Warner Bros. // 1979 // 122 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // January 31st, 2011
The funniest, sexiest, mid-life crisis in movie history.
10 is a pretty solid comedy of manners and mid-life crises which was made back in 1979. It holds up several decades later, and that largely has to do with the comic timing married with desperation that comes from its big star Dudley Moore (Arthur). The late actor makes his character likable, which is not always easy to do given his cad behavior. The film finally hits Blu-ray, and now we can all enjoy seeing Bo Derek (Bolero) running down a beach in slow motion in ultra high definition. Did I mention this is the movie that introduced her to the world? Witness the birth of a comedy legend and a sex symbol all in one flick.
George (Moore) has everything. He's rich, he enjoys a flourishing song writing career, and he is seriously dating a singer of immense talent (Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music). So why does he feel so empty at 42? One fateful day he sees a young bride (Derek) staring blankly out of her limousine, and he is smitten. He becomes so obsessed with this vision of youth and sex that he follows her down to Mexico where she is honeymooning with her groom (Sam Jones, Flash Gordon). Fantasy collides with reality, and soon George comes face to face with his "10," and he realizes what his life is really about.
10 is one of those films where everything seems just right. The cast is pitch perfect, and they are all in roles that play to their strengths. Moore is charming and funny, Andrews is smart and beautiful, and Bo Derek is eye candy who ruins dreams the minute she opens her mouth. That is the whole moral of the story by the way, that the fantasy girl is not always the best in reality. Watch out because she may be a pot smoking hippie with no moral compass or depth. But dang if she didn't look great! Director and writer Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) works from autobiographical inspiration up to and including his marriage to Julie Andrews who seems to relish the chance to talk about how silly a mid-life crisis is for a man. The script is genuinely felt with just the right mix of comedy and truth to make it all feel well formed. Surprisingly the design is also so well done that even though the film came from the late '70s, it still looks handsomely produced in retrospect and not hopelessly dated. 10 is quite simply a good film even if it does feel a little long in its two hour running time. It's a character driven comedy about sex and values, not something we see a lot of these days.
Unfortunately for the film and its fans, little has been done to make 10 get a perfect score in the technical department. Warner Bros. gives us a decidedly flat and drained looking transfer that betrays what could be done with the Blu-ray format. Things are a bit murky, and there is plenty of grain to reveal the age of the print. Colors seem stable enough, but they never come alive even during the crucial scenes in Mexico where the image should be candy coated and captivating. It looks like an old transfer that didn't get much love. Audio is also simply the flat mono that is technically accurate but an insult to home theaters everywhere. It's thin and not very dynamic. Extras include only a brief five minute vintage behind the scenes feature and the original trailer. There's nothing here new, exciting, or even mildly worth stepping up to this new high definition version.
10 brought everything audiences wanted in a sophisticated and modern sex comedy, and it did so without any pretense or fanfare. You have to marvel at how well Dudley Moore made yearning after an unattainable woman a charming experience. The film works today for the same reason it did back in 1979, it is a comedy that comes out of believable human emotions. It's funny, sexy, and it works every time you watch it. So more is the pity that on Blu-ray we are given a lackluster transfer with a mono audio track to match. There are no new extras, no looks back at the legacy of the film, no interviews with anybody who worked on it, just nothing. It seems a shame when you consider that both Dudley Moore and Blake Edwards have passed on, and they deserve a tribute of some sort. This would seem the logical place, their most successful film that turned Moore in to a star and gave Edwards something to do outside of his Pink Panther ventures. It is also the film that reinvented Julie Andrews as well as birthed Bo Derek as an '80s sex symbol. It was a comedy smart enough to downplay the homosexual best friend of the leading man, and also make light of impotence well ahead of schedule. It deserves better than this.
Guilty of treating 10 as if it were five.
Review content copyright © 2011 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 122 Minutes
Release Year: 1979
MPAA Rating: Rated R