Blu-ray News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Blu-Ray : Recommended
Sale Price: $32.99 Last Price: $36.98 Buy now! 3rd Party 31.48 In Stock
Release Date: March 26th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1979

Bubble Bath

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Jesse Skeen
The complete English title of this Hungarian animated film made in 1979 is "Bubble Bath: A Musical to a Heartbeat". Deaf Crocodile releases this acclaimed but sometimes misunderstood film on Blu-Ray for the first time in America in an immaculate presentation that is certain to appeal to animation fans. Recommended.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region A Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
Hungarian Stereo (PCM)
Special Features:
New commentary track by film historian Samm Deighan, New essay by film historian and professor Jennifer Lynde Barker, Interview with Bubble Bath composer Janos Masik, Restoring Bubble Bath, 5 rare short films by Gyorgy Kovasznai
Release Date:
March 26th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Since the late 1990s, audiences have become used to animated films that aren't made for kids, many of them having adult themes and humor. In 1979 such films were further between. It's been said that Hungarian audiences met Bubble Bath with hostility. They were expecting it to be made for children but clearly went over their heads while the grownups weren't in any mind to see a "cartoon" on their own. More recently it's been belatedly appreciated by those who have seen it.

Just the beginning of this movie shows the audience that we're in for something different as we see the main character Zsolt driving through the streets in the rain accompanied by a unique musical score. Real drops of water are soon seen splashing onto a sheet of plastic placed over the animated footage. Zsolt arrives at the home of Aniko, who is staying in a large house while caring for her elderly wheelchair-bound aunt. She turns out to be the best friend of Klari, who Zsolt is supposed to be getting married to later that day and he has decided he just can't go through with it. He begs Aniko to call her and break the news to her, breaking down and telling her how he's regretted his path in life and had gotten engaged only because it was something society expected him to do.

Much of this is done through songs; there are many in this film (and run the gamut in styles from opera, tango, and pop) which gives the visuals a chance to behave unusually. The styles of characters change as they sing (as Zsolt performs one song about his unsatisfying work as an interior decorator, his face at one point turns exaggeratingly sad as his body folds like an accordion, and Aniko's eyes almost pop out of her head in response) and backgrounds interact often changing color rapidly in a psychedelic fashion.

Meanwhile, Zsolt's bride-to-be Klari is throwing a party with many guests (making us wonder how much time they'll have to get to the wedding afterward) and is already speculating on her future life expecting to have many children. An amusing musical number comes up here as she looks over the many appliances that have been brought to her as wedding gifts, the lyrics translated as "I just push a button." The film eventually veers into screwball comedy territory, as Klari decides to go visit her friend not knowing Zsolt is there telling her about wanting to call off the wedding- he soon puts on a scuba-diving outfit in an attempt to hide from her.

The title Bubble Bath eventually makes sense by the end. The theme of doing what you want versus what society expects of you rings true for me, as I decided that marriage wasn't for me and I'm much happier living on my own with my own rules. With the dialogue and song lyrics in Hungarian, the story isn't very easy to follow without the optional English subtitles. Some American audiences have seen this film prior to this disc's release without the benefit of any translation, and weren't clear on the plot but were still able to enjoy the character designs, songs, and visuals.

I do recommend a viewing without the subtitles, allowing for clearer enjoyment of the picture and observing the unique elements that set this apart from a traditional animated film. Besides the rain in the opening scene, there are plenty of other moments where real elements enter the picture, and backgrounds demand to be studied as many of them appear to be made from actual cloth materials pasted into the drawings. Altogether, this is a very unique film even if the storyline is ignored (either from being unable to understand the language or one's interest simply being unable to be held by it exclusively.)

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-Ray
All copies of Bubble Bath are housed in a clear Blu-Ray case with artwork on the reverse side of the cover sheet, and a booklet featuring an extensive essay by Jennifer Lynde Barker on Gyorgy Kovasznai is included inside. A slipcover limited to a quantity of 2,000 units is also available.

Video Review


This Blu-Ray transfer was taken from a new scan of the negative by the National Institute Film Archive of Hungary and appears impeccable; I've always viewed the best-quality animated Blu-Rays as looking almost like moving paintings and this is certainly no exception. Not a single bit of dirt or scratch is visible, yet there are no signs of excessive digital tinkering that would spoil the intended look of the film either (light film grain is present). The image appears steady onscreen with no weaving, furthering the effect of viewing a framed painting or drawing. Again, I recommend at least a second viewing with the subtitles turned off even if you don't understand the spoken Hungarian dialogue in order to fully appreciate the picture quality and visuals.

Audio Review


Despite the DTS logo on the back cover, the audio is encoded in uncompressed 2-channel PCM. The mix is true stereo; as the use of stereo in films in 1979 was usually limited to the bigger productions I wonder if this was produced in stereo originally or re-done solely for this Blu-Ray release but no information on that is included. The mix is still quite center-heavy, with all of the dialogue kept in the center with few sound effects included, the music and some backing vocals are mainly what expand into the left and right channels. Aside from some very faint background hiss, the audio quality is very clean with no distortion or signs of age, dialogue is clear even if one might not understand the language.

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary featuring Film historian Samm Deighan - gives more technical descriptions to the animations- terms include medium-blending and off-model animation. She also further explains the storyline to those who might have lost some of it in the translation, explaining it in the context of the social and political climate in Hungary at that time and reiterates that the movie wasn't very well-received upon its initial release.
  • 5 Rare Short films by György Kovásznai - The feature is enough of a visual treat on its own, but the disc also includes five earlier animated shorts from director Gyorgy Kovasznai made between 1963 and 1974 that give us further insight of his unique styles, unfortunately, cut short by his death a few years after the movie's release. These are also in Hungarian with optional English subtitles included; some are narrative-driven while others simply are showcases for abstract visuals. One of these ends with paint being dumped right onto the screen and then smeared around into new visuals.
    • Monologue (Monológ) (1963, 12 min.)
    • Metamorphosis (Átváltozások) (1964, 7 min.) 
    • Wavelengths (Hullámhosszok) (1970, 9 min.)
    • Nights in the Boulevard (Körúti esték) (1972, 9 min.
    • A Memory of Summer (A 74-es nyár emléke) (1974, 10 min.)
  • Interview with Bubble Bath Composer János Másik has him recount how he came up with the music and songs in the film.
  • Restoring Bubble Bath gives us a look at the film elements being pulled out of storage and scanned for this transfer, it isn't clear whether they were in poor shape, as many other restoration pieces often show.

Final Thoughts

Bubble Bath is quite a unique experience, even more so to American audiences as films in the Hungarian language aren't seen too often here. Deaf Crocodile's Blu-Ray release gives us the first accessible edition of this movie in nearly perfect quality with English translation. The animation and music are remarkable on their own merits, the themes of societal expectations in 1970s Hungary add even more interest to those wanting adventurous content. With an excellent A/V selection and a nice assortment of bonus features, consider this - Recommended. 

Order Your Copy of Bubble Bath on Blu-ray