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HTF HD DVD REVIEW: Deliverance (Recommended)



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#1 of 11 Cameron Yee

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Posted September 22 2007 - 08:01 AM

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Deliverance

Release Date: Available now (original release date September 18, 2007)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc HD DVD case
Year: 1972
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h49m
Video (Feature): 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Audio (Feature): Dolby Digital Plus: English 5.1, French 1.0
Video (Special Features): 480i and 480p standard definition
Audio (Special Features): Stereo and mono
Subtitles/Captioning: English, French, Spanish
MSRP: $28.99

The Feature: 5/5
Three Average Joes (John Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) led by a blowhard outdoorsman (Burt Reynolds) get more than they bargained for when they take a canoe trip down Georgia's Cahulawassee River. But it's not the untamed wilderness they have to fear as much as what the wilderness can breed in the hearts of their own species. Once confronted with it the four must tap into a part of themselves that has lain dormant from centuries of civilization. Once they return to that primal, mythic state, their journey becomes one of myth as well, where one - and only one - must venture into the monster's lair and slay what seeks to destroy them. Though certainly more a thriller than horror film, "Deliverance

Video Quality: 4/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1, is VC-1 encoded and free of edge halos, dust, dirt and print damage (though I did spot one instance of a hair in the frame). As described in the special features, the river scenes were desaturated to mute the colors and give the film a monochromatic quality. This also seems to have reduced black level depth and flattened contrast, but - staying true to the original, artistic intent - the transfer makes no attempt to "fix" these qualities, which is commendable. When a soft focus effect is not applied, the image is sufficiently sharp and detailed, droplets of sweat and specular highlights on the water standing out most. For more information about the quality of the transfer, please read this thread from film archivist Robert Harris.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio track is largely front-focused, with only occasional directional and atmospheric effects and bass activity. Dialogue is clear and intelligible throughout with no instances of strain or hiss.


Special Features: 3/5

Audio Commentary with Director John Boorman: Boorman tends to state the obvious by describing events or restating the narrative, but peppered in between these moments are good anecdotes and production information. It is a decent commentary very comparable to the 35th anniversary documentary in terms of overall information. Some might prefer the documentary for the additional archival photographs and actor interviews.

35th Anniversary Retrospective
The documentary is divided into the four parts detailed below and includes interviews with the principal actors, Director John Boorman, Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, and author James Dickey's son Christopher. Though not necessarily exhaustive, most should be satisfied with the background information and production anecdotes provided. Much of it may feel familiar after listening to the Boorman commentary, however.

Deliverance: The Beginning (16m43s): Discussion of the novel's origins and its evolution into a feature film.

Deliverance: The Journey (13m03s): What it was like to shoot on location and how the Dueling Banjos scene was created.

Deliverance: Betraying the River (14m36s): Discussion of the rape scene and the scenes thereafter.

Deliverance: Delivered (10m36s): Industry and public response to the film and parting thoughts about its impact on the careers of those involved.


The Dangerous World of Deliverance (10m12s): Vintage documentary promoting the film, quaint in its introduction of the actors - "This is Ronny Cox, he's an actor, as is John Voight and Ned Beatty. Burt Reynolds is an actor too."

Original Theatrical Trailer (3m28s): 16x9 1.78:1


Recap

The Feature: 5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

A film that will challenge anyone's camping ambitions gets a faithful video transfer and decent audio track. Between the audio commentary and the documentary the special features feel a tad redundant, but the quality of the film makes the release recommended.
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#2 of 11 Ed St. Clair

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Posted September 22 2007 - 02:54 PM

Is this OAR?
Thanks for your review.
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#3 of 11 Cameron Yee

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Posted September 22 2007 - 03:45 PM

Boorman mentions in the commentary he shot it in anamorphic and specifically states 2.35:1. IMDB states the 70mm prints were 2.20:1.
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#4 of 11 ppltd

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Posted September 22 2007 - 04:00 PM

Cameron, thanks for the fine review. I just finished watching Deliverance and I had forgotten how powerful a film it is. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image to Warner for the fine work they did on this release.
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#5 of 11 Tim Glover

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Posted September 23 2007 - 06:13 PM

Nice review Cameron. Fine job. Haven't seen this on in years. Can't wait.

#6 of 11 Ed St. Clair

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Posted September 25 2007 - 12:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
Boorman mentions in the commentary he shot it in anamorphic and specifically states 2.35:1. IMDB states the 70mm prints were 2.20:1.
So how can:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1
be "correct"?
Thanks.
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#7 of 11 Cameron Yee

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Posted September 25 2007 - 12:22 PM

It's correct in that the packaging specs jibe with the transfer. Whether it's OAR is another issue.
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#8 of 11 Stephen_J_H

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Posted September 25 2007 - 05:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
So how can:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1
be "correct"?
Thanks.
Simple. There have been numerous debates over whether 2.35:1 or 2.39/2.40:1 is the correct framing, and it depends on what process was used. I would say either framing is correct with a 35mm anamorphic format, given that we're talking about a difference of .05, which is negligible at best, and certainly shows more of the frame than you'd ever see on the big screen.

In any event, this framing is still preferable to the 2.20:1 framing of 70mm blowup prints, which in all instances involved cropping off some of the edges, though nowhere near to the same extent as Vittorio Storaro's reframing of Apocalypse Now.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#9 of 11 Ed St. Clair

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Posted September 26 2007 - 01:17 PM

Thanks to both of you gentlemen for your replies.
However, neither answered my OP:
"Is this release OAR"?
Thanks.
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#10 of 11 TravisR

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Posted September 26 2007 - 02:54 PM

nevermind.

#11 of 11 MattFini

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Posted September 27 2007 - 10:32 AM

I watched this last night and was astounded by the picture quality.

I never dreamed this film could look so good.

Absolutely amazing film, too. I can't recommend this disc enough. Warner knocked it out of the park with this release.
Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.





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