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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Jonathan Demme
USA 1991

From Thomas Harris’ novel, director Jonathan Demme explodes and reconstructs a classic genre, laying a foundation of emotional and political commitment beneath a perfectly constructed psychological thriller. Fourteen years after her controversial role in Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster finally makes the transformation from helpless victim to rescuing hero in this dark, gender-bending fairy tale of an American obsession: serial murder. As Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter, Anthony Hopkins is the archetypal antihero—cultured, quick-witted, uncontainable—a portrait of all the sharpest human faculties gone diabolically wrong. Winner of five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay Adaptation for Ted Tally.

***

A psychopath nicknamed Buffalo Bill is murdering young women across the Midwest. Believing it takes one to know one, the FBI sends Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) to interview a demented prisoner who may provide clues to the killer's actions. That prisoner is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant, diabolical cannibal who agrees to help Starling only if she'll feed his morbid curiosity with details about her own complicated life. This twisted relationship forces Starling not only to face her own inner demons, but leads her face– to–face with a demented killer, an incarnation of evil so overwhelming, she may not have the courage or strength to stop him. Horrific, disturbing, spellbinding. This thriller set the standard by which all others are measured.

Posters (Click to enlarge)

 

Theatrical Release Date: February 13, 1991

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DVD Comparison:

MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion Region 1 NTSC vs. MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC vs. MGM/Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion Region 1 NTSC SECOND

3) MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC THIRD

4) MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

  

 

 
 
 
 
Distribution MGM Home Entertainment (CE)
Region 1- NTSC
 Criterion Collection - Spine #13
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM Home Entertainment (SE)
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM / Fox
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:58:24 1:58:08 1:58:24  1:58:31.604 
Video 1.85:1 Ratio Widecreen Anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 8.49  mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.85:1  Ratio Widecreen
Average Bitrate:  5.88 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.85:1 Ratio Widecreen Anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 4.98  mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 42,968,516,290 bytes

Feature Size: 22,273,204,224 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.06 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-2

  NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes
Bitrate

 

MGM (CE):

Bitrate

 

Criterion:

Bitrate

 

MGM (SE):

Bitrate

 

MGM (Blu-ray):

 

Audio

English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)

English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2764 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2764 kbps / 24-bit
(DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs: Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Thai 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby
Surround

Subtitles English, Spanish, None English or none English Closed Captions, English, French, Spanish, None English (SDH), English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), French, Korean, Spanish, Thai, None
Features Release Information:

Studio: MGM/UA Video

Aspect Ratio:
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen



Edition Details:

Inside the Labyrinth: Making of The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs: Page to Screen (2 Part Documentary)
Jonathan Demme & Jodie Foster (3 Part Documentary)
Scoring the Silence
Original 1991 Making Of Featurette
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes Reel
Anthony Hopkins Phone Message
TV Spots
Photo Gallery
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer

Release Information:

Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by director Jonathan Demme, stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally and FBI agent John Douglas
• Seven deleted scenes
• Film-to-storyboard comparison & Storyboards
• FBI crime classification manual
• Voices of Death: word-for-word statements of convicted serial killers
• Widescreen letterbox format

Release Information:

Studio: MGM/UA Video

Aspect Ratio:
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen



Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer
• 20 minutes of deleted scenes
• Documentary with interviews with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins
• Original making-of featurette
• Outtake reel
• Photo Gallery

- "Inside The Labyrinth" documentary
- Anthony Hopkins' phone message
- Theatrical trailer
- TV spots
- Collectible booklet

Release Information:

Studio: MGM/Fox

 

Disc Size: 42,968,516,290 bytes

Feature Size: 22,273,204,224 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.06 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-2

Edition Details:

Documentaries

Breaking the Silence (1:58:38)
• Understanding the Madness (19:35)

Inside the Labyrinth: Making of The Silence of the Lambs (1:06:29)

The Silence of the Lambs: Page to Screen (2 Part Documentary - 41:17)

Scoring the Silence (15:59)
Original 1991 Making Of Featurette (8:07)

Deleted Scenes

• 20:29 worth of of deleted scenes

Outtakes Reel
• 1:45 worth of
Outtakes

Anthony Hopkins Phone Message (:33)

6 TV Spots
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer

DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2007
Keep Case inside cardboard box
Chapters: 29

DVD Release Date: August 11th, 1998
Keep Case
Chapters: 29

DVD Release Date: August 21, 2001
Keep Case
Chapters: 9

Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 28

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc. 

ADDITION: Blu-ray February 09': NOTE: This is finally listed at Amazon.com and is also available through Amazon.ca (in Canada - that does deliver to the US). I've done my best to match the DVD screen captures but these comparisons are somewhat imperfect (as noted below).

Short summation about the image quality is that - Yes, it is obviously superior, but the older MPEG-2 encode was utilized and it does not produce the definitive image improvement that could have potentially been achieved. The color scheme supports the latest 2-disc MGM and the non-anamorphic Criterion still looks greenish. Detail is improved, skin tones strike a warmer tone (as very often the case with hi-def). I don't know if I can add much more than what my screen captures state. There is some noise still existing, but everything, in general terms, is superior visually to the SD-DVD counterparts. Depending on your system the improvements will vary but I toggled back and forth and it was quite evident that the 1080P transfer had more depth, sharpness and an overall film-like feel. While it is probably not perfect - it is the best I have seen The Silence of the Lambs look in my home theater.

Audio offers a 5.1 DTS-HD Master @ 2764 kbps. It had its moments with some deep bass scares from Howard Shore's original score but while I wouldn't use the term 'aggressive' to describe the track - it did have a nice consistency to it. It doesn't tower over the older MGM 5.1 but did exhibit some improved depth and range to my faulty ears. While an improvement - listeners shouldn't expect a dramatic, blow-your-windows-out mix. It's competent and deeply suspense-inducing. The dialogue is supported with subtitles in a few languages signifying this as a region FREE release (verified elsewhere).

Supplements go the last mile. Breaking the Silence replays the entire film with head shots, boxed in the bottom right corner, of key performers giving scene input. Some of the other documentaries are repeated from past editions and some are new - and in HD! All-in-all there is well over 2.5 hours of material to access with Inside the Labyrinth: Making of The Silence of the Lambs (1:06:29) being the most thorough. There are deleting scenes, outtakes, a documentary on scoring the film, TV Spots, and more. This is surely the most complete digital package of extraneous information on The Silence of the Lambs. The only thing I think we lose if the 'Photo Gallery'. With over 20 Gig of extras using the word 'stacked' to describe the disc supplements would be appropriate.

Okay, bottom line - the MPEG-2 is not ideal, but the Blu-ray is the definitive for transfer quality at present. I'd forgotten how great the film was and seeing it in hi-def intensified the emotions that it evokes. Memorable, almost iconic, performances and a plethora of supplements to peruse. So, as a fan I'd have to say I recommend.       

***

 

ADDITION: MGM - 2-disc Collector's Edition - January 07'.

First point - please forgive us. This was one of our earliest comparisons and hence a reliable methodology had not been adopted - meaning that most of the below screen captures are not exact frame matches. Hopefully there are enough to give a fair representation of each DVD.

Tack onto the above statement that I cannot have positive opinions about many issues regarding these DVDs - especially color. I'll still contend that the Criterion has reddish skin tones and, most likely, had black/red levels boosted to improve sharpness. On advanced systems the, long out-of-print, Criterion will fall short as it is not anamorphic (16X9 enhanced). The new CE has a much higher bitrate and the image appears slightly darker. If I am forced to guess (and in this case it is a guess!) I suspect that the new CE is the best (meaning most theatrically accurate) of the three releases. It shares the DVD with nothing - all supplements on the 2nd disc. It doesn't have the greenish haze of the original MGM and skin tones seem fairly true. I find no evidence of manipulation on the progressive/anamorphic transfer.

Almost 6 years ago MGM put out this film, identifying the DVD as a 'Special Edition'. This new product is labeled 'Collector's Edition' and is stacked with a 2nd disc of supplements although the director commentary on the Criterion is conspicuously absent. With all the extras on a second disc it allows for more information on the first for the film and its image has benefited.

Audio appears duplicated from the original MGM 2001 digital release - a 5.1 English and standard French and Spanish DUBs.

The MGM is loaded with, generally, very good extras (although many are repeated on the old SE) - 3 hours worth of documentaries including Inside the Labyrinth: Making of The Silence of the Lambs (1:03:12), The Silence of the Lambs: Page to Screen (2 Part - 40 minutes), Jonathan Demme & Jodie Foster (3 Part - 52:35), Scoring the Silence (15:00) and the Original 1991 Making Of Featurette (8:00). There are also 22 Deleted Scenes, about 2 minutes of Outtakes, an Anthony Hopkins Phone Message, many TV Spots and some photo galleries. Included in the liner notes are some recipe cards with a Hannibal Lector invitation on one side and instructions for cooking such favorites as Fava Beans, Roast Saddle of Lamb and Deviled Lamb's Tongue - kind of cute addition.

Overall, although I am rarely an MGM fan, I must endorse this new 2-disc CE as a complete and professional package. The film looked and sounded as good as I ever remember, the supplements are interesting and extensive - the only area it falls short is the commentary, which, depending on your enjoyment of the film, might be worthwhile picking up the Criterion used - if only for that. I don't think anyone will be disappointed in this 2-disc DVD. Recommended!    

****

ON THE Criterion vs. Original MGM: This was initially a tough one. At first I would have easily said that the MGM is far superior, but upon closer examination I was unable to make a positive determination regarding the image quality. The MGM has a greenish/yellow tinge to its images (see capture #5) in comparison to the Criterion which has a reddish/pink hue, but the skin tones are more accurate on the MGM (captures #2, 3). The Criterion is darker and video sourced where the MGM is film sourced to the best judgment of my naked eye. As far as I was concerned both discs image quality was acceptable, but viewing on a widescreen television the MGM was the winner being anamorphic and much sharper. On the MGM disc the blacks are pitch black. Neither image has excessive edge enhancement. The MGM has close captioned for the hearing impaired and 5.1 sound, both a bonus over Criterion. The Extras  probably lean toward the Criterion for the commentary, but the MGM has some nice features too with the Foster/Hopkins interviews and short featurettes. Okay, MGM is the winner, but it took them 3 years and 10 days to come up with a better DVD.

Note: I realize that in a couple of these screen captures, I have not got the extract frame. It is as close as I could get and it is within a second of the precise duplicate. 

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menu

MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC - Disc 2

 

 

(Criterion LEFT, MGM Home Entertainment RIGHT)


 

MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray Supplements



CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 NTSC SECOND

3) MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC THIRD

4) MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Capture # 2


1) MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 NTSC SECOND

3) MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC THIRD

4) MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Capture # 3


1) MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 NTSC SECOND

3) MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC THIRD

4) MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Capture # 4

 


1) MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 NTSC SECOND

3) MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC THIRD

4) MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Capture # 5

 


1) MGM (2-disc Collector's Edition) Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Region 1 NTSC SECOND

3) MGM (SE) Region 1 NTSC THIRD

4) MGM / Fox - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Capture # 6

More Blu-ray Captures


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray / Criterion
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DVD Box Covers

 

  

 

 
 
 
 
Distribution MGM Home Entertainment (CE)
Region 1- NTSC
 Criterion Collection - Spine #13
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM Home Entertainment (SE)
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM / Fox
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 




 

 

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