Beloved Infidel(Twilight Time Blu-ray)
Directors - Henry King
Cast - Gregory Peck, Deborah Kerr
Country of Origin - U.S.
Discs - 1
Distributor - Twilight Time
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Film (3/5)
Beloved Infidel is an oddity of a film. The film itself is based on the memoirs of Sheilah Graham, the late in life lover of Jazz Age writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. The material screams for more textured performances, and a serious biopic style treatment of the material. Rather, for most of its running time Beloved Infidel feels more like a 50's romance film, than a serious treatment of Fitzgerald and Graham's relationship.
In that regard I spent more time thinking about what could have been with Beloved Infidel, rather than what was on screen. The film approaches the F. Scott Fitzgerald as more of famous name, than a three dimensional figure, one with a rich and deep past that is absolutely ripe for fantastic drama. During the period Beloved Infidel was set, the actual F. Scott Fitzgerald was indeed in a relationship with Graham, but was also dealing with the institutionalization of his wife Zelda Fitzgerald, and his lifelong alcoholism.
Gregory Peck is one of classic Hollywood's most famous actors, and in most films his presence would be a benefit to the finished product. However, in Beloved Infidel his Fitzgerald feels like a very surface depiction of a much storied character. The same can be said for the depiction of Sheilah Graham by Deborah Kerr. I did find the film entertaining at times, but my compromise once I caught the films wavelength was much my same approach to this year’s Edgar Allen Poe as detective flick The Raven, and that was to simply separate my viewing from the source material.
The film became more entertaining once Peck and Kerr became characters who were not based on historical literary figures, but rather the cinematic creations of the actors, screenwriter Sy Bartlett, and director Henry King (who coincidentally would follow up this film by directing an adaptation of Tender is the Night as his next film). When taken as a film in the All About Eve, A Star is Born vein Beloved Infidel turns from a mediocre drama with a basis in literary history, to something quite a bit more palpable. I don’t think anyone would mistake Beloved Infidel for one of the lost classics of 50’s dramatic cinema, but it is certainly a decent way to waste a way a few afternoon hours in the correct frame of mind.
Twilight Time has brought Beloved Infidel to Blu-ray in a decent 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the films 2:35:1 aspect ratio. The transfer has excellent color reproduction for the most part, but with some areas of softness throughout. There is a healthy level of grain permeating the transfer, detail is nice, and flesh tones are accurate. There is some minor (very minor) print and age related damage throughout the film. That being said this rarely detracts from the film as a whole.
The audio for the film has been presented in a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 track in English. The track is good for what it is; dialogue comes through crisp, clean and clear as does the films musical soundtrack. I did not detect any issues such as pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Twilight Time has provided us with liner notes on the film, a theatrical trailer, and an isolated score track for the film.
Beloved Infidel is a decent romantic drama from the 50’s especially when taken separately from it’s source. The presentation from Twilight Time looks quite nice, and sounds great. The extras are slim, but that’s to be expected. Beloved Infidel comes Recommended.