follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Loving (1969)

Selma: Look, I know you're worried about that truck account. Well so am I.
Brooks: You're worried? Who the hell in their right mind wants to spend the rest of their life drawing trucks? I'm sick of Lepridon! I don't even want the damn account! Now will you get off my back!

- Eva Marie Saint, George Segal

Review By: David Krauss   
Published: October 03, 2003

Stars: George Segal, Eva Marie Saint, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Nancie Phillips, Janis Young
Other Stars: David Doyle, Roy Scheider, Sherry Lansing
Director: Irvin Kershner

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: R for (sexual situations)
Run Time: 01h:28m:54s
Release Date: July 29, 2003
UPC: 043396100824
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

I just finished watching Loving, and I'm still waiting for it to really start. Irvin Kershner's drab, ponderous portrait of a marriage in crisis seems more like a prologue than a complete story, and abruptly ends right at the moment it starts to get good—smack-dab in the middle of a dramatic confrontation between Brooks Wilson (George Segal) and his disillusioned wife Selma (Eva Marie Saint). Yet instead of allowing the characters to finally hash out their differences on screen, the closing credits swiftly roll, stranding the film in a state of limbo the size of Texas.

Don't get me wrong—I'm usually a fan of ambiguous endings. But the finish of Loving is so wide open it could easily accommodate several of the same Mack trucks Brooks must illustrate as part of his unfulfilling job as a Madison Avenue advertising artist. Angst-ridden and self-pitying, Brooks would like nothing better than to chuck the New York rat race and paint female nudes—an avocation that would conveniently fuel his flirtatious nature and penchant for extra-marital sex. Unfortunately, he's saddled with an ignorant suburban wife who bides her time caring for their two daughters while patiently waiting for Brooks to land a lucrative assignment that will bankroll her upwardly mobile dreams. Selma attributes her husband's indifference and alcoholic binges to overwork, never dreaming he's juggling a demanding mistress (Janis Young) and trading sexually charged innuendoes with one of her best friends (Nancie Phillips).

It may sound like there's a lot going on here, but there isn't. Loving plods along from scene to scene without getting anywhere, and the deliberate underplaying slows its already lethargic pace. The audience keeps waiting for something—anything—to happen, and when it finally does, the credits intrude so quickly it's almost as if the studio pulled the production's financial plug. Incisive character studies can be fascinating, but screenwriter Don Devlin gives us little to probe. His script aspires to emulate Harold Pinter's sparse style, but lacks the emotional underpinnings necessary for that type of dialogue to succeed.

Segal and Saint try their best and both file natural, believable portrayals. Segal especially embodies Brooks' Peter Pan qualities, and even though we despise his character, it's easy to appreciate Segal's work. Saint improves almost every film in which she appears, and though her role deserves more development, she maximizes her moments on screen. The most fun Loving offers, however, is spotting a couple of newcomers at the very start of their notable careers. Roy Scheider impresses as Brooks' high-powered colleague, but it's future studio mogul Sherry Lansing who steals the spotlight, making her debut at the same studio she would virtually run seven years later. As a statuesque socialite, Lansing appears in the first of only two films she would make as an actress. (By 1977, she would be Vice President in Charge of Production at Columbia.)

Very much a product of its time, Loving strictly adheres to late-'60s ideology, with its introspective, self-indulgent tone, scarcity of plot, and focus on the newfound social freedoms of the WASP-ish upper middle class. Today's audiences, however, may lack the patience to deal with the main character's infantile reactions to his problems. Brooks detests his placid suburban life, and seeks the quick, easy fixes alcohol and sex provide. But his guiltless indulgences nix any chance for audience sympathy; nor can we hang our hearts on any of the other sketchily drawn roles.

As a result, there's not much to love about Loving. Despite some heated exchanges, the film remains as cold as the characters it depicts.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Despite the bleak winter settings (appropriately mirroring the characters' hopeless existence), the anamorphic widescreen presentation possesses good clarity and color saturation, fine shadow detail and decent black levels. Close-ups are especially crisp and vivid, although plenty of age-related marks and debris dot many scenes. A faint hint of grain adds depth to the image and a nostalgic glow to the film.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: No complaints regarding the original mono track, which maintains strong, stable levels throughout. Dialogue is always clearly understood and Bernardo Segall's simple score lends the drama some much-needed atmosphere.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring For Pete's Sake, Fun With Dick and Jane, Husbands and Wives
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: A commentary track featuring Segal and Saint would surely offer more entertainment value than the film itself, but is sadly not included. All we get instead are chapter stops and a few trailers.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

While the DVD packaging labels Loving a "devastating drama," other critics have called the film an astute social comedy. To me, this dated trifle is little more than a meandering, misguided mess. Even a decent transfer and solid performances can't salvage it.


Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store