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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Hanover Street
Hanover Street
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG // August 1, 2001
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted August 7, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Film:

Director Peter Hyams wrote and directed this film which stars a young Harrison Ford fresh from the first two Star Wars films. Ford plays David Halloran, a WWII bomber pilot stationed in England and constantly flying raids on the German bases. He becomes enamored with Margaret Sellinger, played by Lesley-Anne Down, a married nurse in a local hospital. The two struggle with their relationship and suffer from the emotional strain that it places on each other. Their relation forces them to face fears they never knew they had because of their newfound feelings for each other. He confronts his newfound fears of the war and she must decide what to do with her other relation at home.

This may sound intriguing, but the opening of the film sets of the implausibility of some of the situations. It begins by stating that the War was happening and because of that people often searched for any comfort they could find. This is obviously supposed to explain the Ford / Down relation, but it is so ill defined in the film it is hard to sympathize with either of their problems. Little is revealed about her in the first half of the film and Ford seems the typical jock pilot. Little is revealed about their relation until they are torn apart and thrust into another set of situations. Ford becomes stranded with her husband who at the last second decided to replace a spy he was training to infiltrate the Third Reich base.

From here on the film strangely foreshadows the Indiana Jones films as Ford escorts the unprepared Christopher Plummer behind the enemy lines. They battle and escape Nazis several times, all the while Down is left at home worrying where her husband and lover have gone. The whole thing comes to a fizzling end as the film comes to its anticlimactic end. To put it another way, it was said that during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom the crew pulled a joke on Harrison Ford. While he was tied up to a torture rack they had Bette Midler come at him brandishing a whip and she scolded him for making Hanover Street…the worst film she had ever seen. Now for me, no film can take that honor away from Batman and Robin, but this one sure tried.

The DVD:
Video: The video looks passable enough in the film and is presented in a 1:85.1 aspect ratio. There are not too many visible artifacts from this 1979 film but color and saturation are not their best. Despite this, there are interesting colors and compositions used in several of the scene that at least provide some visual interest.

Audio: The sound is presented in your choice of Dolby Pro Logic and a Discreet 4.0 Surround mix. Both sound fine and there is little difference between the two. The vocals are a bit muffled at times, requiring the volume to be changed during viewing.

Features: This bare bones disc includes trailers for the other horrible Harrison Ford movie Random Hearts, Remains of the Day and one other. Also included is a mildly interesting commentary by director Peter Hyams that admits he had never watched the film upon completion. He states that this is normal for him and the effort hurts the commentary. He remembers little about the actual production and uses the two hours to reminisce about Harrison Ford before he became a big star and the cinematography techniques that he used during filming. He describes some of the lighting methods used to achieve certain shots in great and interesting detail. While not the best commentary I've heard, it did make the film more viewable the second time around.

Overall: The first of a few bad films that appear in Fords career, I have to say take a pass on this one unless you want to see all of Fords films. He is charming in the film and engaging at times, but had not yet developed his acting skills completely.

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