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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Indiscreet (1958)

Alfred: You're just against marriage for yourself!Philip: Oh, indeed I am. But whether you believe it or not, I love Anne as I've never loved before. But I wouldn't marry any woman if you held a gun to my head.Alfred: I haven't got any gun. Anyway, I don't think it's a brother-in-law's place. Has to be a blood relative.
- Cecil Parker, Cary Grant

Review By: debi lee mandel   
Published: February 06, 2002

Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman
Other Stars: Cecil Parker, Phyllis Calvert
Director: Stanley Donen

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:39m:44s
Release Date: September 18, 2001
UPC: 017153120479
Genre: romantic comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C+B-B- D-

DVD Review

I'm certain audiences in 1958 rejoiced at the reunion of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman for Stanley Donen's drawing room comedy, Indiscreet, coming twelve years after Hitchcock's simmering thriller, Notorious. As two of Hollywood's most romantic leads, one cannot but wish there had been more on-screen liaisons between them. But just in time (Bergman was 43; Grant, 54), Donen casts them as lovers whom, for very different reasons, have yet to marry. In 1958, it was not too late; viewing now, over 40 years later, I'm afraid it just might be. Not at all their ages, mind you; it is a delight to watch a passionate relationship grow between two experienced adults, especially one that defied the sensibilities of the American 1950s. Rather, the awkwardness comes in the form of the all-too-"Hollywood-ness" of the story and its setting, devised in the twilight of the great "studio era." The lives of the elegant and affluent were no longer the draw they once were, and as much as audiences may still enjoy the witty repartée, the clever twists and turns of the last act, it is difficult not to step out of the story as it moves along and question the extravagance of these people.Philip Adams (Grant), an American diplomat, is introduced to Anne Kalman (Bergman), an acclaimed star of the London theater. Although he claims to be married with no hope of ever being granted a divorce, the two fall in love and begin a passionate and dreamily romantic affair (easy, when money appears to be no object). Philip takes the apartment downstairs in Anne's fashionable building, and while the affair progresses and their emotions deepen, they find various ways to manipulate the situation, discreetly, to protect her reputation. Meanwhile, Anne's sister Margaret (Calvert), married to a British diplomat (just exactly what is it that diplomats do when they are not dressing their wives in gowns, dining and dancing in fabulous establishments and drinking scotch together at "The Club"...?), discreetly peeks at Philip's file, and discovers he is, in fact, a bachelor. It turns out that her husband, Alfred (Parker), has known this all along. Now, Anne is the only one who doesn't know….Alfred: You've got it all wrong. You're the exception, you know. Most people do get married.Philip: I don't resent that—Alfred: That's very tolerant of you.While the two lovers skirt the fine edges of discretion, the director plays it for all its worth, which was a lot at that time: this was, after all, adultery, or seemingly so. The bottom line is that Anne and Philip are not married, so while their intimacy could not be shown, it must be communicated for the story to succeed. Donen is quite creative in walking the line, and the indiscretion alluded to in the title infuses the filming as well. The most enjoyment I derived was in noting the various ways the director conveys the suggestion of their sexual liaisons that would have been deemed too controversial to the average moviegoer back then. However, without the presence of these two screen legends, it would be difficult to get to the final act, where something, finally, happens.Alfred: What was that?Phyllis: Perfume bottle through the mirror.Cary Grant is perhaps as unique a Hollywood phenomenon as Marilyn Monroe is. No one else was so handsome, debonair... and intrinsically comedic. I used to cut his pictures out of magazines and keep them right beside The Beatles—even though he was as old, by then, as my own grandfather was. A 40-year-old Mae West gave this dashing young man his break as her leading man in She Done Him Wrong, followed by I'm No Angel in the same year. Even Tony Curtis puts on Cary Grant for his character's idea of the suave millionaire in Some Like it Hot. This would be Grant's second of four films with director Donen, and surely not their best effort together (that honor would go to 1963's Charade). Cary was always Cary as Marilyn was always Marilyn: not acting's apex, but always appealing. It's a little sad to see Ingrid Bergman as a desperate, unmarried woman teetering past her prime. Here, we already see the radiant face of Casablanca's Ilsa Lund begin to dim in its descent toward her final (and Emmy®-winning) performance, A Woman Called Golda.The best performance here is by Cecil Parker as the beleaguered Alfred, who delivers the comedy to this romantic farce. Truly, there is not much to commend this movie to a new generation of viewers; it does not well stand the test of time.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in nonanamorphic 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the image is flawed with frequent white speckling on certain reels. Colors are generally good, but fleshtones are a little too pink in some scenes. While not as crisp as it could be, details are generally there, just not striking.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: In the 2.0 monaural track, dialogue is always clear, but the music displays its age, sounding tinny and somewhat flat. Nothing special, but serviceable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: A scant 14 chapter stops in an uninspired menu.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Two of Hollywood's favorite leads cannot carry this film into the 21st century, its story just has no relevance for today's audience. A half-hearted transfer is as much as proof that the studio recognizes this fact. A rental, perhaps, for fans of Grant or Bergman, but if want to see them together in their prime, grab Notorious.


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