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Perfect Understanding [Blu-ray]

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Gloria Swanson and Laurence Olivier star in this sparkling high society romantic comedy as a young couple that decide to marry under the condition that they agree never to disagree. That arrangement is soon put to the test when the husband finds himself attracted to a beautiful young woman and a hilarious battle of the sexes unfolds... This lighthearted gem, co-written by famed director Michael Powell, was produced by Swanson and is the only film she made in Britain. Bonus Features: Selected Shorts: 1933, Two Mack Sennett shorts: Husband's Reunion and Dream Stuff.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gloria Swanson, Laurence Olivier, John Halliday, Nigel Playfair, Michael Farmer
  • Directors: Cyril Gardner
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C2535C6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,236 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on May 30, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
As a classic film enthusiast, I was somewhat surprised that I'd never even heard of the 1933 Ealing Studio release "Perfect Understanding." Not only does it carry the Ealing brand, it boasts a screenplay by the great Michael Powell and lead performances from Laurence Olivier and Gloria Swanson. Heck, that's all I need to know! Sign me up. Billed as a romantic comedy, I'm not sure the movie entirely succeeds under this description. With aspects that veer from slapstick to complete melodrama, the tone of "Perfect Understanding" veers all over the place. An unconventional domestic drama centered around infidelity (both imagined and real), there are some aspects of the movie that play deadly serious. These moments are (for my taste) the strongest in the film. When it plays for a lighter appeal, the manic energy can feel somewhat overdone and chaotic. At times, it seems as if two different movies are competing against one another. But despite these reservations, it's still a easy recommendation for fans of Olivier and Swanson! They make the picture worth a look!

Swanson and Olivier play a young society couple who don't want to fall into the same trap as their other married friends. They want a marriage in which they can retain their independence without all the baggage of traditional domesticity. It's a fine arrangement (a perfect understanding, if you will) in theory, but somewhat harder in practice. After a blissful honeymoon, the couple separate at the end of their vacation. With Olivier enjoying the festivities of Cannes, his old circle of friends and a former flame end up sharing time with the new groom. Can he withstand the temptation of another woman? Coincidentally, Swanson also has another suitor on the home front. When the couple reunite, how much honesty can their relationship bear?
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Format: Blu-ray
I love classic films. Especially old black `n whites. I couldn't say why exactly. I think it's that they're a bit more primal about how they had to approach the filmmaking process. They didn't have all of the tricks and twists of special effects and fancy-pants editing, so they were largely confined to using dialogue - that great, great form of communication - to convey so very much of the story. Without good, snappy dialogue, those movies of old were destined to one day end up on the trash heap. Consequently, I think they produced better screenwriters - folks who had a learned ear for what sounded right, what conveyed the proper sentiment, what captured a precise emotion for their audiences. Still, it's a shame that more of these `classics' don't get the treatment PERFECT UNDERSTANDING has; it's an impressive discovery, and I can only hope there's more to come from the folks behind the Cohen Film Collection.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)

Judy Rogers (played by the forever lovely Gloria Swanson) and Nicholas Randall (a young and thin Laurence Olivier) are socialites in love. However, they see couples all around them mired in one unhappy marriage after another.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Laurence Olivier made his first movie in 1930 and paired with silent screen Queen Gloria Swanson in 1933, who traveled to England to make this melodrama. This is a beautiful print for an 80 year old movie. However, it really isn't very good. It looks like a Norma Desmond return to the silver screen. However, if you like or collect old movies, then this one is a find.
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