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Customer Review

116 of 128 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Horribly Screwed-Up DVD Transfer Of A Great Film!, April 6, 2004
This review is from: Pillow Talk (DVD)
Rating for this movie -- 5 Stars.
Rating for the 2004 DVD version of the film -- 1 Star.

"Pillow Talk" stars Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, and Thelma Ritter. It remains today what it was when released in October of 1959, and that is -- a highly-entertaining and well-acted romantic comedy.

The film was re-released on DVD-Video by Universal Studios on April 6th, 2004. This newer version has been enhanced for 16x9 widescreen TVs, and the anamorphic enhancement has helped in many places. However, the picture quality here does seem to be a bit of a "hit and miss" proposition. Several portions of the movie still look rather crummy (artifact-wise), exhibiting obvious dirt speckles and "noise". The opening titles sequence is peppered with dirt and artifacts galore, as are a few other parts of the film, particularly ALL of the "split screen" scenes. For some reason, it seems that these "split screen" shots could not be cleaned-up nearly as much as the other portions of the movie.

But by far the biggest atrocity is the fact that this 2004 DVD print has been mis-framed! In some places pretty badly, too. Head room is way too tight here, with the tops of many character's heads being cut off. This was NOT the case with the previous 1999 DVD print of this movie.

When you compare the '99 print with this 2004 one, the mis-framing is obvious in many places. It appears that this new print has been "zoomed in" quite a bit, creating the tight head room. Some of the most blatant examples of this "zooming in" occur in Chapter 10, where the piano player's head is severely cropped. Whereas, on the '99 DVD, her entire head is visible in the frame. Plus, a few seconds later in that "Roly Poly" scene, we see a shot of several people singing along to the music and clapping their hands. In this shot, TWO ENTIRE PEOPLE (one on the left and one on the right side of the frame) are totally cut out of the shot! Plus, part of another man is cut out of the frame on the left! These "missing" people are all visible on the 1999 disc.

And check out Chapter 14! This scene is simply horrifying from a framing standpoint! Literally half of Rock Hudson's head is missing here! When we KNOW it should be in the frame (based on the 1999 disc, which is perfectly framed for the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the movie). Yikes!

This is ridiculous carelessness on the part of Universal's quality control department! Many scenes are totally botched with this zoomed-in mis-framing of the print!

Looks like yet another case of a Universal product being mishandled in the DVD transfer department. A pity! For "Pillow Talk" is one of the best romantic comedies you're likely to see this year, or any other year. And it deserves better treatment than this. It's just plain stupid to let an obviously-botched DVD video transfer like this one get into any consumer's hands! Doesn't ANYONE check these framing issues before finalizing the product? Mind-boggling indeed!

This newer DVD version of the film contains the exact same Menu design and Special Features as the previous non-anamorphic variant (minus a text info page about Universal "Web Links"). The bonus features aren't very plentiful, being limited to the original theatrical trailer and some very extensive and informative text notes on the film and its cast members. (FYI -- These text-based items are verbatim to the older "Pillow Talk" DVD release; but definitely worth a read. Until reading these Production Notes, I never knew a sequel to the film was being planned in 1980. But, unfortunately, the project never got beyond the initial planning stages, and the film was never made. Too bad. I'd have liked to have seen that sequel.)

I'm severely disappointed with this DVD. I looked forward very much to having this film in an enhanced anamorphic state. But in this butchered, mis-framed version, it's nearly impossible to fully enjoy the film. Because the FULL film is not here!

If you've already got the older non-anamorphic DVD of "Pillow Talk", you'd be better advised to just hang onto it, and skip this version entirely. Upon looking over both versions side-by-side, the older one really isn't very much worse (fuzziness-wise) than this new one. And when factoring in the mis-framing problem of the new one, the old DVD displays the WHOLE picture; while this new one definitely does not.*

* EDIT/FOOTNOTE (OCTOBER 2005) -- Universal has supposedly fixed the mis-framing problem with this 2004 DVD release -- although I've ordered multiple copies of the "new" disc (from different e-tailers) and still haven't seen a properly-framed copy. I've had to return each one thus far (and they were ordered more than a year apart). Very discouraging. So, you're taking your chances when you order this '04 version of the film.

~throws hands in air in disgust~
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2006 2:56:49 PM PST
JdoOpera76 says:
Thank you! I was considering it, until I read your review! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2008 6:45:03 AM PST
max says:
Yup. I bought this DVD and the quality is just terrible.

Posted on Aug 27, 2015 3:30:31 PM PDT
Jazz1152 says:
Why did you purchase the 2004 version when you already had the 1999 version? I purchased the widescreen version and it shows up just fine on my 55" flat screen.
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Location: Mooresville, Indiana; USA

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