War of the Roses arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.85:1 encode. It is directed by Danny DeVito, who intentionally wants a softly photographed picture with a darker lean, thus retaining the cinematographic intent with a pleasing presence of grain, keeping the viewing experience filmic with little overt filtering. Details are there, from the tchotchkes that litter the Rose household to the thinness of fabrics, accentuating certain wardrobe naughtiness from DeVito. Facial response is excellent, with natural skin tones. (4/5)
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix is fairly modest for a manic creation as this, maintaining a primarily frontal presence that makes little time for surround play. Dialogue is crisp and tight, with accurate separation. In 1953, Alfred Newman composed and recorded the 20th Century Fox Fanfare "with Cinemascope extension". In 1989, his son, David Newman re-recorded the fanfare for "The War of the Roses" in order to have the last note of the fanfare segue seamlessly into the first note of the opening titles music. Very clever! But the overall soundtrack is not outstanding. (3/5)
Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) cuts the heels off his wife's (Kathleen Turner) shoes. In Romancing the Stone, Jack Colton (Douglas) cut the heels off Joan Wilder's (Turner) shoes.
While shooting the scene where Michael Douglas (Oliver Rose) and Kathleen Turner (Barbara Rose) are sitting in the chandelier, director Danny DeVito pretended to break for lunch while the two actors were 30 feet above ground. I wonder who had the last laugh.
There is only one BD-50 disc. But it has an excellent 26-page booklet, containing interesting insights into the story, the production, and the stars with many beautiful pictures. There are many quips in the booklet, and let me quote:
“Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is NOT that movie.”
“A deliriously mean-spirited free-for-all…Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are evilly enchanting!”
I gather that the Filmakers Signature Series has no special meaning other than Danny DeVito’s signature is on the front cover.
For some unexplicable reason, I skipped from my War of the Rose laser disc box set directly to this blu ray release. The title of the movie is rather clever: The War of the Roses (Oliver and Barbara Rose). Ever since Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, I love the chemistry between Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. They work in perfect “harmony” in this melodrama. Although the video and audio are not top-notched, the movie nevertheless is very enjoyable. According to director Danny DeVito the first assembled cut of the film ran 3 hours and 4 minutes! I pre-ordered this movie when the price dropped to $16.99 from $17.99, then rose to $21.99, and now it is gone down to $19.99. The price is still reasonable, and this set is recommended. The ending will send chills up your spine.