The End Of The Affair

The End Of The Affair (1955)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Deborah Kerr, Van Johnson, John Mills
Extras: Featurette, Talent Files, Trailers, Production Notes

Starring Deborah Kerr, Van Johnson and John Mills, ’The End Of The Affair’ is a stylish drama based on Graham Greene’s novel of the same name. Placed in London during the second World War, Sarah, the wife of a British civil servant falls in love with her neighbor Maurice. The two become involved and even begin making plans for their future together, but suddenly and mysteriously, Sarah brings the affair to an end. Desperate and hurt, Maurice tries to figure out what happened.

As part of their ’Columbia Classics’ series, Columbia TriStar Home Video presents this atmospheric black and white movie in a 16×9 enhanced widescreen version in its theatrical 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, as well as a full frame transfer. The full frame presentation is realized as an open matte transfer that contains additional picture information at the top and bottom of the screen. The film’s age is evident throughout as registration problems, broken splices and grain are evident throughout the film. Certain scenes also exhibit quite a bit of dust and scratch marks, giving away the movie’s age. For some reason, the anamorphic widescreen presentation also exhibits discoloration problems that are not evident in the fullframe transfer of the movie. It is noticeable that shots have a greenish tint to them that should not be there. The presentation has a good contrast however with solid blacks and good highlights that never appear overly harsh. The compression on the disc is also very good, without distracting artifacts of any sort.

The only audio on the disc is an English language track in Dolby Digital mono. Given the film’s age it is hardly surprising that the track has a very harsh and thin quality that also exhibits quite a bit of sibilance. The music score comes across as distorted in many instances, as do certain lines of dialogue. The noise floor is generally good, although noticeable hiss is evident in the track.

’The End Of The Affair’ is a great movie and it is too bad that the presentation of the movie on this DVD is suffering quite a bit. It is obvious that it is in dire need for serious restoration to rid the source material of its deficiencies. For now, you won’t find a better incarnation of the movie anywhere, but there is still so much headroom for improvement.