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Barefoot In The Park DVD

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Based on Neil Simon's own play, 1967's Barefoot in the Park is a perennially joyous film starring carefree Jane Fonda and staid lawyer Robert Redford as young newlyweds setting up home in Greenwich Village. Although the opening credits are fragrantly idyllic (aided by Neal Hefti's soundtrack, you can almost smell the blossom in Central Park), the film doesn't idealise apartment living in New York, à la Friends, far from it: Fonda and Redford's apartment is up several flights of stairs; there's a hole in the skylight and the bedroom is the size of a cupboard. All of this puts some strain on the marriage. When Fonda introduces fellow free spirit and ageing, behind-on-the-rent Lothario (Charles Boyer) to her somewhat inhibited mother (Mildred Natwick), the hapless Redford in particular is forced to come to terms with his own inhibitions. Although the second half of the film moves at a less cracking pace than the first, Barefoot in the Park is as exhilarating as a romantic weekend city break. Directo r Gene Saks, scriptwriter Neil Simon and composer Hefti would regroup in 1968 to make the similarly wonderful The Odd Couple. On the DVD: With the aid of filtering, the DVD recaptures the almost unreal colour quality common to films of this period, while the sound is faithful to the nuances of Hefti's soundtrack. The special features are miserly--subtitles, a choice of languages and the original trailer, though this at least conveys the engaging naiveté of the period--("The rarest, unsquarest, happiest motion picture in many a year!"). --David Stubbs

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