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Two nurses with contrasting backgrounds become friends and move into an apartment together. A third woman, a mural artist, also inhabits the building.
For more about 3 Women and the 3 Women Blu-ray release, see 3 Women Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on September 16, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier, Ruth Nelson, John Cromwell
Director: Robert Altman
» See full cast & crew
3 Women Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 16, 2011
Winner of Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Robert Altman's "3 Women" (1977) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include theatrical trailers; TV Spots; stills gallery; and an audio commentary by director Robert Altman. The disc also arrives with a leaflet featuring David Sterritt's essay "Dream Project". In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Robert Altman's 3 Women is loosely divided into three parts, the third being the shortest but most intriguing one. As the title suggests, the film is about three women, but the majority of the time the camera follows only two of them.
In the first part, Pinky Rose (Sissy Spacek, Carrie, Get Low) meets Millie Lammoreaux (Shelley Duvall, The Shining, Time Bandits). Pinky is a naïve girl from Texas, who has recently moved to a small town somewhere in the California desert. She quickly gets a job in a senior care center where she is introduced to Millie, a tall and ambitious therapist who is particularly good at answering questions. Millie is also an import from Texas.
Millie is asked by her supervisor to show Pinky around. By the end of the tour, Pinky already dreams about being like Millie - elegant, authoritative and respected. A day later, she is convinced that Millie is the best person she could have met in California. And when Millie suddenly asks her if she might be interested in sharing an apartment with her, Pinky nearly passes out.
In the second part, Millie introduces Pinky to her friends – the young men hanging around the pool in front of her building and a group of older men in a bar on the outskirts of the town who like getting drunk and shooting things. Millie also quickly introduces Pinky to the building's owner (Robert Fortier, Incubus), as well as his pregnant and unusually quiet wife, Willie (Janice Rule, Invitation to a Gunfighter, Gumshoe), who likes to paint. Not long after the two women become roommates, Millie invites Willie's husband to spend the night with her - and thus immediately breaks Pinky's heart.
In the third part Millie, Pinky and Willie undergo serious character transformations. Each woman also discovers something important about the other two that ultimately changes the way the three see the world they share.
3 Women is a fascinating film about reality, dreams and identities. As unique as the main characters are, they are simply small pieces in a big puzzle that remains unfinished after the end credits roll - which is precisely what makes the film so intriguing, as plenty is left to the viewer's imagination.
The film, which director Altman once admitted came to him in a dream, is fluid but unusually intense, beautiful but ambiguous, inconclusive but thought-provoking. Its goal isn't to shock the audience with an original twist that logically links its scattered pieces, but entice it with its strange story and provoke a reaction.
Some of the most beautiful dreams I've had during the years are the ones that I could not deconstruct. I would remember them but not how they started and why they ended. I would only recall some of the unique sensations they brought, and for a short period of time abandoning my identity and becoming someone else. I believe that 3 Women can be described best as that kind of a beautiful and intense dream in which for a short period of time identities shift and a new world emerges.
The acting is superb. Duvall is stunning as the naïve Millie, who lives in her own universe, where everyone supposedly gravitates around her. Spacek's dramatic transformations are incredibly effective, especially the final one. Rule is also excellent as the mysterious Willie.
Note: In 1977, 3 Women won Best Actress (Shelley Duvall) Award at the Cannes Film Festival. A year later, the film also won BAFTA Award for Best Actress.
3 Women Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.36:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Robert Altman's 3 Women arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears on the leaflet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from a 35mm interpositive. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Telecine colorist: Andrew Drapkin/HTV, Hollywood."
Generally speaking, detail is very good. I was particularly impressed with the desert footage, the majority of which looks quite shaky on Criterion's SDVD release of 3 Women. Contrast and clarity levels have also been stabilized. However, mild noise has a tendency to creep in not only when light is restricted, but also during selected daylight scenes (see screencapture #5). This is not to say that it affects dramatically the integrity of the presentation, but occasionally its presence is easily felt. Edge-enhancement is not an issue of concern, but traces of mild sharpening can be spotted here and there. Additionally, a layer of light grain is present throughout the entire film, but the mild noise mentioned above is often mixed with it. There are absolutely no stability issues to report in this review. I also did not see any large damage marks, cuts, warps, or stains. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
3 Women Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The following text appears on the leaflet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-but from the original 35mm magnetic track. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated workstation."
As far as I am concerned, the English LPCM 1.0 track is perfect. The numerous bassoon and clarinet solos, for instance, are well rounded and rich, never even remotely distorted, while the gunshots in the desert sound remarkably crisp. There are no balance issues. The dialog is also stable, clean, and exceptionally easy to follow. For the record, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or excessive hiss to report in this review.
3 Women Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
3 Women Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Robert Altman's 3 Women was released in 1977, the same year Star Wars arrived and irreversibly changed the American film industry. The success of the latter ended what was one of the most exciting periods for American cinema as projects like 3 Women, an inspired experimental film, would be essentially replaced by lavish blockbusters. Both films have now arrived on Blu-ray, but I believe that only one remains as mysterious and thought-provoking as it was some thirty-two years ago. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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3 Women Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Criterion's September Line-Up: Altman, Chabrol, Hallström, Assaya... - June 15, 2011
The Criterion Collection has unveiled their Blu-ray line-up for September 2011. Announced titles include Robert Altman's 3 Women, Olivier Assayas'Carlos, Lasse Hallstrom's My Life as a Dog, Claude Chabrol's Les Cousins and Le Beau Serge and the 1920 silent classic ...
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