• Jeremy (Fun City Editions) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Fun City Editions
    Released on: April 20th, 2021.
    Director: Arthur Barron
    Cast: Robby Benson, Glynnis O'Connor, Leonardo Cimino
    Year: 1973
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    Jeremy – Movie Review:

    Jeremy is, quite simply, a very nice movie about two very nice teenagers who meet and quickly fall in love. It stars Robby Benson as the titular Jeremy Jones, a shy and fairly awkward kid who lives in New York City and is really into play his cello. He’s also into horses and basketball. He’s a pretty normal, well-adjusted guy, though definitely more than a little on the awkward side, particularly when he’s around members of the opposite sex.

    His life changes when he meets Susan Rollins (Glynnis O’Connor) when she is practicing ballet. She is the new student who has just enrolled at Jeremy’s school. Despite the fact that he is quite shy, Jeremy quickly falls head over heels in love with her, and after a little bit of time, she reciprocates his affections. Their romance is charming – they clearly don’t always know what to do with one another – but genuine. She becomes his world and he hers. And then Susan gets word that her family is moving to Detroit…

    Written and directed by the late Arthur Barron, who had done a lot more documentary and TV work than he had feature film directing, and shot by DP Paul Goldsmith on handheld 16mm cameras, Jeremy is a touching film. It feels honest and earnest without ever coming across as corny, which so many romance films often do. The characters feel realistic and are frequently as relatable as they are likeable. The script gives the two leads an impressive amount of depth and both Benson and O’Connor do an excellent job bringing their respective characters to life on the screen. They have an impressive amount of chemistry together in this picture and were evidently pretty close around the time that they made the film.

    The film has a warmth to it and is occasionally quite funny, and the visuals are also strong. The film does take advantage of Barron’s background in documentary film, often times looking like one itself, particularly when it goes outside and explores the Manhattan of the early seventies. The New York City locations play a big part in making the movie as visually interesting as it is, and gives the film some authenticity and also serves to turn it into a bit of a time capsule of sorts in that regard.

    Jeremy – Blu-ray Review:

    Jeremy arrives on region Blu-ray from Fun City Editions in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.66.1 on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up 26.86GBs of space. Taken from a ‘new 2K restoration from its 35mm color reversal internegative,’ the film looks quite good, though keep in mind it was shot with handheld 16mm cameras. As such, the picture is naturally grainy and the sometimes rather hectic camerawork can give it a rough and tumble sort of documentary feel. At the same time, some scenes that are more carefully composed look quite polished and very accomplished. The transfer is always nice and filmic, expect that aforementioned grain throughout but any print damage that shows up is really just minor, white specks and the like. Colors are reproduced quite nicely and black levels are solid. There’s no evidence of any digital noise reduction or edge enhancement and the high bit rate keeps compression artifacts away. All in all, the movie looks really good here.

    The only audio option for the feature is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, in the film’s native English. Optional subtitles are offered up in English only. No issues to note here, the audio is clean, clear and nicely balanced with the film’s fantastic score having some appreciable depth to it.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary by film writers Kat Ellinger and the late, great Mike McPadden, co-hosts of the podcast Busted Guts. They start off by talking about how the film mixes comedic elements with heartfelt drama, intricacies of the Jeremy character, Robby Benson's work in the seventies, the musical elements of the movie, the different New York City locations that are used in the picture (hooray for Coney Island!), how the cinematography often reflects Jeremy's POV, the way that his parents are portrayed in the film, Glynnis O’Connor's work in the picture, background details on the key cast and crew members, the film's reflection of the New York City experience, how the picture works almost as a snapshot or memory, the marketing for the film and plenty more. It's a nice, detailed track packed with information and interesting observations. R.I.P. McBeardo!

    As far as featurettes go, Susan And Jeremy: A Conversation With Robby Benson And Glynnis O’Connor is a new video interview that runs for twenty-one-minutes. Benson talks about starting in Broadway shows when he was twelve and moving on to do feature film work shortly after. They both talk about how they got the roles in the film, O’Connor talking about the influence of seeing Susan Tyrell on screen, working with director Arthur Barron and cinematographer Paul Goldsmith, how and why certain key scenes were shot the way they were, why O’Connor didn't wear a bra in the film, details of the characters that they played, how cold it was on set during certain scenes, the choreography of the love scene in the film, their thoughts on the film overall and plenty more.

    A Phantom Of Delight is a new video essay by filmmaker Chris O’Neill that clocks in at just over eight-minutes. Named after the poem that Jeremy reads in the film, this piece covers the way that the film portrays young love presenting the romance in a sensitive and unassuming manner, details on the characters, the way that the characters develop in the film, the simplicity of the storyline, the difference in cinematography between the outdoor scenes and the more intimate moments, the use of zoom lenses in the movie and more. It's well done and interesting.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are a forty-seven-second optional intro to the film from Glynnis O’Connor, the film’s original theatrical trailer, a Trailers From Hell entry with commentary by Larry Karaszewski, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    Inside the clear Blu-ray case is a full color insert booklet with a new essay by film critic Bill Ackerman entitled First Love In Fun City that details the film’s qualities, why it as critically lauded as it is and more. There are also credits for the feature included inside the booklet as well.

    This release also comes with some nice reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork. Copies purchased from the Vinegar Syndrome website will include a very nice embossed spot varnished slipcover that is limited to 1,500 pieces.

    Jeremy - The Final Word:

    Fun City Editions has done a great job bringing Jeremy to Blu-ray. The film is a charming artifact of its era, but at the same time, quite timeless in its depictions of the excitement, tension and awkwardness that goes along with young love. The film benefits from an excellent presentation and a nice selection of extra features. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Jeremy Blu-ray screen caps!