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Blu-ray & DVD Review

DVD cover

That Cold Day in the Park (1969)
(Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)


Starring: Sandy Dennis
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £19.99 (Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 20 June 2016

Frances Austen is wealthy but lonely. From her window she can see a boy, sitting on a bench, through all types of inclement weather. Taking pity on him she invites him into her home, an act which leads to potential tragedy...

That Cold Day in the Park (1969. 1 hr, 46 min, 48 sec) is a drama directed by Robert Altman, representing the last film he made before his success the following year with M.A.S.H. (1970), prior to which he was predominantly known as a television director.

It’s difficult to describe the film without seeing it as it is made up of an improbable series of events between the sexually repressed and obsessed, Frances Austin (Sandy Dennis) and an apparently nameless vagabond (Michael Burns) boy. The two start to get to know each other although it would appear that the boy cannot speak, that is until he leaves to meet with his sister and her boyfriend.

With their collective disregard for the sanctity of Frances’s apartment you’re sort of expecting a Manson Family tragedy, as the boy’s sister takes a bath there even though she may be caught she certainly feels as if she were in control. Dennis does a great job portraying Frances as obsessive but essentially timid, who has victim written all over her, which makes the ending unexpected and a little out of tune with the film as a whole.

Although the film is released as a Blu-ray/DVD duel format, only the DVD version was supplied, which contained a single extra, a 2016 interview with critic and filmmaker, David Thompson (28 min, 14 sec) who is an expert on Altman, an interesting piece and well worth watching. The film can be played with or without English subtitles.


Charles Packer

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Blu-ray & DVD