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Desperate, he took a female role and became a star. If only he could tell the woman he loves.
For more about Tootsie and the Tootsie Blu-ray release, see Tootsie Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 9, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Sydney Pollack
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Geena Davis
» See full cast & crew
Tootsie Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 9, 2014
Sydney Pollack's "Tootsie" (1982) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers; exclusive new video interview with Dustin Hoffman; deleted scenes; archival screen tests; two archival documentaries; audio commentary with director Sydney Pollack; and a lot more. The release also arrives with an illustrated leaflet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman, Papillon) is convinced that he is the best character actor in New York City, but his cynical agent, George Fields (Sydney Pollack), tells him that he is unemployable. Visibly irritated, he decides to prove to him, and everyone else that has rejected him during the years, that he has what it takes to be a star -- a very, very big star.
He becomes Dorothy Michaels, an old-fashioned actress with an attitude who speaks up her mind.
The ambitious actress then promptly auditions for the soap opera "Southwest General" and quickly becomes its star. She also routinely confronts its pretentious director, Ron (Dabney Coleman, WarGames), who calls her Tootsie and begins cheating on his girlfriend, Julie (Jessica Lange, The Postman Always Rings Twice), with whom the male part of Tootsie has fallen in love with.
Tootsie's newly acquired fame seriously complicates her personal life -- the one in which she is still a he and in a relationship with Sandy (Teri Garr, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), a beautiful but insecure actress from California who has been having a terrible time adapting to life in New York City. Tootsie's busy schedule also introduces some unexpected changes to the daily routine of her free-spirited roommate (Bill Murray, Groundhog Day).
Hoffman initially approached Hal Ashby to direct Tootsie and the two even did a series of tests before Pollack was brought on board. It is difficult to tell what Tootsie would have looked like with Ashby behind the camera, but as Hoffman notes in an interview included on this release almost certainly the film would have been significantly bolder.
While the chemistry between Hoffman and Lange is excellent and Pollack is simply terrific as the cynical agent, the film unquestionably looks and feels dated. One could argue that it does because the homosexuality and gender equality issues it tackles are now approached by the masses with an entirely different mindset, but the truth is that its script has a number of rough spots and it definitely shows. Indeed, most of the gender jokes are quite banal while the serious observations about the two sexes and their insecurities are so oversanitized that they frequently feel forced. (Compare Tootsie to Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot or even Frank Capra's It Happened One Night and see how notably sharper and better balanced these films are despite the fact that they are actually older).
Polack shot Tootsie with multiple Oscar-nominated cinematographer Owen Roizman (William Friedkin's The French Connection and The Exorcist). The shooting process was quite complicated as Pollack and Hoffman had various creative disagreements and were frequently engaged in intense debates.
The soundtrack was created by acclaimed pianist, arranger and composer Dave Grusin, who also scored Pollack's classic 3 Days of the Condor, Absence of Malice, Havana, and The Firm, amongst others.
In 1998, the United States Library of Congress determined that Tootsie is "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Tootsie Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Sydney Pollack's Tootsie arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the leaflet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"This new digital transfer was created in 4K resolution on an Oxberry wet-gate film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative. The digital restoration was performed by the Prasad Group in Chennai, India. The original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm magnetic dialogue, music, and effects track.
Transfer supervisor: Grover Crisp/Sony Pictures Entertainment, Culver City, CA.
4K scanning: Cineric, New York.
Colorist: Scott Ostrowski/Sony Colorworks, Culver City.
Image restoration: The Prasad Group, Chennai, India."
Recently restored in 4K, the film looks magnificent on Blu-ray. Regardless of whether there is an abundance of natural light or not image depth is consistently very pleasing, while fluidity is outstanding. Additionally, extreme close-ups (see screencapture #11) and the wider panoramic shots (see screencapture #6) impress with excellent clarity. Colors are stable, well saturated, and very healthy. There are no traces of problematic degraining corrections. Compromising sharpening adjustments have not been applied either. Needless to say, the entire film has a wonderful organic appearance. Lastly, there are no stability or transition issues. The encoding is excellent. All in all, this is an outstanding technical presentation of Tootsie that is guaranteed to please its fans as well as younger viewers who are going to experience the film for the very first time on Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Tootsie Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: 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.
It is very easy to tell that the audio has been restored because balance is excellent and dynamic movement very natural. To be perfectly clear, there are areas of the film where Dave Grusin's soundtrack effectively adds an extra dose of flavor, but the crescendi and decrescendi always begin and end naturally (there are no sudden spikes or drops in dynamic activity). The dialog is crisp, stable, and very easy to follow. There are no pops, cracks, background hiss, audio dropouts, or distortions to report in this review.
Tootsie Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Tootsie Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Tootsie is an enjoyable but uneven film whose rough spots are now quite easy to see. There are areas of it where the humor, the romance and the serious are awkwardly mixed and demand a certain amount of suspension of belief in order to enjoy its story. This isn't terribly difficult to do, but it is what makes the film look dated. Tootsie has been recently restored in 4K and looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray. Criterion's release also comes with some great archival and exclusive new supplemental features. RECOMMENDED.
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