Foxfire (Blu-ray)

December 3, 2018 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Beautiful socialite Amanda Lawrence (Jane Russel) meets Jonathan Dartland (Jeff Chandler), though many refer to him as Dart. He’s an engineer at the local copper mine who meets Amanda as she’s walking one day after she has a blowout. The two date and before long, they’re married, but it isn’t without consequences. Amanda’s mother has issue with this since Dart is a half-breed Apache Indian. Things are further complicated when Amanda grows closer to Dart’s longtime friend, Dr. Hugh Slater (Dan Duryea). At first he’s a little too forward, but she begins to confide in him, because Dart is always busy and rather reserved.

Foxfire (the title is explained in the film) is one that I hadn’t heard of, and despite the presence of Russel and Chandler, is a rather forgotten film. When I received the solicitation for it, I was quick to request it. I often enjoy older films, and what better way to discover it now. I was caught up a bit with it as I watched it. The characters and central romance held my interest. This in addition to the strong visuals. I noticed that it almost faded from my memory the moment it was over. It’s not a film that resonated with me, though I was perfectly entertained as I was watching it. It’s just a slight film with not the strongest of plots.

While the story here is fairly straight, the film does throw a few melodramatic curve-balls in for good measure. We also learnt that Dart believes there to be oil and wants to get a crew and get to work. Nothing here should take the viewer by surprise, but I think the acting elevates a lot of the material here. The commentary on this disc does mention that this is the last American film to be shot in three-strip Technicolor. It does look quite striking, though, especially on this disc. I’ll touch on that in a bit, but fans who have wanted this film in HD should be delighted with the results here.

Video: How’s it look?

We get a 2.00:1 AVC encoded image. I don’t come across that ratio very often, but the results here are quite strong. I didn’t notice a lot of grain (something common with these older films) and the colors were bold and robust. There were times that the image appeared a bit soft, but for a film of this age, I somewhat expected it. Background shots and details were nice and the Arizona setting lends itself nicely to the HD format.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track is also pleasing. With vocals dominating, there’s the clarity one can expect. The film does have a few moments that kick things up a bit, but mostly the dialogue is what we’re here for. The crispness is a good reminder that this is the best the film will probably ever sound, but the results are good that we shouldn’t expect better.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – Film Historian Kat Ellinger provides a running track that covers a wide variety of topics. We hear of the changes from the original novel and the Technicolor method as well as other things. For fans of commentaries or the film itself, this is worth listening to.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

By no means essential viewing, Foxfire held my interest during the brief running time. I quickly forgot the film, but I feel it’s worth a viewing. Whether or not you feel it’s worth owning is entirely up to you, but the results and great commentary track make that decision easier. It’s certainly a slight film, but also has its charms as well.

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