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Out of Africa [Blu-ray]
25th Anniversary Edition
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Winner of 7 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Out of Africa is a cinematic masterpiece filled with breathtaking passion and majestic imagery. Robert Redford and Meryl Streep star in the fascinating true story of a woman who travels to Kenya to be with her cold husband and falls in love with a mysterious adventurer. Directed by Sydney Pollack, this epic tale of love, loss and self-discovery amid the stunning vistas of the African continent is an unparalleled filmmaking achievement.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medPG PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 6.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 2.88 Ounces
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Multiple Formats
- Run time : 2 hours and 41 minutes
- Release date : April 27, 2010
- Actors : Meryl Streep, Redford, Robert, Kitchen, Michael, Thiaka, Joseph
- Dubbed: : French
- Subtitles: : French, Spanish
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 4.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS 5.1)
- Studio : Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B00371QQ5W
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #41,694 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Cant say enough about this film. It's a MUST SEE
Kenya ‘between the wars’ has attracted the interest of writers and readers for a long time, because of the larger-than-life presence of wealthy Danish emigré Karen Blixen, who wrote under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen, authoring “Out of Africa,” a memoir describing her life in British East Africa (now Kenya), where she owned and managed a 4,000-acre coffee plantation near Nairobi.
Her marriage failed and she met and loved charismatic pilot and big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton. Finch Hatton had another lover, the aviator/horsewoman Beryl Markham. Though Blixen and Finch Hatton were long deceased, Markham was still alive before Pollack’s film was completed. She was identified in the film as horsewoman ‘Felicity Spurway’. Markham had authored an autobiography of her life in British East Africa, “West with the Night.”
Meryl Streep gives the performance of a lifetime as Karen, who moves to pre-World War l Africa to run a farm that she owns in Kenya, which is subsequently turned into a coffee plantation by her husband. There, she encounters some difficulties, primarily with her husband. When he causes her to undergo a life changing event, for which she alone pays the price, things will never be the same. Yet, she ultimately finds the love of her life in Denys Finch-Hatton, a solitary hunter, who returns her affection. Therein lies the tale.
Really, Meryl Streep's performance is astonishing, beautifully nuanced. Her Danish accent never misses a beat. Klaus Maria Brandauer gives a wonderful performance as her husband, the Baron. Robert Redford, as Denys, is heartbreakingly handsome. His performance passes muster, but he basically plays himself, American accent and all, as in reality Denys Finch-Hatton was an English aristocrat, the second son of an earl. The rest of the cast, however, more than makes up for this lapse.
Those who enjoy autobiographical films, or simply beautiful films with some memorable performances, should enjoy this film, if only for Meryl Streep's bravura performance. Though nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, she lost to Geraldine Page. All I can say is that she was robbed!
There is a sense of real life in it. Understated and subtle is the notion that Karen and her husband Bror seem to be trying to get through the fog to find a meaningful life, of finding one’s place in the world, as if a couple of vulnerable orphans lost but spreading their wings.
In contrast, the unpredictable nature of life conflicts with the order one would like to keep, the imperfect world despite the life God intended, and Karen’s words at seeing her Kenyan coffee plantation burn down are a mention of the small details of life carrying some significance for good or for ill.
Those are the themes, the details are more down to earth. Karen married her best friend Bror (Klaus Maria Brandauer) in Kenya. But there is a strain in her marriage as Bror has infidelities coming left, right and center despite them trying to make a go of a coffee plantation in the African country.
Bror (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is preoccupied with several other ladies, while negotiating personal matters with Karen, usually unsuccessfully, but always with a compromise.
They end up divorced. Karen is already familiar with adventurer and hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford), their friendship consists of sophisticated literary interchanges and meaningful glances and poses.
Karen is literary, able to spin handsome tales to admiring male company, one being Finch Hatton.
Finch Hatton is quite an intellectual in his own right, who can often challenge Karen on the philosophy of life and how to live it, as if well-read, or well thought through.
He shows his masculine side when he tackles big game hunting in the wilds of Kenya. Blixen watches nervously on in the wilds. But her own "masculine" side is sometimes in conflict with Finch Hatton’s yet resolved with a sense of unconditional acceptance of the other. These are sophisticated people.
Romance blossoms after Karen gets her divorce.
Karen is a strong-willed, independent woman and Bror, her ex, his own man, who are often in a battle of wills. The difference with Karen and Finch Hatton is that their relationship is more natural, and they can communicate despite both having their own minds. They are like joined by the African airs and landscapes that makes something good of their first encounter.
While there’s various disagreements they can resolve their differences with communication and, of course, unconditional love, more faithful than the kind Bror supplied.
While Bror left Karen at times for affairs and flings, when Finch Hatton leaves on some job or errand, you know he is coming back. Karen and Finch Hatton go deep, but Bror and Karen just skim the surface.
Finch Hatton takes Karen Blixen on his plane–some magnificent aerial photography showcases the romance of the African landscape. By then it is more than a date, not that dates figure in this film’s world.
There is no sense that the filmmakers are endorsing the moral compromises that appear on the surface, it would not even be a consideration, or enter their mind that something immoral is happening in the story. Instead, the audience is shown the lives of people weaved together through circumstance, rather than expressing the moral dilemmas I might have with such a situation in real life.
In real life I am not even a spectator or observer on such a matter, I am just the guy who popped in and saw something, but I may guess the rest of it. In a movie, I watch the whole saga come alive before me like a believable illusion. This takes me into their lives for two hours. I should be left with an impression later, but this impression is how I felt about a movie, not real people living real lives.
The romance, and the language of the feminine, is the emotional pull of the film, which takes up quite a bit of space in the second half. The writer drops in lines that echo of deeper meaning and substance, the lines do not seem to have a connection to the whole, they linger there in casual connection.
The beauty of Meryl Streep’s performance as Karen Blixen is that she consumes her role as if disappearing in it, which many say is what Meryl Streep tends to do. Streep may be the best thing in Out of Africa but there are other reasons to admire it as a movie.
Meryl Streep had two acting Oscars already on her mantelpiece before she filmed Out of Africa. When the Oscar nominations came out in 1986, she was nominated for her role as Karen Blixen. She did not win and did not win again for another 26 years when she got another one for The Iron Lady in 2012. But some may say that the field was so good in 1986 that they all deserved the Oscar.
But when she is with Redford and he is putting on the charisma, you start to think, oh, he is a star and so is she. Redford has that effect on occasion, but mostly you would not notice.
Klaus Maria Brandauer’s performance as Bror, simmers away, polished on the surface, and gives the viewer the capacity to empathize with him, the production’s handsomeness, the literate sweep from a screenplay by Kurt Luedtke (based on the writings of Karen Blixen), the detail and well-developed characters. There are few lulls. I was taken into this movie’s cocoon. A tremendous effort, a film that’s focused and follows through on what’s been established, and a film of poetry, nuance and detail, delivered with a return on the viewer, and a film that says we always leave a mark, somehow.
Top reviews from other countries
Meryl Streep proves once again what an acting legend she is by playing Karen Blixen, a Danish "immigrant" to Eastern Africa and how she learned to fall in love with the land, the people, and of a British hunter named Denys, played by a very American Robert Redford. Their relationship is unique and genuinely romantic, certainly one of the great epic romances of all time. Their love is a play between what your heart needs and what your head tells you what you should do with your life. In the end, their love is not of this world, it is not ours. It is a lesson in learning that nothing is forever, nothing is owned by us, not even the love we create for ourselves and then discard. This earth, represented so well by Africa, owns everything we think we have, and ultimately, like Denys, we all go back to whence we come.
Out of Africa is a gorgeously filmed movie, with some of the most spectacular scenery ever recorded on film. The flying over Africa scene is romance and adventure next to none. The film score by John Barry is certainly one of the best of all time, and it perfectly captures the romantic grandeur of this woman and that man in their glorious attempt at forever possessing each other's heart, only to learn that their love is not to remain constant, just like the beauty of the African savannah is not to be consistent. A romantic, visual, musical, and historical achievement, until now poorly served by video. The DVD was lousy, and the first Blu ray, released in 2010, was so so.
So "so so", in fact, that Universal offered (in the US only, unfortunately...) disappointed buyers a free exchange for this 2012 released 100th anniversary new version, this time fully and magnificently restored - picture and sound. Not the absolute perfection of "Ben Hur", "The Ten Commandments" or "Lawrence of Arabia", but not far from it.
At long last, justice has been done to this masterpiece. Purchase STRONGLY recommended.
I'm mainly writing this review to make clear that Universal have taken the cheapskate option with this release. Unlike the US digibook, which has exactly the same cover design, the disc you'll find inside this one is the same disc as the previous release - the one with poor picture quality. It's blurry, smoothed over, lacking in detail and generally everything else that can go wrong with a HD transfer.
If you want this digibook, go for the American version (which is region free). Alternatively, go for the US 100th Anniversary release in the standard plastic case - it's cheaper and the digibook packaging doesn't offer much beyond looking nice.
In April 2012 Universal Studios was 100 years old - and to celebrate that movie-making centenary they had 13 of their most-celebrated films fully restored for BLU RAY. 1985's "Out Of Africa" is one of them and like the other titles in this series so far - the print quality of this beloved film is extraordinary and the presentation classy (a full list of titles in the 100th Anniversary BLU RAY Series is in the attached 'comment' section - including DVD releases).
Issued in the US 6 March 2012 (later given a UK release) - "Out Of Africa Collector's Series" comes in a gorgeous limited edition 44-page hardback 'Book Pack' (use Barcode 025192127793 on the Amazon search bar to get the right issue). It's a 2-disc set with the BLU RAY to the front and the Anamorphic Widescreen DVD to the rear. There's also a foldout insert included that has a code for a Digital Copy via download from Universal's website valid until 31 December 2013.
But the really great news for film fans everywhere is a stupendously good print and a REGION FREE release - so it will play on ALL BLU RAY machines and PlayStation 3 Consoles too (there was a preceding version on BLU RAY that received bad reviews re print - this version is not that one). Also note: there is a cheaper standard packaging version due 4 September 2012 in the USA with slightly altered front artwork - again it has a BLU RAY, DVD and Download - so check you're using the Barcode provided above to get the 'best' version).
Digitally remastered and Fully Restored from Original Film Elements - Universal are reputed to have stumped-up over $300,000 for the restoration - and the results have already received huge praise on web sites dedicated to the format. This overhauled 2012 "Out Of Africa" print is a full 1080p High Definition release with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. What that means is the picture fills your entire screen without stretching - and combined with the gorgeous transfer - the effect is truly cinematic. For example the movie opens with a sunrise on the African Plains - all yellows and gold and browns. With the natural heat haze the land would produce and the semi-lighting conditions - this is a very difficult moment to get right - yet it is fantastically clear and clean. But even this is aced a few moments later when a bi-plane flies over the open plains during the daytime and it's little short of gobsmacking (dialogue from it titles this review). There then follows a scene in Denmark in snowy fields at a shooting party where I swear it looks like Dr. Zhivago (it's that good). In fact it's in these outdoor scenes (of which there are many) that the beautiful 'look' of "Out Of Africa" really excels - and it does so right through to the very end when Karen (Streep) bids farewell to her trusty steward Farah (played by Michael Bowens) at the train station.
It should be stressed however that it isn't perfect at all times by any means - there is some shocking fuzziness and grain on indoor shots - sequences at night around campfires and tents with Redford. There's a scene where Michael Kitchen as the dapper Englishman Berkeley Cole is talking to Meryl Streep at dinner in her home - the camera cuts to Streep and the print is perfect - but it then flicks back to Kitchen and the shot is suddenly covered in speckles of grain. They were either filmed apart or on two cameras - but the cleaned up print has only made the discrepancy more apparent and not less so.
But for the most part this is a joy to look at and at last gives full reign to David Watkin's sumptuous cinematography and Milena Canonero's crafted outfits (aristocratic European fashions alongside the colourful garments of African tribesmen). Throw in John Barry's most magisterial score ever - and as you can imagine - the impact is properly beautiful. A good example of all three occurs when the credits role - a steam train trundles across the wide-open expanses of 1913 Kenya in East Africa as we see the Danish Baroness standing at the back of her carriage in her immaculate outfit - then John Barry's score just nails it as the title of the film goes up onscreen. It's both fabulous to look at and moving too...a rare combination indeed.
The 44-page booklet inside the hardback outer is pure eye candy as you can imagine. It opens with a 2-page appreciation by film-critic and historian Leonard Maltin, has reproductions of several script pages, US, Polish and East German advert posters, a Cast of Characters, a piece on the political makeup of Kenya at the time - the British to the North and the Germans to the South and essays on the principal leads Streep, Redford, the Composer John Barry and Director Sydney Pollock. There's interesting trivia items dotted throughout the text - for instance Redford initially played the Englishman Denys Hatton with an English accent - but Pollock felt no-one would accept Redford as a Brit so he had him re-record all of the parts in American. Or that during the tender hair-washing scene wild Hippos were in the river nearby and they kill more people than lions if they feel their territory is threatened - so Streep was more scared of them than bullwhipping lions. The quality of the colour photos is top-notch too.
Clocking in a whopping 1 hour and 12 minutes Charles Kiselayk's "A Song Of Africa" is a substantial bonus feature that has charming, insightful and witty contributions from Streep, Redford and Pollock - intermixed with archive footage of the young, older and near-death Karen Blixen. It fills out a lot of the gaps as to what happened before and after the films' parameters where she left Africa in 1931 after 17 years - 46-years old, childless, penniless, divorced and broken-hearted. She then wrote over 10 books under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen between 1935 and 1996 and suffered from Syphilis all her life. This extra is also in standard 480p definition - so when you see the washed-out widescreen stock footage - you begin to realize just how astounding the cleaned-up 1080p fullscreen print really is. The only mild irritant is the overly wordy narration where the speaker wants to prove he's Kahlil Gibran every few moments, as he waxes lyrical about the lady's journey. The 15 or so Deleted Scenes (Widescreen and in Standard Definition) come fast and furious – they’re very short and although one or two with the Farah character are interesting - you can see why most were cut...
With 18 Oscar nominations and 3 wins to her name - you can't imagine any other actress ballsy enough to take on such a difficult, willful and frustrated woman. Yet Streep chews it up. Her accented Karen Blixen is wholly believable - vulnerable, proud, literate, deep, religiously repressed yet wanting to be sensually liberated - and reaching for it with the man she grew to adore and love - the English and debonair African hunter Denys Hatton. This is a big and romantic canvas - and both principals have affection for each other and respect for their various skills - their on-screen chemistry being a lovely thing to see. The scene where Denys takes her up in the bi-plane and flies across the landscape of mountains, rivers, waterfalls, zebras, giraffes and a lake full of birds to show her the real beauty of Africa - is breathtaking and even a little spiritual. Pollock's use of the indigenous tribes is superbly done too. Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Gough, Leslie Phillips, Shane Rimmer and the sorely missed Irish actor Donal McCann as her Doctor - all wonderful. Blink and you'll miss IMAN - David Bowie's wife - nursing the Michael Kitchen character whose contracted black water fever...
To sum up - clocking in at 2 hours and 40 minutes - "Out Of Africa" may seem a tad indulgent by today's standards of chop-em-out-fast-and-leave-em-panting blockbusters - but it works precisely because its epic. It was a mammoth undertaking at the time made by maverick people (Pollock worked on the script with Kurt Luedtke for over a year - Pollock sadly passed away in 2008) and this BLU RAY reissue does it proud.
And as with the other titles in this series - it's also heartening to see Universal Studios finally throw some proper money at the preservation of their movie legacy and be proud about doing so too. I'm collecting the whole series and live in hope that other studios respect their past in the same glorious way.
BLU RAY and DVD Specifications:
1. Deleted Scenes - over 15 short segments (about 15 minutes)
2. A Song Of Africa - An Original Full-Length Documentary On The Making Of The Film and Karen Blixen's Life by Charles Kiselayk (72 minutes)
3. Theatrical Trailer
4. Feature Length Commentary With Director Sydney Pollack
5. My Scenes
6. BLU RAY Exclusive: Pocket BLU - For Tablets and Smartphones - take the content on the go
7. BLU RAY Exclusive: BD Live - Internet-Connected Feature
VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.85:1
BLU RAY AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 DTS Surround
DVD AUDIO: English Dolby Digital 4.1 and French Dolby Digital 2.0
SUBTITLES BLU RAY: English SDH (Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing), Spanish and French SUBTITLES DVD: English SDH (Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing)