A Tale of Sad Beautiful People: Bobby Deerfield (1977)

October 27, 2016 | By

A critical dud when released in North America, Bobby Deerfield (1977), Sidney Pollack’s film version of Eric Maria Remarque’s novel Heaven Has No Favorites, gets a second chance on Blu via Twilight Time in a special edition that rights a serious wrong committed by label Sony: restoring Pollack’s commentary track that was recorded for the 2008 DVD release but restricted to European and Australian markets.



A rare co-production between Columbia and Warner Bros., Bobby Deerfield is not a racing film – something genre fans undoubtedly took personally at the box office.


Sony when through a very dumb phase around that time, and it’s strange to note two of Deerfield’s participants were affected by some of the label’s silliest maneuvers: Pollack’s slow-burning Castle Keep (1969), also shot by Deerfield’s Henri Decae, was released fullscreen on DVD in a widescreen-packaged edition that took way too long to replace; and Al Pacino’s And Justice for All (1979) was initially available in a ‘flipper’ disc that offered full- and widescreen versions on separate sides, but was reissued fullscreen.

There’s nothing controversial in Pollack’s commentary, but it seems Sony felt the film’s lackluster domestic box office mandated some kind of tie-in to a potentially hipper production, hence appropriating commentary space to a ‘sneak peek’ on the DVD at an upcoming Pacino flick, 88 Minutes (2007), which did feature an interesting Pacino performance in a story that unfortunately loses its mind at a specific juncture, and tosses away audience sympathy.

TT’s disc sports the Pollack track (which is surprisingly consistent, given the director wasn’t one of the liveliest conversationalists), an isolated score track (the music has thus far never materialized on CD), and a stunning transfer that transcends the film’s melodramatic trappings.

I may have a review of KINO’s Blu-ray edition of one of my favourite films, Jean Negulesco’s Boy on a Dolphin (1958), shortly. The good: the film’s in stereo, not mono. The bad: KINO’s release is wholly perfunctory, lacking extras that the film deserves. Yes, there will be some bitching in the review.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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