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MGM Studios DVD presents
Bolero (1984)

"But in the ways of love, we're kindergarten toddlers!"
- Lida MacGillivery (Bo Derek)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 16, 2006

Stars: Bo Derek
Other Stars: George Kennedy, Andrea Occhipinti, Ana Obregon
Director: John Derek

MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, strong sexual content)
Run Time: 01h:44m:43s
Release Date: July 26, 2005
UPC: 027616925732
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D- D-BC D-

DVD Review

One only has to look at her in Tommy Boy to see that Bo Derek will always be gorgeous, regardless of her age. This beauty burst upon the scene with a slow-motion run along the beach in Blake Edwards' 10. Once famous, Bo went on to make four films with her director husband John Derek. After the debacles that Tarzan, The Ape Man and Fantasies were, expectations were extremely low for 1984's Bolero, and warranted. The film did enjoy a modest box-office draw, but this was mostly due to the controversy (and curiosity) surrounding the erotic material in the film and subsequent battle with the ratings board. The Dereks would collaborate once more (John died in 1998) for the pathetically titled 1990 film Ghosts Can't Do It, but it received a similar response from critics and moviegoers.

This is the story of Lida MacGillivery (Derek), a young prep-school graduate in the 1920s whose mission in life is to lose her virginity as soon as possible. So, Lida travels the world, meeting and sleeping with men ranging from a Spanish bullfighter to an Arabian sheik. This sexual awakening turns Lida into the woman she's always wanted to be, despite the emotional costs and physical risks.

Bolero is simply one of the worst films you'll ever sit through. There's plenty of sex and nudity involved (almost always involving Derek), but this is easily overshadowed unintentionally hilarious dialogue, and sequences that make absolutely no sense. Often, such factors can launch a bad film to cult or guilty-pleasure status, but there's really no appeal at all here.

Derek's performance is so contrived that it's hard to believe she actually did a decent job in 10. Sure, many cite Dudley Moore's performance and Edwards' direction as that film's strong points, (although Derek's body did most of the "performing"), but here she's practically unwatchable. The sex scenes are far from pornographic; they are about as steamy as the late-night fare on Cinemax. Still, John Derek was never above the shameless exploitation of any of his wives. Bo's rarely clothed here, or in any of the pictures they collaborated on, and John has no problem sitting behind the camera as numerous male actors simulate sex with her. Regardless, it didn't translate into a solid cinematic effort in the slightest.

The good news is that if you're searching for the ingredients needed to make a horrible movie, this one offers one-stop shopping. Not only is the dialogue and acting unbearable, but the story is ridiculous as well. This film solidifies the couple's place as a most inept filmmaking family.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation looks much better than expected. The exterior sequences feature colorful imagery, and internal shots (especially close-ups) are nicely detailed, down to the last bead of sweat. There's still quite a bit of grain and dirt, but to eliminate all of that for an old, bare-bones catalog title, is practically unheard of.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 track does the unfortunate disservice of providing crystal clear audio throughout the film. While this is usually a good thing, once you hear some of the inane conversations that come out of these actors' mouths, you'll wish it was muffled. The surrounds aren't used very often, and the music and other sound effects mesh with the dialogue nicely.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra is the extremely graphic theatrical trailer for Bolero.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Bolero finally takes its bow on DVD. MGM Home Video unleashes this turkey upon unsuspecting collectors in the form of a barebones release that does contain surprisingly solid audio and video presentations.


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