Artisan // 1983 // 88 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Chief Justice Sean McGinnis (Retired) // July 10th, 1999
Through her lover and inspiration he learns to give thanks for tender, if small, mercies.
Tender Mercies is another outstanding drama that receives less than outstanding treatment by its issuing studio.
Robert Duvall won a best actor award for his portrayal of Mac Sledge in this fine 1983 drama about an old time country singer who has lost his way. Mac fights several personal demons in an uphill battle throughout the duration of this film. Like real life, he finds redemption in the arms of a loving woman and the beauty of a simple home.
The audio here is fine for a 1983 stereo presentation. As you know, if you have been reading any of my reviews, I never have a problem with the studio presenting a DVD audio track in its original format. Granted, this track could have used a scrub brush and Mr. Clean, but all in all it was not that bad. However, I did notice an audio dead spot at approximately 41:46 but was unable to determine if this was due to a mastering error or a dust speck. Perhaps one of our readers can enlighten us.
The video on this DVD, while anamorphic, needed some help. Colors were often muted and general feeling of softness abounded. I noticed some grain throughout the presentation. The picture lacked some of the other problems we have seen. For instance, I saw no problems with contrast, black-level or ringing. In my opinion, this film deserved much better treatment than it received. A film of this quality deserves some serious re-mastering efforts. But, it's hard to complain to loudly since this film has never really looked better including the old HBO laserdisc version.
Much like its sister release, Frances, this disc is totally lacking in extras. No theatrical trailer. No talent bios. No featurette. And certainly no commentary. Again, this is too bad considering the quality of the underlying film. Naturally, I would prefer to have seen each of the above mentioned supplements included.
Once again, Artisan has failed to deliver the goods. A film of this quality deserved the deluxe treatment. Instead, it got similar treatment to Warner's infamous budget DVDs.
The film itself is acquitted, while Artisan is sentenced to 15 years of hard labor without the possibility of parole.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Rated PG