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Skatetown USA (1979)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kyrsten Brad, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 13 Sep 26, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
    Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Cinematographer

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    30CE9B1A-5FDB-43CD-9C1A-136FEEB9475B. Well folks, it took four decades but we finally got a high definition home media release of what had become a holy grail cult classic from the era of disco films which sought to forever destroy humankind’s sense of good taste. Skatetown USA (1979), two copies no less, arrived at my humble Florida abode.


    A film that should now be added to the library of every Patrick Swayze fan and finally setting to rest the rumors that Patrick himself bought up all rights to this film for the sole purpose of burying it forever (music rights was the actual main holdup).

    Now on with my semi-technical review.

    Opening the case finds a Blu-ray Disc with a simple black on white label “SKATETOWN USA”. No booklet or a extra DVD disc.

    First there is no menu whatsoever with this Blu-ray. Just pop it in and it starts playing. Possibly Sony just wanted to get this out the door as quickly as possible before someone somewhere tried to get it held up for some other rights issue.

    Sadly there are no extras. Too bad because some of the behind the scenes stories (particularly from Maureen McCormick and Scott Baio) would make for some real interesting reading and viewing. But if you’re willing to do some searching, the stories are out there.

    The first thing that jumps out at you once the film gets going is the color saturation. Wonderful color, almost to a point of over saturation. But considering the locations and abundance of colorful flashing lights & colorful outfits on the skaters, this would be expected.

    The disc is formatted in a full 16x9 format (1.77:1 AR) so this film will fill your screen. I don’t really remember what the AR was during original theatrical presentation but there are some 35mm prints extant which are occasionally shown at avant-garde film boutique theaters.

    Picture Quality on this Blu-ray is for the most part top notch with very few exceptions. One exception is where the “New Horizon” Skate team is being introduced and where the white Afro DJ with his magic lasers changes their clothes into their white tuxedo costumes. It seemed like the camera operator slapped a white screen star filter over the lens which had slightly degraded the image quality. But overall the PQ looks to be top notch Blu-ray quality and quite clean.

    Audio wise, my AVR indicated a stereo soundtrack. Sound was quite good but I might try tweaking the bass setting up a bit to get more of that disco beat. I do feel that this film might have benefited from a 5.1 remaster but obviously Sony didn’t want to put that kind of extra effort into the transfer.

    Speaking of which, I don’t yet know what source materials were used for the transfer but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Sony had gone back to the OCN. I’ll be doing some research to see what source elements were used but eyes and ears more learned than mine (looking at you @Robert Harris ) could probably tell us more.

    It bears repeating that this Blu-ray should be in the library of every Patrick Swayze fan and fan of 1970s decade cult classic films.
    Now hoping and looking forward to a RAH “ A Few Words” review.

    Viewed on : Vizio P759 Quantum (75”).
    Player: Sony UBP X700 4K Blu-ray Player.


    Image – 4.85

    Audio – 4.5

    Upgrade from Crummy Bootleg DVD - Absolutely! One should be arrested for stupidity if he/she does not upgrade

    Pass / Fail – Pass with flying colors (literally).

    Very Highly Recommended
     
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  2. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    Sounds like this release is from Sony's relatively new MOD programme. Initially known as the Choice Collection and using burned BDs, Sony has now switched to pressed BDs to universal acclaim, apart from the lack of extras. Several of Sony's Morgan Creek acquisitions have been released this way.
     
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  3. David Norman

    David Norman Producer

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    From the ashes of the nearly universally despised Sony Choice "will it play of will it not" lottery to the same excellent program from Allied Vaughn that has handled the Warner Archive pressed MOD BD releases for years as well as the non exclusive Warner US 3D releases for over 2 years. Sony and Warner have so far far done a very good job at supplying excellent transfers for their discs through A-V. Simple plain cases, plain/no disc art, plain and sometimes irregular Case art, no slipcovers, but excellent quality discs.

    Universal BD is also part of this pressed MOD line from Allied Vaughn, but has put much less effort into their program and has released several discs with old and at best adequate transfers -- some good releases, some adequate, and some downright abysmal efforts.
     
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  4. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Sony is one of the few studios that takes a great deal of pride in their catalog, always striving to provide the best transfer possible. Where they do occasionally fall down is with their Morgan Creek releases, but that is not Sony's fault, it is MC's as they are the ones providing the transfers.
     
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  5. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    It's not even that: it's that when MC compresses, they go for as small a file as possible, resulting in macroblocking and other artefacts.
     
  6. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    I've reviewed a few of the MC-licensed releases, and they all appear to have rather dated transfers.
     
  7. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Cinematographer

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    Well that might explain the lack of a menu and total lack of extras. Like I was saying too bad. The behind the scenes stories would make for a whole extra movie.

    Still trying to deduce the source materials from whence this transfer came. Guess a nice letter or email to Sony might work.

     
  8. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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  9. KPmusmag

    KPmusmag Screenwriter
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    Brad, I just have to say I am sincerely happy that this happened for you.
     
  10. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Ruth Buzzi on Skatetown USA: "

    "Flip Wilson and Patrick Swayze were great and we had fun making this film. My best scenes ended up being cut in favor of cute little sexy types...but that was their loss. The director had a lot of distractions at that time, too...it could have been a much better film."
     
  11. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Cinematographer

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    A little veiled shade from Ms. Ruth?

    According to Maureen McCormick, the cocaine flowed hard and fast on that set.
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Cocaine in a disco?!
     
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  13. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Never mind that, Ruth Buzzi in a disco?
     
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