The Witness for the Prosecution appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an oddly erratic presentation.
Sharpness acted as one of the inconsistent elements, for definition varied. Parts of the film offered solid clarity, but other shots looked soft and indistinct. Though I suspect some of this stemmed from cinematographic choices, these decisions made little sense and left the image as strangely soft at times.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and the movie lacked edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to create problems.
In another perplexing production choice, Witness opted for a heavily teal palette that leaned toward the green side of that coin. These colors tended to be murky and grungy.
Blacks were somewhat inky, and low-light shots seemed too dense, partly due to the prominent use of smoke effects that rendered shadows a little tough to see. The movie offered a less than pleasing visual presentation.
I thought the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was more consistent but still not memorable. This didn’t surprise me, though, as a character drama such as Witness wouldn’t offer a lot of room for sonic fireworks.
Some flashbacks to warfare provided the most dynamic moments, as those filled the five channels in a fairly impactful manner. Otherwise, general environmental information dominated and created a decent sense of place. Music also used the spectrum in a positive manner.
Audio quality was good. Music seemed full and rich, while effects came across as accurate and appropriately dynamic. Speech appeared concise and natural, and all of this added up to a satisfactory soundtrack.
As we shift to extras, we start with seven Behind the Scenes Featurettes. We locate “From Page to Screen” (24:15), “Postwar Fashion” (11:17), “Anatomy of a Murder” (2:34), “What Makes Christie Resonate Today?” (8:23), “Filming on the Front” (9:50), “Sarah Phelps’ WWI Story” (1:41) and “The Cast on Agatha Christie” (2:34).
Across these, we hear from Agatha Christie Ltd. Chief Executive Hilary Strong, writer Sarah Phelps, Agatha Christie Ltd. chairman James Prichard, producer Colin Wratten, director Julian Jerrold, costume designer Claire Anderson, hair/makeup designer Samantha Marshall, and actors Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Hayley Carmichael, Dorian Lough, Monica Dolan, Billy Howle and Kim Cattrall.
The featurettes cover the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, costume and hair/makeup, Agatha Christie’s legacy, locations and production design, and effects. The clips vary in quality but overall offer a decent look at the production – albeit one a little heavy on praise for different elements.
Four On Location Featurettes follow, and we find “The Theatre” (2:58), “The Courtroom” (3:24), “Le Touquet (The Sea)” (2:15) and “Liverpool” (4:52). These offer notes from Wratten, Jarrold, Jones, Carmichael, Howle and Cattrall. As expected, we get info about the locations used in the film. The clips mix facts and fluff.
Finally, we locate six Character Introductions. We see “Kim Cattrall on Emily French” (2:08), “Monica Dolan on Janet McIntyre” (0:53), “Toby Jones on John Mayhew” (0:36), “Billy Howle on Leonard Vole” (1:11), “Hayley Carmichael on Alice Mayhew” (0:41) and “Andrea Riseborough on Romaine Heilger” (0:59).
As expected, each one features an actor who discusses his/her role. These offer brief and not very useful chats.
The disc opens with an ad for And Then There Were None and Close to the Enemy.
Rather than focus on the mystery/thriller elements at its core, The Witness for the Prosecution opts to become a heavily stylized psychodrama. This choice doesn’t work, as the movie lacks substance and feels ineffective and tawdry. The Blu-ray presents erratic picture quality as well as decent audio and a passable set of bonus materials. I hoped to find an engaging “whodunnit’ from Witness but instead I got a tedious exploration of bad filmmaking choices.