Two for the Road appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Rarely exceptional but always competent, this was a generally solid transfer.
A few problems related to sharpness. At times the image took on a soft sheen that made it a bit fuzzy. Some of this was intentional, as the movie accorded Audrey Hepburn the kind of tentative focus often used for leading ladies in the old days. Other shots were soft for unknown reasons. Some of this resulted from a little light edge enhancement. I also noticed a little shimmer and some jagged edges at times.
Source flaws were a minor nuisance. I noticed occasional specks and marks through the film. These were a slight distraction but not anything overwhelming or heavy.
Colors usually fared well. The movie’s palette varied somewhat depending on its mood, but the tones usually remained lively and dynamic. With its mix of setting and scenarios, the film certainly offered a lot of hues, and these came across well. Blacks were dense and firm, while low-light shots came across as clean and smooth. Though it suffered from a few too many problems to enter “A” territory, the transfer satisfied.
While not overtly flawed, the stereo soundtrack of Two for the Road appeared less strong. As with many of these remixes, the soundfield essentially remained monaural. It broadened matters slightly, though I can’t say I noticed much concrete activity from the sides. Even the many driving sequences failed to do much, so don’t expect good panning or movement. Anticipate a glorified mono mix.
That’s fine with me, but the audio quality didn’t excel. Not that the track sounded bad - it just didn’t seem anything other than average. Speech demonstrated the most notable problems, as the lines occasionally appeared a bit edgy. They stayed intelligible, but they lacked the expected precision. Effects were somewhat wan but stayed acceptably accurate. Other than car sounds, they played a minor role.
Music brightened up the audio somewhat. The score was usually bouncy and bright, with fairly good range. That factor was a positive, but the speech flaws negated it and left this mix with a mediocre “C”.
As for extras, the highlight of this DVD comes from an audio commentary with director Stanley Donen. The piece starts with a biography of the director provided by an unnamed source. From there Donen contributes a running, screen-specific discussion.
The director touches on the genesis of the project and its development, casting and character issues, locations and sets, dealing with the movie’s chronology, score, cinematography, costumes and production design, and a mix of anecdotes. He touches on good stories like how Audrey Hepburn’s fear of water affected the production and what happened during a disastrous preview screening.
I have few complaints about the content of the commentary. Unfortunately, Donen goes silent an awful lot of the time. We find many empty spots, and those drag down the overall quality of the track. If you can ignore those, you’ll enjoy the commentary, but the prevalence of dead air made it somewhat frustrating for me.
The other features are insubstantial. A staple of Fox DVDs for older movies, a Restoration Comparison shows us the work done for this transfer. I think these pieces usually are too self-congratulatory, and I continue to feel that way based on this one.
In addition to a minor six image Still Gallery, we find some trailers. We get an ad for Road as well as promos for Three Coins in the Fountain, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, An Affair to Remember and Peyton Place.
An exercise in non-linear story telling, the framework of Two for the Road offers its most memorable element. Not much else about the movie stands out as particularly compelling, but the unusual sequencing creates an interesting way to deal with a tale. The DVD provides pretty good picture along with average audio and some extras highlighted by an erratic but informative audio commentary. Road may suffer from a mix of flaws, but the movie still works well enough to deserve your attention.