Far from the Madding Crowd appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying presentation.
Sharpness tended to be positive. A few shots showed a smidgen of softness, and not for especially logical reasons. Overall, though, detail seemed good. I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.
Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was true here. The colors tended toward amber tones, which fit the design typical for this sort of movie. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. I found this to be worth a “B+”.
A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a dynamic soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Crowd fell into expected realms. A few scenes – on the beach, in the streets, during a fire, through a thunderstorm – used the various channels well. Those instances remained the exception to the rule, though, so expect a subdued mix the majority of the time.
Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive for the material at hand.
Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of 17 minutes, 54 seconds. These tend to expand elements related to supporting characters. In particular, Boldwood and Troy receive extra screen time. These sequences add a little depth to the proceedings but none prove to be essential.
Nine Promotional Featurettes ensue. We find “Bathsheba Everdene” (3:17), “The Suitors” (3:56), “Adapting Far from the Madding Crowd” (4:32), “The Look of Far from the Madding Crowd” (5:08), “Gabriel Oak” (2:22), “William Boldwood” (2:34), “Sergeant Troy” (2:26), “The Locations of Far from the Madding Crowd” (5:03) and “Thomas Vinterberg” (4:07). Across these, we hear from director Thomas Vinterberg, writer David Nicholls, producers Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich, costume designer Francoise Fourcade, makeup designer Sian Grigg, production designer Kave Quinn, location manager Alex Gladstone, assistant location manager Damon Crane, and actors Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Matthias Schoanaerts, Juno Temple, and Tom Sturridge.
The clips look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, costumes and makeup, sets and locations and Vinterberg’s approach to the project. The featurettes tend to be spotty but still reveal a decent amount of information. I especially like the comparisons with the novel and the 1967 film.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a gallery. This includes 29 shots from the set. It becomes a mediocre compilation.
The disc opens with ads for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Cake. Sneak Peek adds promos for Wild, The Sound of Music, Desert Dancer and “Best of TV”.
With a good lead performance from Carey Mulligan and an understated approach to characters and story, Far From the Madding Crowd works much better than I expected. The movie progresses at a good pace that lets events unfold in a natural and engaging manner without the usual melodrama that mars so many projects of this sort. The Blu-ray gives us good picture and audio along with some minor supplements. I feel pleased with this likable romantic drama.