DVDFile reviews A League of their own Collectors Edition
DVDFile has published and extensive review of the forthcoming release of the collectors edition of A League of their own. The review by Peter M. Bracke focuses on the contents of this double disc set, and particularly on its special features.
“The main attraction for fans to this new special edition will be the extras. Columbia TriStar has put together a very straightforward if entertaining assortment of goodies. Hot dog not included.”
The disc will also see the first US release of Madonna’s “This Used To Be My Playground video on DVD. The clip was only available on the Region 2 release of the disc so far.
The two-disc Special Edition DVD of “A League of Their Own” will be released in the US on April 20 by Columbia TriStar.
Click on Full Article to read the review
Special thanks to SlyGuy from the fabulous Madonna Nation Forum.
There is a fine line between sentiment and schmaltz, and Penny Marshall straddles it tighter than any other filmmaker in Hollywood. Which is the key to her success, for she knows that as much as we want a film of emotional subtlety and restraint, we also want to revel in the feeling afterward of have so stuffed ourselves that we leave the theater grinning like a Cheshire cat. Marshall’s movies are the kind where you go in knowing that your trip to the concession stand is going to be the most nutritional thing on the menu.
The story is a little-known slice of Americana. It is WWII and the National Baseball Association has found itself with a shortage of ball players, so candy bar king Walter Harvey hatches a plan to get the butts back into the seats: Rosie the Riveter will become Rosie the Outfielder. Assembling a ragtag team of housewives, scruffy tomboys and ugly ducklings, and drafting alcoholic ex-World Series hero Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) to coach them, the world’s first All-Girl’s League is born. Initially playing to empty houses, comic misadventures and plenty of injuries threaten to deep-six the league before they make it to the seventh inning stretch. But these girls soon win the hearts of the nation, and it is off the World Series and sellout crowds. But will a rivalry between star catcher Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and her kid sister Kit (Lori Petty) threaten to undermine team spirit? And will America still want an All-Girl’s League when the men return home?
A League of Their Own is the perfect match of a filmmaker and subject matter. Everything we want from a film like this is here in ample amount: the endless come-from-behind montages (I counted about eight), the mawkish bookends, the showboating star performances (all cast perfectly to type) and the obligatory Madonna tie-in pop ballad. Sure, it sometimes oozes from all the sticky syrup, but this isn’t so much a film about the harsh realities of the pre-feminist 50’s, but our own nostalgic wish-fulfillment fantasy about how great it all must have been to play on an all-girl’s baseball league. And it sure looks pretty.
A League of Their own really shines due to the casting. Hanks, fattened up and never without a flask by his side, is predictably winning as Dugan. Just as good is Davis, an underrated comedic actress, and the two’s verbal sparring (and growing attraction, despite Davis’ soon-to-be-returning husband, played by Bill Pullman) is a highlight. And while some of the supporting cast suffers from grandstanding (when Madonna smirks the line “What happens if my uniform bursts open and, oops!, my breasts pop out?”, we laugh despite the postmodern gimmicky-ness of it all), the mix of physicality and comic gumption works. So much so that by the time this slightly overlong film lumbers to its inevitable climax there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Damn, Marshall knows how to get us every time.
Video: How Does The Disc Look?
Released once before on DVD in the early days of the format, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has reissued A League of Their Own again in this new two-disc special edition. Rare for the studio, disc one in the set is a DVD-9, with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen version on one side and a 4:3 full screen version on the other. I skipped the pan & scan travesty (bleech!), but the widescreen version is a noticeable step up from the previous release.
While the master appears to be the same, the DVD format has made great technical strides in the past few years. The source material is nice and clean, with only a very rare speck of dirt or blemish noticeable. Blacks are rock solid and contrast excellent. Color reproduction is smoother and more consistent than the previous DVD, with less noise on edges and no oversaturation of hues. Sharpness also appears a bit better, likely due to the vastly improved compression this time out. Detail is more robust and shadow delineation above average: the previous DVD suffered from noticeable blocking and softness, which is greatly reduced here. And best of all is a lack of edginess: only a slight bit of ringing is noticeable but it is minor. A very nice-looking transfer.
Audio: How Does The Disc Sound?
Equal with the previous DVD is the Dolby Digital 4.0 surround mix – it sounds like the same soundtrack. Most impressive is the quality of the recording. Frequency response is excellent as is dialogue reproduction, and stereo separation is sharp across the front channels. However, the mono surround channel leaves much to be desired: only the baseball montage sequences really come alive, mostly due to bleed of the zesty score by Hans Zimmer. Low end is fairly forceful despite the lack of a dedicated .1 LFE channel, which would have given the baseball scenes some real kick. A nice soundtrack, just not earth-shattering.
Also included is a French Dolby 2.0 surround dub, plus English subtitles and Closed Captions.
Supplements: What Goodies Are There?
The main attraction for fans to this new special edition will be the extras. Columbia TriStar has put together a very straightforward if entertaining assortment of goodies. Hot dog not included.
First up is a screen-specific audio commentary by Marshall and stars Petty, Megan Cavanaugh (Marla Hooch) and Tracy Reiner (Marshall’s daughter). Alas, it is just OK. To be honest, Marshall’s voice is rather monotone, which makes this an often very long 128 minutes. Despite some good production stories (sorry, no Madonna bashing) I expected the energy and fun level to be higher. Petty and Cavanaugh are only fairly chatty, with mother and daughter handling most of the work. Given the full-length documentary included, this commentary is best left for diehard fans only.
The second disc is where the majority of the fun to be had is. The new 51-minute documentary Nine Memorable Innings is divided into – yep! – nine parts, plus opening and closing intros. Most of the main players have granted new interviews, including both Penny Marshall and her brother Garry, Davis, Petty, Reiner, co-stars Rosie O’Donnell, David Straitharn and Jon Lovitz, and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. (What!? No Hanks? No Madonna? Apparently, writing children’s books takes up far too much time.) Still, despite the lack of such heavy hitters this is still a nice doc, with at least one memorable story for each of its (yep!) nine memorable innings. While I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t at least one catfight on the set (especially given the reported ill will between Davis and Madonna, which is never discussed) this is a winning call for female solidarity. The only drawback? Their isn’t much production footage, so this doc often suffers from a dry, talking heads banality, but is still a fun watch.
Next up are no less than 15 deleted scenes, all with new introductions by Marshall. Like most excised material, some of these are so short they are really deleted shots, not scenes. But we do get a bit more of everything, from character bits to a couple of extra Bill Pullman scenes, whose character is so abbreviated in the final cut he hardly even rated a cameo. The quality of these scenes is ho-hum, all presented in pretty dodgy 2.35:1 non-anamorphic widescreen.
Rounding out the extras is Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground” music video, which I believe has never before been available on home video, DVD or otherwise. Also included are some cast and crew filmographies, and theatrical trailers for A League of Their Own plus two other Columbia sports comedies.
A League of Their Own is a fun, sentimental and nostalgic comedy-drama that has held up well over its ten years. While this new special edition doesn’t do anything pioneering, it does offer a nice transfer and some enjoyable new supplements, especially the documentary. Not a grand slam, but certainly a solid triple.
– Two-Disc Set
– Region 1
– 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
– 4:3 Full Screen
Dolby Digital Formats:
– English 4.0 Surround
– French 2.0 Surround
– English Closed Captions
– English Subtitles
– Interactive Menus
– Scene Access
– Screen-Specific Audio Commentary
– Deleted Scenes
– Music Video
– Theatrical Trailers
InterActual DVD-ROM Features: