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Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day (2004)

Peter Alexander , Jeri Arredondo , Christopher Munch  |  NR |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Alexander, Jeri Arredondo, Henry Gibson, Michael Stipe, Jonah Bauer
  • Directors: Christopher Munch
  • Writers: Christopher Munch, Caveh Zahedi
  • Producers: Andrea Sperling, Donald Rosenfeld, Jim Stark, Peter Wentworth, Ruth Charny
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Video Group
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2004
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018YCKA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,791 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New 16:9 transfer from 35mm original negative
  • Short film: "Yosemite Valley Railroad Revisited"
  • Scenic outtakes
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Filmmaker biography

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Best Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival, COLOR OF A BRISK AND LEAPING DAY is a boldly atmospheric and subtly complex historical drama from indie auteur Christopher Münch (The Sleepy Time Gal). It tells the story of John Lee, grandson to a Chinese railroad laborer, who holds idealistic visions of saving a Yosemite Valley short-line train from bankruptcy, with help from long-time rail employees (Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Henry Gibson of Magnolia)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated And Misunderstood August 23, 2007
This film has been called such things as "boring", "overly pretencious", and "badly acted". I have never understood those labels as applied to this film, and i think they are due mostly to people who view this with a modern- day film mentality and altogether unreal expectations. I am a lifelong film buff- so i know good acting/ bad acting when I see it. The performances here serve the story well. There is really no opportunity in the script for actors to stretch themselves, so i think the criticisms with the acting are by and large a result of that. The characters are all played realistically and quite well in the confines of each character. The Yosemite cinematography is spectacular- as everyone points out, but one of the overlooked aspects is just how wonderful this film captures that period of time right as WW2 is coming to a close. The mood, the settings, and the details are all just right, and that adds alot of romanticism to the story. I liked the subtle soundtrack as well, and the hushed tone to the entire movie that makes me always feel extremely nostalgic everytime I've seen it. I think the story is interesting, especially if you are a train buff like I am, and I thought the lead actor Peter Alexander was very convincing in his role. His endeavor was naive, yes, but noble at the same time, and despite the end result I can appreciate his effort to save the train line. Michael Stipe plays his friend/ employee and is very good as well. I liked the underlying sexual tension between the two characters, and Stipe's not so subtle passes at his employer, and the shame he ultimately feels by his own feelings and the ultimate rejection he faces. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It won the best cinematography award at Sundance - but that is not the only reason to check this out. Chris Munch is a filmmaker's filmmaker, and what he accomplished on a very low budget here is truly a testament to his artistry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rated for the visuals, not the script January 4, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I ordered this DVD after having read the two 2007 reviews, one rating five stars and the other awarding one star (only because Amazon doesn't allow zero star reviews). I learned of this film from an Amazon search for "railroad movie dramas". hoping to find another sleeper of the quality of the Uruguayan "El Ultimo Tren". "Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day" certainly does not equal El Ultimo Tren, nor any of the other two dozen railroad-theme films in my collection.

However, the film's photography qualifies for more than a one-star rating through accurate portrayal of 1945-vintage vehicles and trains. The moody, slow-paced plot and piano score tend to make this a film that can be enjoyed equally well with the sound turned off. The plot follows a year in the life of John Lee, a 23-year-old Californian who tries to revive the dormant Yosemite Valley Railway at the end of World War II. Anyone knowing that the railroad has been abandoned for more than half a century will know that his efforts to recruit more shippers and passengers will fail.

For the railfan, the movie includes some authentic footage of the real YVR taken in the 1930's, as well as brief views of connecting Southern Pacific steam-powered trains and even a Pacific Electric trolley. Based on production credits, featured scenes of the Yosemite Valley line were apparently recreated at Railtown 1897 in Jamestown, Calif., and perhaps on Arizona's Grand Canyon Railroad.

Views of the railroad yards, equipment and buildings make a (used DVD) copy of Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day a suitable investment for train enthusiasts. But the plot alone will not justify a repeat viewing. My rating is closer to 2.5 stars than 3.5, and unless I fell asleep during the numerous slow moments depicting John's relationships with family and friends, the film's title is never explained. Especially since the film was shot in black and white.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Film May 28, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was terrible. It was recommended as good for someone who loves trains but my husband, who is a train enthusiast, hated it as well. The story is slow and never gets interesting and the acting is terrible. Gives whole new meaning to "low budget film" I do not recommend this at all.
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