"On Golden Pond" was a moderately successful, off Broadway play until Jane Fonda decided that it would be the ideal vehicle to help shore up the rift between she and her father, Henry. But under director, Mark Rydell's command, the film version became a tender, poignant and loving account of old age and loving through the ages. Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda (who had never worked together before)were ideal as Ethel and Norman Thayer. Jane is Chelsea, Norma's headstrong, rebellious daughter. See the parallel yet? What followed was a tear-jerker that never became maudelin or trite.
TRANSFER: A really handsome looking transfer indeed. Though plagued by hints of edge enhancement throughout, this updated, remastered anamorphic DVD transfer is much more rich and varied with its color palette than the previously issued DVD. Film grain is still present but greatly reduced over the previous DVD. Fine details tend to get lost during the darker scenes, but over all, the film elements hold up remarkably well. Blacks are black. Contrast and shadow levels are bang on. The audio has been remastered to 5.1 with impressive results and a natural sounding spread across all five speakers.
EXTRAS: A good documentary on the film's cameraman and a little nothing on Kate Hepburn's career that, unfortunately, shows too little in the way of clips from Hepburn's illustrious film career. Also, the "Loving Through Time" documentary that was far superior to either of these - included on the previously issued DVD - is absent here. It follows the film's development and creation and its popular aftermath far more succinctly than anything featured on this disc. Also, the trailers included on the previous DVD release are not reproduced on this disc.
BOTTOM LINE: My advice is to get both versions of this film on DVD. Though this is clearly the better looking and sounding DVD of the actual film transfer - the other DVD is essential for its extra features content.