Quick Take: Breaking Away

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ken_McAlinden, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    This is a wonderful sleeper hit from 1979 that went on to win an Oscar for best screenplay with nominations for best picture, director and supporting actress. It has uniformly good to great performances, some very amusing dialog, and a poignant coming of age story at its center.

    Fox has released this as a double sided single layer disc with both an anamorphic widescreen and a full frame transfer. Not a lot was done to clean up the film elements in the video realm, so there are a lot of visible film artifacts in the presentation that are indicative of the film's low budget origins. The widescreen presentation looks extremely tightly framed at the top. I'm not sure whether it was just poor framing for the widescreen frame or an error in the video transfer, but heresy though it may be, you might actually appreciate this film more in full frame. (Pause to cover head and don flame-suit)

    The box indicates a "stereo surround" soundtrack, but the DD2.0 stereo soundtrack does not contain the flags to tell your receiver to engage pro-logic decoding. The original mono soundtrack is included in DD2.0 mono as well. The audio elements are in similar condition to the video with limited fidelity. The stereo remix adds a little ambience during music passages (there are two very memorable ones involving a bike race set to "The Marriage of Figaro" and a serenade) and crowd scenes (the final race). The announcer's voice during the climactic race is actually drowned out somewhat in the new mix, and overall, I preferred the mono.

    Extras consist of a trailer and some TV spots.

    The film is too good not to own (especially given its budget price), but this will not be confused with a reference quality transfer. As far as 1979 classics on DVD go, this one looks more like "The Muppet Movie" or "Life of Brian" than "Aliens" or Apocalypse Now".

    Regards,
     
  2. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    I've been begging for this for a couple of years now. I just bought it last night. I think I'll still try the widscreen side though.[​IMG]
    Interesting that Ron gave a glowing review of the Sandlot transfer, and this one came up short. Maybe because there's about 10 years of film degradation going on here.
    Our local Paper's video reviewer gave a write up on the FOX Family Collection. Mentioning that Sandlot, My Bodyguard, etc. were basically all charming stories about growing up. But he gave extra special mention of Breaking Away, stating that the performances, and story set this one apart from the rest of the pack, and belonged in a class by itself.
    I hope HTFrs, in their glee at having The Sandlot, don't ignore this absolutely beautiful film out of forgetfulness. It appears that BA is getting overshadowed here.
     
  3. Charles Guajardo

    Charles Guajardo Stunt Coordinator

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    sometimes you have to forget about jaggies, dirty negatives, and non-existant surrounds for a truly great movie. I'm glad its out on dvd, I honestly thought it never would be. Thank you, Fox! Now someone get crackin' on Dogfight.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Ken,

    I'm going to check out this dvd on Sunday after watching "The Sandlot" today which had an excellent dvd presentation. "The Sandlot" was filmed in 1993 compared to the 1979 "Breaking Away". Anyhow, the latter film is also special to me because I lived in Bloomington, Indiana for a number of years from the mid-1980's to the late 1990's. A great college town!

    Crawdaddy
     
  5. Christian Dolan

    Christian Dolan Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert,

    I lived in B-Town for five years ('92-'97). I now live in the next best thing (Portland, OR), but my friends and I still watch Breaking Away once a year.

    -Christian
     
  6. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    I saw this in the theater as a kid and its been one of my faves ever since.

    Its a great movie and if you like it you should buy it because I truly doubt youll ever see it look or sound better.

    As for the sound, I STILL prefer a 2.0 mix for movies like this instead of 5.1
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I agree with Ken that the framing seemed a little tight when watching the widescreen transfer of Breaking Away. I did not compare the p&s (or is it open matte?) version -- I just can't bring myself to flip these dual-format discs over. [​IMG]
    However, as everyone here has stated, this film is too good to pass up because of the less than stellar transfer. I first saw this movie in a college film class in 1981, and it's been a favorite of mine ever since.
     
  8. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  10. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Paul Dooley & Dennis Christopher were reunited on a Law & Order episode this year, as father and son. I caught the last few minutes of the rerun tonight.
    They were not the charming pair they played 24 years ago in Breaking Away.
     
  11. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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    My wife and I lived in Btown from 97-01...went to graduate school there. What a great college town!

    Look forward to this DVD...
     
  12. R. Kay

    R. Kay Second Unit

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    My favorite movie ever. Originally saw it when I was 13.

    It's a shame that Dennis Christopher's career didnt progress. He was awesome in this movie.
     

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