THE PLOT THUS FAR
The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea — whom they haven’t seen for years — feels she must be there for Norman’s birthday. She and her fiance are on their way to Europe the next day but will be back in a couple of weeks to pick up the fiance’s son. When she returns Chelsea is married and her stepson has the relationship with her father that she always wanted. Will father and daughter be able to communicate at last?
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“On Golden Pond” is one of the best acting showcases of the 1980s. What kills me is that time and limited availability on home video has made the film disappear from most cinephiles’ minds. It was one of the biggest hits of 1981 and it’s such a quiet film for the Reagan era. I know that it’s been restaged for TV and the stage several times since then, however this film attacks something basic about aging with its two leads. Quiet dignity means nothing unless you’ve got someone to share those private moments.
This film is rather schizo when it balances its stage origins with the needs of the film medium. Modern audiences might be driven nuts by the fact that monologues and two part character moments make up 80% of the film. That being said, this is Henry Fonda’s showcase role and he deserved the Oscar so damn much. Watching one of the greatest American actors cap off a career is stunning. Hell, thinking about it leaves me speechless.
The Blu-Ray comes with a commentary, featurettes and trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is impressive. The DTS-HD mono track is appropriate for how ITV originally theatrically released it. Honestly, I wish that Shout would go out of there way to do more releases like this ala how deep Scream Factory is allowed to dig. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 01/20/2014