HTF HD DVD REVIEW: Dog Day Afternoon

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Cameron Yee, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    XenForo Template Dog Day Afternoon Release Date: April 10, 2007 Studio: Warner Home Video Packaging/Materials: Standard single-disc HD DVD case Year: 1975 Rating: R Running Time: 2h04m Video (Feature): 1080p HD 16x9 1.85:1 Audio (Feature): Dolby Digital Plus: English 1.0, French 1.0, Spanish 1.0 Video (Special Features): 480i or 480p SD Audio (Special Features): Stereo and mono Subtitles: English, French, Spanish (Feature only) MSRP: $28.99 The Feature: 4/5 Their bank robbery gets off to a bad start when Sonny and Sal (Al Pacino and John Cazale) lose their third man to his nerves. And it gets worse when they discover all that's in the bank vault is $1100. In short order what looks like the entire NYPD comes onto the scene and the two most inept bank robbers have to figure out what to do next. What begins as a criminal, comedy of errors develops into an engaging and sometimes satirical look at the social climate, concerns and taboo issues of the early 1970s, as Sonny deals with the police, the media and his loved ones. A stellar, multidimensional portrayal by Pacino, a great supporting cast, and a sure hand and vision from Director Sidney Lumet make the film thought provoking when it could have easily become alienating or farcical. Video Quality: 4/5 About the first two-thirds of the film are set in daylight or the brightly lit environment of the bank, which doesn't throw many challenges at the high definition format. Viewers should be pleased by the sharpness, color, flesh tones and fine detail reproduction. Contrast range seems to be a bit inconsistent in the early bank scenes, however, with Sal's suit jacket sometimes appearing black rather than the deep burgundy we see in the rest of the film. When day turns to night and the authorities cut the power to the bank, black levels and shadow detail prove to be quite good, particularly in the closing scenes where blacks are satisfyingly inky. Grain structure is often visible but not distracting and there are no signs of edge halos. The image is very clean overall, with only one or two instances of noticeable dirt specks. At about 1:13:18 the picture has a millisecond color shift toward blue, the cause of which is uncertain. I did note this same color shift in the clip used in the documentary. Audio Quality: 3/5 There's nothing particularly amazing about the Dolby Digital Plus mono soundtrack, but it does its job by reproducing dialogue and sound effects with clarity and fidelity. The opening music sounds a bit hollow or out of phase, but the effect is not present in the rest of the film, which is entirely dialogue without a score. Special Features: 4/5 Commentary by Director Sidney Lumet: Lumet covers everything from production decisions (some of which are touched on in the documentary) to working with and managing the cast and crew. Those who enjoyed Lumet's book, "Making Movies," alt=" " /> The Making of Dog Day Afternoon: The Story (11m53s): Producer Martin Bregman, Screenwriter Frank Pierson and Pacino talk about the genesis of the story and the script. Pierson's interview is particularly interesting as he had to construct the screenplay without input from the actual bank robber. The Making of Dog Day Afternoon: Casting the Controversy (13m28s): Lumet and Bregman share stories from casting the supporting players like Cazale, Charles Durning and Chris Sarandon. Pacino had a strong influence on the casting decisions, often pulling in actors with whom he had worked before. The Making of Dog Day Afternoon: Recreating the Facts (21m10s): Lumet discusses production logistics like set construction, lighting design, actor rehearsals and managing extras and the growing numbers of civilian onlookers. He also comments on the quality of the supporting cast's performances. The Making of Dog Day Afternoon: After the Filming (11m16s): Lumet and Editor Dede Allen discuss editing, memorable scenes and professional and public reaction to the film. "Lumet: Film Maker" Vintage Featurette (10m00s): Standard promotional fare consisting of behind the scenes production footage, complimentary soundbites from crew members, and an audio interview of Lumet. 4x3 standard. Theatrical Trailer (2m40s): 16x9 1.85:1 Recap and Final Thoughts The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 3/5 Special Features: 4/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4/5 An Al Pacino and Sidney Lumet classic gets fine high definition treatment and a modest but quality set of extras.
    Equipment: Toshiba 42" CRT RPTV fed a 1080i signal over component from a Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player. Audio evaluation is based on an Onkyo TX-SR575x 5.1 AVR running JBL S26 mains and surrounds, JBL S-Center, and BFD-equalized SVS 20-39 PCi subwoofer. Audio connection from the HD-A1 is via the multichannel analog outputs.
     
  2. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    "Anamorphic" is not a term that applies to HD-DVD as the pixels are square and no squeezing of the image occurs.
    Sorry to nit-pick, but this is just a pet-peeve of mine.
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the clarification. Review updated.
     

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