’s wardrobe was not designed by Hubert de Givenchy, screenwriter Frederic Raphael, Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, how the sound went out during the first audience preview, 20th Century Fox, Henry Mancini and the score, cinematographer Christopher Challis and the look of the film, editing and other production related topics.
Overall Two for the Road gets a solid release from Twilight Time, highly recommended.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.