Mommie Dearest

Mommie Dearest (1981)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Faye Dunaway, Steve Forrest, Diana Scarwind
Extras: Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer

In front of the camera, Joan Crawford was a respected actress, whose silver screen achievements have long become legendary and movie history. Behind the camera however, Joan Crawford was a very different person. Her private life was riddled by depressions and problems as she struggled with Hollywood’s ruthless system. When she decided to adopt a daughter and a son, the glamorous star was not able to keep up a regular life and gradually descended into alcoholism and child abuse, all of which is revealingly depicted in this movie.

Paramount Home Video is bringing us ’Mommie Dearest’ in an anamorphic widescreen transfer on this DVD in its original theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print used for this DVD is in pristine condition without any speckles or mars. The slightest sheen of grain is visible in a few scenes, but apart from that the presentation is flawless. The image shows a very high level of detail and brings the 30 ambiance of the movie to glorious life. Colors are bold and strong but never oversaturated. With natural fleshtones and deep blacks, the image looks very natural and offers a beautiful visual depth and dimensionality. Shadows are full of detail, yet perfectly delineated. No edge-enhancement is evident in the transfer, retaining a very film-like look for the movie that is sharp, yet never unnaturally crisp. The compression is without flaws and does not show any signs of compression artifacts anywhere.

The DVD comes with a great new 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix, as well as mono mixes in English and French. The multi-channel audio is full-bodied and hardly ever reveals the constraints of the film’s original mono format. Surround usage is fair – which is to be expected from a remix – but nonetheless very good. Nice ambient surround usage gives the film a lot depth, which enhances the overall experience. Dialogues are well integrated and never sound harsh. The music benefits the most from the remix, with a wide sound stage integration that uses early reflections to expand the sound field in the rear channels.
’Mommie Dearest’ contains the movie’s theatrical trailer and a photo gallery featuring promo stills and some behind-the-scenes photos.

I cannot stress enough how good a movie ’Mommie Dearest’ is. Combined with this strong DVD debut of the film, all I can say is ’Do not miss this film!’ You will get to see Faye Dunaway in one of her most powerful roles, you will see a Hollywood legend shattered in front of your eyes and you will be taken aback by the unforgettable drama of physical and mental abuse this film depicts. Once again – in case you did not understand me before – do not miss this film!