Husbands and Wives & Maridos Y Mujeres

Hola!  Get your nalgas aboard this galleon, my fellow Conquistadors - our Spanish adventure continues!  You don't need me to tell you that Twilight Time limited editions could be scarce and pricey even before they shut down (and then rose from the ashes?!), but what can you do but pay through the nose when they're the only options on the market?  They've put out so many great films, like those middle-era Woody Allen films all the studios otherwise neglect.  Husbands and Wives: great movie, but I'm not a millionaire.  Sooo... I can't help noticing there's a Spanish blu out there.  And it's being released by Sony themselves.  So that should be acceptably comparable, right?  Twilight Time would've just used whatever master Sony gave them, therefore this should be the same, right?  And it ought to good, because Sony seem to have higher standards than other studios, right?  Sounds like a safe bet.  Of course, we won't know for sure until some morion-adorned suckers takes the plunge and reports back, so déjanos zarpar, compatriotas!

Sorry, this is the kind of silliness I get up to when you leave me unsupervised with Google Translate. 😜
Husbands and Wives is one of Allen's best mixes of comedy and drama, right after Crimes and Misdemeanors.  It makes some pretty innovative use of the mockumentary form, something usually reserved for comedy and "found footage" horror flicks, and is probably best known for its unusual decision to embrace jump-cuts.  But like any great film, it really all boils down to the writing and performances.  Allen and Mia Farrow are a middle-aged couple who think they've settled into the perfect marriage until their best friends, Sidney Lumet and Judy Davis, split up, and it causes them to question their own choices.  As Lumet and Davis seem to find better situations with new, ideal partners - a perky young aerobics instructor for Lumet and Liam Neeson, who seems to have been drawn out of a dreamy Hollywood romcom, for Davis - they begin to pursue similar ambitions.  Allen fixates on a younger student, Juliette Lewis, and Farrow, well, she also sets her cap at Neeson.
It's a great, relatable (a trait that often eludes Allen) examination of the romantic expectations we place on future hopes for ourselves and relationships with others.  "Couldn't I do better?" proves to be a damning question to ask yourself.  And the mature way nothing even begins to come of Allen's thoughts about Lewis is a refreshing change, given the way those things are portrayed in most of his other films, let alone his front page real life.  It shifts about in tone, from cute zingers between Allen and Farrow to the darkly comic explosion of Lumet literally dragging his new girlfriend out of a party for talking to everyone about astrology.  But it's all grounded enough to really hit home, moreso than most of Allen's other work.
Sony/ Columbia Tri-Star originally released Husbands and Wives on DVD in 2002.  In most countries, it just had the widescreen version; but in the US, we got both the widescreen and fullscreen on the same disc, so that's fun.  Nothing more happened with the film on disc until Twilight Time brought it to blu in 2018, but that was limited to just 3000 copies.  Admittedly, between the slow death of physical media and Allen's "cancellation" in popular culture, there probably isn't a huge demand for millions of discs anymore.  But 3000 to serve the entire world from now on feels a little constrictive.  Fortunately, a few months later, Sony released a non-limited region-free edition in one other country, still the only one to date: Spain.
2002 US Sony DVD full; 2002 US Sony DVD wide; 2018 ES Sony BD.
Sony's 2002 fullscreen transfer is another typical compromise between cropping and opening the matte, measuring at 1.32:1 and losing some information along the sides, but also revealing extra vertical image.  It's boxy, and most of that vertical information is pretty empty, so it's obvious the widescreen AR is the correct one, as if there had been any doubt in the first place.  Or, at least, it's mostly correct.  The widescreen DVD transfer is slightly windowboxed to 1.80:1, which should surely be 1.85; but at least they're close.  Closer, in fact, than the blu-ray, which opens up a bit more to 1.784:1.  It actually loses teensy slivers along the edges, because it's fixing some slight pinching on the DVD, and revealing a bit more vertically by ditching the vertical matting.  My understanding, from what I've been able to find online, is that the Twilight Time retains that matting, giving the film its proper 1.85:1 ratio, but otherwise looks the same as this blu, as they were using the same master.

And it's a definite leap to HD.  But given the film's run & gun, documentary-inspired shaky cam, it's never going to hit you with eye-candy clarity.  I've tried to find some of the most stable shots for screenshots here, but it's generally a pretty rough and even grungy looking film - a rare aesthetic for Allen, who usually shoots for elegance.  But compare it to the DVD, and even in blurry motion shots, the boost is obvious.  It's a lot sharper and clearer; haloing has been cleared up.  Film grain that's been washed away from the SD picture is back, although inconsistent for Sony's usually high standards.  Twilight Time's disc was a BD50, and this is BD25 (though not a BDR!), and even though we're just talking about a relatively short feature without any major features to speak of, I wonder if TT didn't have a stronger, more consistent encode.
For audio, all three discs include the original mono track with optional English subtitles.  On both blus, the audio's boosted to lossless DTS-HD.  Otherwise, the only difference is in the foreign language options.  The DVD has a French dub, plus French, Spanish and Portuguese subs.  Twilight Time has nothing but English, but the Spanish blu also has German, Italian, Spanish and French dubs with additional Spanish subtitles.

Extras-wise, Twilight Time had the only thing to speak of: their usual isolated music track in DTS-HD.  Otherwise, all three discs just have a fullscreen trailer.  Yes, it's in English on the Spanish disc.  The Twilight Time disc also had a bonus trailer for Manhattan Murder Mystery and an 8-page booklet with notes by Julie Kirgo.
So, the findings of this expedition seems to be that this Spanish blu is a decent but not truly equal substitute for the Twilight Time blu.  It does have extra foreign language options, but at the expense of a dual-layer disc with the isolated score and booklet.  Frankly, I don't rank those extras too highly, so it really depends how worried you are about the encode and if you'll spot the difference in motion.  Of course, while there seem to still be a few copies floating around as of this writing, soon we may not have a choice.

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