While watching "Stiff Upper Lips", I wonder why it didn't do better. A gentle goof on Merchant-Ivory movies, the comedy is often very funny, and at the very least, is good for some light chuckles. The story revolves around Emily (Georgina Cates), who has reached the age of 22 - at that time, the perfect age for getting married. Her Aunt Agnes tries to get sparks to fly with Cedric, a friend of her brother who is hilariously more interested in books and speaking in Latin.
When she sees that nothing is working, the Aunt takes them all for a trip to Italy and eventually India, while the whole time she has taken a different love interest in George, who had previously been the gardener. The film is not a consistent laugh, like the "Naked Gun" movies, but there are enough laughs spread along the way for an enjoyable flick. It's the kind of jokes where a couple of characters open their window to enjoy beautiful scenery, and the third opens his window to find a brick wall looking back at him.
Performances are quite good, especially the young Cates as Emily. This isn't an outstanding film; it has some moments that are slightly slow going. But I must say that there are a few good laughs to be found, and it's worth looking at as a rental if you're a fan of period films.
VIDEO: It's unfortunate that Miramax has given an effort here that's even less than their "average" level of effort. Where the picture in general has positive aspects, there are more than a few things to take away from the great scenery shown in the film. The presentation is anamorphic, and in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
The picture sometimes has a "digital" look to it, with shimmering and occasional pixelation. Sometimes the presentation looks overly sharp, but generally is fine in the sharpness department. It would also have been pleasing if the print used would have been in better condition - often, slight marks and scratches are visible. Flesh tones are accurate, though and black level is good.
Colors are also beautiful, with rich, bold colors that look wonderfully natural and vibrant. If the picture didn't contain the previously mentioned flaws, it would be a great looking presentation; as is, the flaws take away from the beautiful locations which is unfortunate.
SOUND: The film, as one might expect, is mainly dialogue-driven and the dolby surround audio is adequate for its presentation. Much of it is, in fact, dialogue, but occasionally during the outdoor scenes, some nice ambient sounds are captured. The film's score, which is similar to most actual period films, comes through with warmth and clarity. Enjoyable sound that does the job for the kind of material it is.
MENUS:: As with most menus from the studio, they're non-animated and extremely basic.
EXTRAS: Nothing - not even the trailer. There are Miramax's usual "forced" trailers, but I don't consider those extras - just ads.
Final Thoughts: Definitely worth a rental for fans of period movies; it's unfortunate that Miramax couldn't have done better work on the DVD.
The Film B
Video 80/B- = (320/400 possible points)
Audio: 84/B = (336/400 possible points)
Extras: 0/F = (0/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 75/C = (225/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: B
DVD GRADE: D