Tender is the Night

 

Tender is the Night

Based on the Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Screenplay by Ivan Moffat

Photography by Leon Shamroy

Art direction by Malcolm Brown & Jack Martin Smith

Set Decoration by Paul S. Fox & Walter M. Scott

Edited by William Reynolds

Music by Bernard Hermann

Produced by Henry Weinstein

Directed by Henry King

Theatrical release: 1961

 

Cast:

Jason Robards Jr.

Jennifer Jones

Joan Fontain

Tom Ewell

Cesare Danova

Jill St. John

Paul Lukas

 

Production Studio:

Theatrical: 20th Century Pictures

Video: Fox Cinema Classics

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (instead of 2.35:1)

Resolution: 480i

Codec: MPEG-2

Disc Type: Movie on Demand

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 4.0~5.0 Mbps)

Runtime: 146 minutes

Region: 1

 

Audio:

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Subtitles: None

 

Bonus Features: None

 

Presentation:

DVD Clamshell Case: DVD on Demand

Street Date: March 1, 2013


 

Critical Press:

TV Guide

Famed author Fitzgerald's semi-autobiographical novel of the woman-induced downfall of a man who once saw a brilliant career in his future, set amidst the decadence of post-WWI Europe with its many American expatriates, is given a slow, syrupy cinematic treatment here by director King (whose habit was to dwell unduly on noncritical visuals). . . Jones was a little long in the tooth to play this spirited simulation of author Fitzgerald's disturbed wife Zelda; she had not appeared in a picture since A FAREWELL TO ARMS five years previously. Robards plays his role without suggesting the gradual dissolution required of his character, seeming too much in control at all times. The people and the period had been covered before--in the 1957 release of Ernest Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES, which had a lot more elan but lacked the period flavor of TENDER IS THE NIGHT. . .


             


Producer David O. Selznick, a longtime admirer of the author's work, was another who nibbled lightly in 1934, writing to an associate, "I can't get anything out of this [Fitzgerald’s] synopsis, but I am such a Scott Fitzgerald fan that I hope to be able to read the book." Selznick did read the book later and loved it. He purchased the screen rights from Fitzgerald's estate (the author's daughter Scottie was reluctant to sell such rights to filmmakers where her father's presumably autobiographical works were concerned for fear of what Hollywood might do to his memory) and worked on the script with writer Moffat. This was to be the ailing Selznick's final film, even though he did not himself produce it. Selznick sold the script and the services of his wife, Jones, to 20th Century-Fox and prodigiously flooded the director with memos about the project, in which he maintained a sustaining interest. The sale contract called for Selznick to have casting approval as well as final script approval; however Selznick reportedly felt that the toilers in Fox's fields ignored his advice and ruined the film. The song "Tender Is the Night" by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster received an Academy Award nomination.


             


Image: 2

What’s this! 4x3 Pan & Scan reduction in this day and age when nearly 100% of all TV sets sold in the USA 16x9 high-definition!  This is a CinemaScope movie for heaven’s sake - meaning that 40% of the movie is missing from this video, and makes any discussion of how good or bad the remaining image is: beside the point. As it happens a few seconds checking this scene and that reveals a softer, grainier image than we might wish, despite that the color and contrast is acceptable and there is little damage.


             

 

Audio & Music: 6/8

The dialogue, which is most of what there is here, is clear enough, but I would have liked to have an isolated score track to better hear what Bernard Hermann had to say this this material.

 

Extras:  None.

 

Recommendation: 1

Everyone involved with the making of this film would be appalled by this transfer.  The only value I can see in this release is that you could think of it as one of the Lux Radio Theatre broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.  Just close you eyes and listen.


             


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

March 15, 2013


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