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Robert Harris

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I've never understood why Louis Malle's 1980 production, Atlantic City, hasn't had a respectful life on home video.

After a foreign release on Blu-ray, it's being offered by several vendors - Target via Allied Vaughn, Best Buy (coming in May) and Amazon, from whom I purchased my sample.

The disc and packaging do not use the Blu-ray logo, merely acknowledging that this is a Blu-ray disc, as opposed to something else.

The Amazon copies are burned, not pressed, and as noted on the packaging, manufactured by Amazon, in Columbia, S.C.

Whether the other examples will be pressed or burned remains to be seen, but the message is clear. Paramount doesn't care about this catalog title.

And that's a pity, as it's a wonderful film, with terrific performances.

Having nothing to do with either the Dutch or cigars, the source appears to be an old master, presumably from an IP.

Minus density is apparent, but never disturbing. Hi-con titles appear a bit ragged around the edges, but acceptable within the scheme of things.

Overall, the release finally allows fans to add a Blu-ray of more than decent quality to their libraries.

There's now no reason for the studio to create anything better.

And that's a pity.

After all, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards - Best Picture, Actor (Mr. Lancaster) in a Leading Role, Actress (Ms Sarandon) in a Leading Role, Directing and Writing.

Who cares?

All three vendors show the product as sharing the same UPC Code, which is odd.

Image - 3.75

Audio - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Recommended


RAH
 

Nick*Z

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The Golden Child, which even its star, Eddie Murphy referred to as a piece of 'you know what' gets a Paramount Presents new 4K scan and Atlantic City, one of the irrefutable greats from the same period doesn't even rate a new scan on a legit authored new-to-Blu?!? That's balanced, and further proof that the people in charge on the mountain need to give their heads a shake. Not saying good work isn't being done. But some of their 'creative' choices as to what's coming down the pike leave one to really scratch the head.

How about The High and the Mighty, Ordinary People, The Country Girl, Sorry Wrong Number, A Place in the Sun, The Day of the Locust, Dead Again, getting some love instead of just being dumped on the Aussie market in thoroughly awful looking transfers. For that matter, we need a new scan of Witness. Sorry, I'll stop venting now. Very disappointing news though. Thanks as always for your review, Robert.
 

Powell&Pressburger

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I ordered my copy from Bullmoose when it was released last year or was it about a year ago. The disc is pressed if ordered anywhere but amazon. I avoid amazon when it comes to the Paramount MODs

As far as the transfer I think this is the best its looked on disc. I always hoped it would get a new scan and handled by Criterion, but I think this is it for now.
 
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Angelo Colombus

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I bought mine from DeepDiscount last year and on the disc it does have the Blu-ray Disc & DTS-HD logos on them and i think it might be a release straight from Paramount? Great film and a nice upgrade compared to my dvd BUT my Blu-ray is a bare bones with no trailer or extras and yet the dvd does have the trailer on it!! Paramount could have done better.
 

lark144

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"I've never understood why Louis Malle's 1980 production, Atlantic City, hasn't had a respectful life on home video."

Me neither.

I saw this film when it came out and was blown away.

I'm going to write a bit about it, mostly for those who haven't seen it, for, as Mr. Harris writes above, this film seems to have been forgotten, as well as difficult to see, until the Blu-Ray was released last year, and since then, very little has been written about it.

It's a very important film, as it combines the intelligence and formal innovation of European films with the grandeur of Hollywood cinema. John Guare's script is phenomenal, the characters have a complexity that makes them jump off the screen, yet they also retain the quality of dreams; maybe because they're all dreamers, just like we are. This is one of the last films made to be projected in a huge cinema on a 100 foot screen. Those people up there, their complexion may be made of stardust, yet the lives they lead and the compromises they make aren't that different from where we are today; in an America whose promise has faded, and one must make do with what remains. In that way, this film is very contemporary.

Oh, but the performances, the dialogue, the filmmaking! Though not as operatic, nor political as "The Conformist", "Atlantic City" reminds me in many ways of Bertolucci's film, especially in the manner it excavates the mythos of Hollywood cinema, to show the reality of flawed, ordinary lives underneath, while somehow recreating that glamor in the shadows we see on the screen. Initially, the film doesn't seem stylish, but it is. Partially it's Atlantic City itself, no matter how ravaged, even here, resembling the Berlin of Rossellini's "Germany Year Zero". But that's how the myth is made, isn't it? When only myth remains, and in that wreckage, dreams reside, the dreams are so potent, that sometimes they take over. It happens in this film. It's also Burt Lancaster. I've never seen him more spare, more poignant, or more aware. The place and the person coincides. Susan Sarandon has never been better, either. Ultimately, though, this film can't be described, but experienced.

Well, I wrote more than I intended. I also bought the Blu-Ray--a pressed disc--from Deep Discount last year. I was expecting it to look like "The Sons of Katie Elder" or "Funeral in Berlin", in other words, electronic and faded, so I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it looked really good. It has clarity and depth and sparkle. The use of light, which is very complex in the film, and has multiple meanings, comes across very well on this Blu-Ray. The images draw you in and grab you, similar to the way they did in a theater. It's an immersive experience.

It would be great if Paramount ultimately decides to give this a 4K scan from the OCN, but in the meantime, this is very close to what I recall of the theatrical experience. Visually, it's all there. I loved the color, the subtlety of it, and the way the sunlight occasionally makes a viewer catch their breath, because the locations and production are generally dark. There's lots of humor as well as passion in this film, which mostly comes across through the cinematography, especially the contrasts. And you can see that on this Blu-Ray.

The minus density, which Mr. Harris mentions, is certainly there, but it didn't bother me. It often does, but not in this case. Maybe because it's fairly minor. It flits in and out occasionally, but doesn't really make it's presence felt. What surprised me the most, in addition to the general positive visual quality of this Blu-Ray, was how well "Atlantic City" holds up as a film. It hasn't lost it's bite, or its fascination. Maybe I'll watch it again tonight.
 
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PMF

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I would gladly double-dip for an improved transfer; be it Criterion or within the “Paramount Presents” series.

“Atlantic City” is a masterpiece; if not of the cinema, then certainly of Mr. Malle’s. A crowning come-back achievement for Mr. Lancaster, as well.
 
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Robert Harris

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"I've never understood why Louis Malle's 1980 production, Atlantic City, hasn't had a respectful life on home video."

Me neither.

I saw this film when it came out and was blown away.

I'm going to write a bit about it, mostly for those who haven't seen it, for, as Mr. Harris writes above, this film seems to have been forgotten, as well as difficult to see, until the Blu-Ray was released last year, and since then, very little has been written about it.

It's a very important film, as it combines the intelligence and formal innovation of European films with the grandeur of Hollywood cinema. John Guare's script is phenomenal, the characters have a complexity that makes them jump off the screen, yet they also retain the quality of dreams; maybe because they're all dreamers, just like we are. This is one of the last films made to be projected in a huge cinema on a 100 foot screen. Those people up there, their complexion may be made of stardust, yet the lives they lead and the compromises they make aren't that different from where we are today; in an America whose promise has faded, and one must make do with what remains. In that way, this film remains very contemporary.

Oh, but the performances, the dialogue, the filmmaking! Though not as operatic, nor political as "The Conformist", "Atlantic City" reminds me in many ways of Bertolucci's film, especially in the manner it excavates the mythos of Hollywood cinema, to show the reality of flawed, ordinary lives underneath, while somehow recreating that glamor in the shadows we see on the screen. Initially, the film doesn't seem stylish, but it is. Partially it's Atlantic City itself, no matter how ravaged, even here, resembling the Berlin of Rossellini's "Germany Year Zero". But that's how the myth is made, isn't it? When only myth remains, and in that wreckage, dreams reside, the dreams are so potent, that sometimes they take over. It happens in this film. It's also Burt Lancaster. I've never seen him more spare, more poignant, or more aware. The place and the person coincides. Susan Sarandon has never been better, either. Ultimately, though, this film can't be described, but experienced.

Well, I wrote more than I intended. I also bought the Blu-Ray--a pressed disc--from Deep Discount last year. I was expecting it to look like "The Sons of Katie Elder" or "Funeral in Berlin", in other words, e;lectronic and faded, so I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it looked really good. It has clarity and depth and sparkle. The use of light, which is very complex in the film, and has multiple meanings, comes across very well on this Blu-Ray. The images draw you in and grab you, similar to the way they did in a theater. It's an immersive experience.

It would be great if Paramount ultimately decides to give this a 4K scan from the OCN, but in the meantime, this is very close to what I recall of the theatrical experience. Visually, it's all there. I loved the color, the subtlety of it, and the way the sunlight occasionally makes a viewer catch their breath, because the locations and production are generally dark. There's lots of humor as well as passion in this film, which mostly comes across through the cinematography, especially the contrasts. And you can see that on this Blu-Ray.

The minus density, which Mr. Harris mentions, is certainly there, but it didn't bother me. It often does, but not in this case. Maybe because it's fairly minor. It flits in and out occasionally, but doesn't really make it's presence felt. What surprised me the most, in addition to the general positive visual quality of this Blu-Ray, was how well "Atlantic City" holds up as a film. It hasn't lost it's bite, or its fascination. Maybe I'll watch it again tonight.
Beautifully said.
 

lark144

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One more thought. This film should be mentioned in the same breath, not only with "The Conformist" but also "Chinatown". Of course, that's my opinion, but I'm not speaking lightly. So for those of you who haven't seen this film and are undecided. Don't be. Just see it.
 

haineshisway

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I thought it was the best film of its year, it's one of Burt Lancaster's greatest performances, and Louis Malle's direction is, to use a rhyme, perfection. For me, this kind of release is shameful in just about every way. This film did very well for Paramount. I'll probably buy it just to have it but I probably shouldn't because they learn NOTHING when we all lay down our coins for these things.
 

JoeDoakes

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I think the release was meant as an object d’arte. What better way to release a film about fascinating characters trapped in a decaying, barely put together city than this release.
 

lark144

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I thought it was the best film of its year, it's one of Burt Lancaster's greatest performances, and Louis Malle's direction is, to use a rhyme, perfection. For me, this kind of release is shameful in just about every way. This film did very well for Paramount. I'll probably buy it just to have it but I probably shouldn't because they learn NOTHING when we all lay down our coins for these things.
The Paramount that "Atlantic City" did well for no longer exists.
 

titch

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The Paramount that "Atlantic City" did well for no longer exists.
That's true, but quite a few of their "Paramount Presents" series have had nice remasterings - Roman Holiday, Fatal Attraction and Trading Places are examples of catalogue titles done with TLC. So they can, if they want to.
 

Robert Harris

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Why would they want to?

Is there anyone left at Melrose that understands film as cinema, as opposed to content?

I fear that we’re about to see their new release of MFL as content, and hope I can report otherwise.
 
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lark144

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Why would they want to?

Is there anyone left at Melrose that understands film as cinema, as opposed to content?

I fear that we’re about to see they’re new release of MFL as content, and hope I can report otherwise.
Exactly, it's all product, so many nuts to so much chocolate. They probably see "Atlantic City" as less marketable than "Roman Holiday" or "Fatal Attraction" because you can't pigeonhole it. What makes it great isn't a star or a story but something more diaphanous, a concurrence of light and place and performers and a moment in time. I read the synopsis on the back of the box and it had almost nothing to do with the film. It made it sound like something tossed off and not that interesting, something exploitative and downbeat, a species of geriatric cinema, with gangsters thrown in as as afterthought. It not only ignored what the film is actually about, it left out everything that makes "Atlantic City" worth seeing.

I saw it again last night. I had forgotten how joyous this film is, in the watching as well as the making. It's especially there in Burt Lancaster's performance, but it's also in the illumination, the compositions, that manic, devil may care smile Susan Sarandon gets on her face, which she never revealed again, the way her limbs seemed made of liquid light. In many ways, "Atlantic City" is a comedy. It has a lot more in common with "Melvin and Howard" then "Goodfellows". John Guare's dialogue has a puckish sense of humor, a pungent feeling of the absurd, and that's reflected in the way Louis Malle directs. The drug dealers and low lives are similar to the angels in "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" as they're bathed in the beatific, yet they're far from Runyonesque. They can be deadly, things can get extreme in the winking of an eye, yet to paraphrase Hitchcock, this film isn't a slice of life, but a piece of cake. It's about providence, how good things happen to those who are looking in the other direction, who have fallen through the cracks. It's Capra with an extra helping of irony. It proves the axiom that a pessimist only gets pleasant surprises. When it's over, you can't help but have a smile on your face.
 
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Dick

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The Golden Child, which even its star, Eddie Murphy referred to as a piece of 'you know what' gets a Paramount Presents new 4K scan and Atlantic City, one of the irrefutable greats from the same period doesn't even rate a new scan on a legit authored new-to-Blu?!?

Guess Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon no longer carry the buying power Eddie Murphy continues to have (and not always deservedly).
 

Robert Harris

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I’ve decided to return this disc to Amazon, and purchase elsewhere as pressed.
 

B-ROLL

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I’ve decided to return this disc to Amazon, and purchase elsewhere as pressed.
While it appears to be pressed at DeepDiscount (Blu-ray logo on the case) it is also on backorder.

1618870429335.png
 

Robert Harris

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Aren’t you the one who said burning or pressing makes no difference, as the data output is exactly the same?

After getting multiple opinions, I’ve gone to the mount. David Mackenzie feels there should be no difference in the files.
 
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