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    Philadelphia Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Twilight Time

    May 14 2013 05:24 PM | Timothy E in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Has it really been nearly 20 years since Philadelphia was released? The film was released in December of 1993 at a time when ignorance and uncertainty about the AIDS epidemic were more prevalent than today. Philadelphia was released in the perfect moment for its subject matter, and the film still stands up well today since the human frailties of discrimination borne by fear are not limited to any specific era.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Sony
    • Distributed By: Twilight Time
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: English SDH
    • Rating: PG-13
    • Run Time: 2 Hr. 6 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type:
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: ABC
    • Release Date: 05/14/2013
    • MSRP: $29.95

    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    Andy Beckett (Tom Hanks) is a star associate at the most prominent law firm in Philadelphia. Andy finds himself without a job after his employers fire him, apparently for the fact that he has contracted AIDS. Andy looks to a colleague to help him in a lawsuit against his bosses, and Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) is probably the most unlikely candidate to represent Andy, given his personal beliefs and prejudices. The cast also includes Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards, and Antonio Banderas.

    The Washington Post review at the time commented that Philadelphia is "like the best of Frank Capra," which is a great description of this film. Capra’s films included examples of both the best and the very worst of human nature, but always with an optimism that high values shall prevail. Philadelphia succeeds in presenting the best and worst of all of us in an entertaining (and perhaps educating) manner.

    Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) directed Philadelphia with a screenplay by Ron Nyswaner (Mrs. Soffel). The story of Andy’s lawsuit against his bosses was inspired by the real-life hearings in the New York State Division of Human Rights, in which Geoffrey Bowers was terminated from his employment with a law firm after contracting AIDS. Ironically, Bowers’ family sued the producers of Philadelphia on the basis that the film was based on his life. The suit was settled out of court on confidential terms. The film credits state that the story was inspired by Geoffrey Bowers, and I cannot say whether this credit was originally in the theatrical release or inserted later as a term of settling the lawsuit.

    Tom Hanks won the first of three consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performance in this film, and he may have been the perfect actor to play Andy, given his charisma and likability (a recent poll listed him as one of the most trustworthy actors for his personal reputation.) Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings) contributed the music score, which is included on this release with an optional isolated score track. Bruce Springsteen won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song for performance of his composition, "Streets of Philadelphia."

    Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film is presented in 1080p in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with the AVC codec. Colors are vibrant, and contrast is excellent in most scenes. Film grain is minimally present with excellent fine detail but poor shadow detail. Darkness and blacks are deliberately used often to establish mood in this film, and this transfer tends to the darker end of the spectrum much more than most other films.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks have good directional audio. Most dialogue originates appropriately front and center for a dialogue driven film. The sound effects and musical score are used well to open the sound stage of the audio and for dramatic effect.

    Special Features: 4/5

    The special features include all of the following:

    Audio Commentary: Director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Ron Nyswaner contribute a feature length commentary.

    Isolated Score Track: The original score by Howard Shore and others is available as an audio option.

    Deleted Scenes (11:18): These scenes are presented open matted in 480p.

    Courthouse Protest Footage & Interviews (4:25): This newscast footage presented in 480p was created for the film.

    Making of Philadelphia (5:59): This featurette presented in 480p was made at the time of filming and includes interviews from the time with the stars.

    Original Theatrical Trailer (3:02): Trailer is presented in 480p in open matte.

    Twilight Time has also included an attractive booklet with informative liner notes by Julie Kirgo that are recommended reading for anyone who enjoys the film.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    Philadelphia is an entertaining film in spite of its challenging subject matter. In the hands of a lesser director, it could have been depressing instead of uplifting. Of course, different viewers will perceive the film in different ways, but Philadelphia is appreciated by many as a celebration of the human spirit. Many of the special features from the 2-disc special edition DVD have been ported over to this release. Philadelphia on Blu-ray is a limited edition of 3,000 units licensed by Twilight Time from Sony Pictures. It is available for purchase exclusively through www.screenarchives.com.

    Reviewed by: Timothy E
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    9 Comments

    This comes out in Germany next month and will most likely be region free. Ordering from Amazon.de will save you a few bucks.

    I didn't care much for Philadelphia for many reasons, but those are, of course, debatable.  What isn't debatable is that Tom Hanks won 2 consecutive Oscars, not 3.

    I didn't care much for Philadelphia for many reasons, but those are, of course, debatable.  What isn't debatable is that Tom Hanks won 2 consecutive Oscars, not 3.

    For some reason, I remembered him winning for Apollo 13.  So much for my memory.  :wacko:

    This is such an obscure and unknown film with no recognizable stars that it makes perfect sense for Sony, the inventor of Blu-Ray, to license it out as a Twilight Time limited edition rather than go to the trouble of putting it out themselves. They are doing the same thing with another movie nobody saw called Sleepless in Seattle.

    This is such an obscure and unknown film with no recognizable stars that it makes perfect sense for Sony, the inventor of Blu-Ray, to license it out as a Twilight Time limited edition rather than go to the trouble of putting it out themselves. They are doing the same thing with another movie nobody saw called Sleepless in Seattle.

     

    I agree in principle, but the bean counters at Sony have to be aware that there are several hundred DVD copies of Seattle available on amazon for one whole penny, and about 150 DVD copies of Philly available for as little as seventy-seven cents. I thought that both As Good as It Gets and Bye Bye Birdie would sell out, but Twilight still has them available. I admit that from a business perspective I would be nervous about the return if I were Sony. "Lawrence of Arabia" on blu-ray is now selling new for only $9.99. It would be interesting to know how it is selling at that price point. I have conflicting feelings but I am glad Twilight is making these available at all.

    This comes out in Germany next month and will most likely be region free. Ordering from Amazon.de will save you a few bucks.

    As I mentioned on the Way we Were thread, I would be surprised and delighted if this were region free but I think Sony has to protect Twilight Time's exclusivity to the title and therefore I think it will be region locked. If Sony released it in the US than I would guess it would be Region Free.

    Hope I am wrong.

    As I mentioned on the Way we Were thread, I would be surprised and delighted if this were region free but I think Sony has to protect Twilight Time's exclusivity to the title and therefore I think it will be region locked. If Sony released it in the US than I would guess it would be Region Free.

    Hope I am wrong.

    Well Sony wasn't too concerned about protecting Twilight Time's exclusivity of As Good As It Gets. That one is region-free in Germany.

    I just purchased the German Sony blu-ray of "Tootsie" from Amazon.de...it plays fine on my Sony BX-580 player, which means it's NOT region-locked...I expect Sony's other titles to be encoded similarly.

    And Tootsie from Amazon.de is under $20 shipped...sold!