Behind The Candelabra

WSR Score4
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HBO Home Video
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Steven Soderbergh
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As glittering and outrageous as Liberace (Douglas) himself, Behind The Candelabra takes a look at the flamboyant pianist and entertainer's private world, focusing on his tempestuous relationship with Scott Thorson (Damon), his young live-in lover for five years. Based on Thorson's tell-all memoir Behind The Candelabra: My Life With Liberace. Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer, and flamboyant star of stage and television. A name synonymous with showmanship, extravagance, and candelabras, he was a world-renowned performer with a flair that endeared him to his audiences and created a loyal fan base spanning his 40-year career. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and off stage. In the summer of 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair. The HBO special captures the essence of Liberace's appeal, while reminding viewers how different attitudes were at the time, as he and his management fiercely protected his public persona. (Gary Reber)

Special features include a making-of featurette (HD 14:03), upfront previews, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC digitally photographed picture exhibits a generally natural presence with strong hues that elicit warmth, especially in the treatment of fleshtones. Saturation is, at times, vibrant but otherwise subdued, for a natural appearance. Contrast is decent, with respectable blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is excellent, especially during close-ups of fleshtones, hair, clothing, and object texture. Overall, this is a decent made-for television special with visually engaging set designs that is really something to experience. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is dialogue focused throughout, with decent spatial integration. The music segments are nicely recorded with excellent fidelity and soundstage presence. Atmospherics and sound effects are narrowly focused within the soundstage, with live audience extended to the surrounds. While frontal focused, this is an effective soundtrack that is centered on the dialogue setting. (Gary Reber)