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Paramount Home Video presents
Someone to Love (1987)

"But I think happiness is not our right...I think it's an achievement."
- Danny's Friend (Orson Welles)

Review By: Jeff Wilson   
Published: December 06, 2006

Stars: Orson Welles, Sally Kellerman, Andrea Marcovicci, Michael Emil, Oja Kodar, Henry Jaglom
Director: Henry Jaglom

MPAA Rating: R for language, adult themes
Run Time: 01h:48m:47s
Release Date: December 05, 2006
UPC: 097361267340
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C-B+B C

DVD Review

Henry Jaglom has been directing his small-scale independent films for something over 30 years now, though he has never achieved any kind of real mainstream success. He makes his films on his own, outside the studio system, allowing him full artistic control—a lesson learned from one of his close friends, Orson Welles. One of his more high profile projects was the 1987 feature Someone to Love, which featured Welles' final onscreen performance before his death in 1985. Jaglom often uses his friends and family in his films, and this is no different, a quasi-autobiographical analysis of love and loneliness.

Jaglom plays Danny Sapir, a film director not surprisingly like Jaglom himself. He's currently in a relationship with Helen (Andrea Marcovicci), a cabaret singer. Helen, having come out of a previous relationship, is reluctant to fully commit to Danny, refusing to let him spend the night at her place. Danny then discovers that his brother, who deals in real estate, has acquired and set up a sale for an old theater, which Danny decides to use as the setting for a Valentine's Day party that doubles as an opportunity for the gathered single guests to discuss their feelings about being alone on camera while Danny films the event. Over the course of the affair, the audience is offered a variety of views of love, loneliness, and women's lib. Welles turns up as another, unnamed film director who ties things up with some pithy comments at the end.

Depending on your tolerance for this kind of thing, you'll likely either find yourself entranced by this, or you'll run screaming from it and never look back. That it's self-obsessed is pretty much beyond question; having a bunch of show-biz types blab endlessly about their relationship problems defines navel-gazing, and it's often insufferable. Jaglom states in the commentary that about half the film is scripted and half improvised, so it's impressive that these people would make some of the comments they do, but then they probably love the attention. In the end, nothing is solved and nothing is really achieved; no one appears any closer to understanding anything they didn't already understand when the film began. So what's the point? Beats me.

Welles fans will want to see the film for his segments, which are interspersed throughout the proceedings like a Greek chorus. Welles' comments range across a variety of topics, leading to a discussion of women's liberation once he shows up for the remainder of the film—a tangent I missed the rationale for beyond some fuzzy connection between baby boomers, women's lib, and the problem of loneliness as experienced by a handful of Hollywood types. The performances all come off well, but considering most of the characters are apparently playing themselves, how much of it is really acting?

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Presented in an anamorphic print, the film looks a tad grainy, but otherwise clean and colorful.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 2.0 mono track presents the multitude of talk well, with everything clear and comprehensible, though the cobbled together nature of the soundtrack (like the visuals) is pretty evident.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Henry Jaglom and actress Andrea Marcovicci
Packaging: unknown keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Jaglom and Marcovicci contribute a commentary track that finds the pair in good humor and reminiscing about the film, though you shouldn't expect any deep analysis of the topics discussed.

Subtitles for both the feature and the commentary are present in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

The type of film that will make many start running and never look back, Someone to Love gets a solid DVD release from Paramount. Its baby boomer navel-gazing will likely be of no interest to anyone outside that demographic, but Orson Welles fans may want to take a look at his final film appearance.

 


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