The Almodóvar Collection Blu-ray review

Will this six-disc set satisfy UK fans left craving more of the Spanish auteur's films on Blu-ray?

Despite being a leading light in world cinema since the 1980s, the work of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar has been under-represented on UK Blu-ray. Indeed, until the arrival of this boxset, only his three most recent films had been released on hi-def platters over here.

Following a major restoration project covering all of Almodóvar's films, this boxset brings fans six of his early works (although there are a few notable gaps along the way)…

Although boasting a typically outrageous central idea, black comedy Dark Habits (1983) is a little too low-key to fully satisfy. What Have I Done to Deserve This?, released the following year, sees a huge step towards the Almodóvar fans know and love, with its offbeat and darkly funny critique of the contemporary treatment of women. Meanwhile, Law of Desire (1987) is a bold, energetic piece of explicitly gay melodrama starring a young Antonio Banderas.

Feminist screwball farce Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) remains a highlight of his career and is the perfect starting point for novices to Almodóvar's work. Kika (1993), on the other hand, is a misjudged TV satire that raised critics' heckles on its release and even now seems surprisingly bitter. Up last is the perceptive melodrama The Flower of Her Secret (1995).

Picture: This BD boxset is based on a series of new restorations (from the original negatives, according to the press notes) and the results certainly impress. While Dark Habits looks a little processed in a couple of scenes, the overall quality of the six 1.85:1 Full HD presentations is very good. Colours are robust, detailing is strong and there's plenty of native film grain to be seen.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: All six films feature LPCM 2.0 and DTS-HD MA 5.1 versions of their original Spanish-language tracks. In all honesty, there's little to choose between them, with the 5.1 mixes rarely making any significant use of the surround channels.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: The movies are joined by new retrospective featurettes, while all but What Have I Done to Deserve This? also get video intros by film critic José Arroyo. The two most recent titles in the set also feature a selection of archival interview clips.
Extras rating: 2.5/5

We say: Pleasing restorations make this box a must for fans – and leave us hoping for at least one more similar selection in the future.

The Almodóvar Collection, StudioCanal, Region B BD, £60