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Uncommon Women... and Others
     

Uncommon Women... and Others

Director: Merrily Mossman, Steven Robman

Cast: Meryl Streep, Jill Eikenberry

 

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Wendy Wasserstein's two-act play Uncommon Women and Others comes to DVD in a very nice looking digital transfer of the original 1978 public television broadcast. As with many videotaped productions, the image has a softness in the wider shots, but the color content and detail are otherwise just fine; the color, in fact, is quite rich. The sound has held up

Overview

Wendy Wasserstein's two-act play Uncommon Women and Others comes to DVD in a very nice looking digital transfer of the original 1978 public television broadcast. As with many videotaped productions, the image has a softness in the wider shots, but the color content and detail are otherwise just fine; the color, in fact, is quite rich. The sound has held up extremely well, as well. The 90-minute production (plus an original introduction by Hal Holbrook, every traditional feminist's favorite leading man) has been given 17 chapter markers designating each scene, and if one skips over the five-minute introduction to the "Broadway Theatre Archive" series, the disc is easy enough to maneuver. There is also a simple two-choice, manually-accessible menu.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Written in the mid-1970's, Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women And Others now seems like almost as much of a period piece as such late 1930's works as George S. Kaufman's and Moss Hart's The Man Who Came To Dinner -- a paean to the sensibilities of and believers in what one might call first wave feminism, it's steeped in what now seems a hopelessly insular collegiate milieu, every bit as separated from the reality of most women (forget most people) as were those collegiate comedies of the 1930's. The settiong, characters, and subject were obviously elements to which Wasserstein was reacting, and which were real out of her own life, and so on that level it has the ring of truth and honesty, and it is affecting to watch on that level -- in much the same way that, say, Woody Allen's Annie Hall or Manhattan (which date from approximately the same year) is an honest reflection of the universe that Allen knew and understood at the time. It's possible to watch a young Meryl Streep, Swoosie Kurtz, and JIll Eikenberry and their characters, acting out a vision seen through Wasserstein's eyes, and be moved by it. At the same time, when one considers the sensibilities on display, it's possible to see the early sprouting of the seeds that would endanger the feminist ideals that are espoused there -- while winning over players and even many movers and shakers in the northeast intellectual world, feminism was losing (and being ignored by) even the ordinary woman on the street in the northeast, forget the rest of the country; it succeeded as an intellectual movement, but was defeated in devastating fashion as a political or popular idea; the very fact that a play of this sort is as familiar in its sensibilities, images, and characters to this New York-born and raised critic reveals the limitations of its subject. Having said that, the performances are all involving and often touching, and they show an honesty that is every bit as beguiling in the twenty-first century as they were in the 1970's; the direction keeps things moving briskly and the camera is always taking us someplace interesting dramatically.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/14/2002
UPC:
0032031262591
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kultur Video
Time:
1:30:00

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Part I: Scene I [5:38]
2. Part I: Scene II [2:08]
3. Part I: Scene III [6:43]
4. Part I: Scene IV [4:13]
5. Part I: Scene V [2:15]
6. Part I: Scene VI [4:54]
7. Part I: Scene VII [5:21]
8. Part I: Scene VIII [8:51]
9. Part II: Scene I [4:14]
10. Part II: Scene II [4:55]
11. Part II: Scene III [1:31]
12. Part II: Scene IV [5:04]
13. Part II: Scene V [4:16]
14. Part II: Scene VI [10:21]
15. Part II: Scene VII [4:25]
16. Part II: Scene VIII [9:36]
17. Credits [1:50]

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