Release Date(s)1973 (July 17, 2018)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C+
Adapted from the novel by Darryl Ponicsan, Cinderella Liberty is the story of a Navy sailor, John Baggs, Jr. (James Caan), who is given an extended liberty card because his service records are lost. By chance, he goes to a bar where he meets and eventually falls in love with alcoholic, prostitute, and hustler Maggie (Marsha Mason). After spending an evening together, John unceremoniously meets her vulgar, disrespectful son Doug (Kirk Calloway). He then decides to spend his liberty building a relationship and a life with Maggie and learning to be a father to Doug. Not long after, problems begin to arise, causing a strain on the relationship.
Cinderella Liberty is a touching and moving story because of its stark realism. The happenings in the life of Maggie and John are both terribly harsh and grim, which really strikes a chord. Producer/director Mark Rydell does a fabulous job, maintaining a level of negativity, hopelessness, and desperation throughout that never lets up. The performances, as one would expect from actors like James Caan and Marsha Mason, are simply excellent. Kirk Calloway is also superb as the young and defiant Doug. The supporting cast, including Burt Young and Eli Wallach, also hand in solid performances. And one must not overlook Vilmos Zsigmond’s beautiful cinematography.
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox, Cinderella Liberty debuts on Blu-ray from Twilight Time. While not appearing overwhelmingly dynamic, it’s still a visual delight. Colors are rich, but not overly polished, while outdoor scenery boasts some gorgeous detail. In a few areas during the presentation, yellow seems to be a little dominate. Skin tones look accurate outside of these scenes, but it appears to be the way the film was meant to look. Black levels look balanced overall during nighttime scenes and characters don’t look waxy as no DNR appears to have been applied. Audio options include English 2.0 and 1.0 DTS-HD tracks with optional subtitles in English SDH. The stereo track is the better of the two, providing a louder, crisper presentation with richer dialogue and other sound effects. However, there are no undesirable issues detectable with either option.
For the supplementary materials, this release includes an isolated score track, an audio commentary with director Mark Rydell (which is excellent as Rydell talks about the actors and some behind the scenes stories), an On Location with Mark Rydell featurette, the original theatrical trailer, a TV spot, a scroll-through of the current Twilight Time catalogue, and an 8-page insert booklet with liner notes by Julie Kirgo. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray of Cinderella Story, much to the delight of its fans, is well worth the price. Fans of James Caan who are used to seeing him as a heavy in films like The Godfather and Thief should get a kick out of seeing his versatility in a different type of role. Now in high definition, the film looks better than it ever has before. Recommended.
- David Steigman