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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by John Schlesinger
USA 1969

"...I'm go'in where the weather suits my clo-oooo-thes..."

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Jon Voight portrays Joe Buck, a real (or unreal) 'Cowboy', who, as a young man, relocates to New York with dreams of being a gigolo to wealthy older women - as he describes it a 'hustla'. The big city quickly eats up the small town boy and spits him out in the direction of Enrico Salvatore 'Ratso' Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) - a character formed by the harsh realities and required survival traits to exist in the Big Apple. A budding friendship akin to 'Laurel and Hardy' evolves - two bumblers who we can't help but develop a huge soft spot for. Their struggle becomes ours as they seek the necessities of life and dare to dream of a better existence.

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I would say that Voight and Hoffman have never been better on screen. They play in perfect balance to each other and Schlesinger's direction is nothing short of inspirational. Often forgotten, this masterpiece was groundbreaking for its day and any day. It was a surprise best picture Oscar winner. It tackled issue such as homelessness, insanity, sex-trade, drugs and death. Compliment all this with possibly the most memorable soundtrack (Harry Nilsson) you will hear in a decade. Those who watch "Midnight Cowboy" never forget it and the film deserves its distinct place in cinema history. out of

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 1969

Reviews         More Reviews         DVD Reviews

Comparison:

MGM - Region 2 - PAL vs. MGM (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Maarten de Haas for the PAL Screen Caps!

1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

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

 

Box Covers

 

   

  

Distribution

MGM

Region 2 - PAL

MGM (2-disc SE)
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region 1 - NTSC

MGM

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:48:21 (4% PAL speedup) 1:53:08 1:53:00 1:53:21.252
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7,66 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.82:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.53 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,571,446,514 bytes

Feature: 39,351,828,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.70 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

MGM (r2)

 

Bitrate:

 

MGM (SE - R1)

Bitrate:

 

MGM (R1)

 

Bitrate:

 

 Blu-ray

 

Audio Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, DUBS: French, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround German, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Italian, Dolby D English (Dolby Digital 5.1),English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)

English (Dolby Digital 4.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3628 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3628 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
DTS Audio Italian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles Danish, Dutch, English, English HoH, Finnish, French, German, German HoH, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish English, French, Spanish, and none English, French and Spanish, English (hoh), French (hoh) and Spanish (hoh), none English (SDH), Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2000
Keepcase

Chapters 30

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 1.82:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by producer Jerome Hellman
• Documentary: "After Midnight - Reflections on the Classic" (30:00)
• Documentary: "Controversy and Acclaim" (9:35)
• Featurette: "Celebrating Schlesinger" (10:08)
• Photo gallery

• 6 giant sepia postcards
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DVD Release Date: February 21st, 2006
Digipak inside cardboard thick box

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer

• 8-Page Collectible Booklet
 

DVD Release Date: re-release date - Sept, 2004 (original Jan 27th, 1999)
Keepcase

Chapters 31

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,571,446,514 bytes

Feature: 39,351,828,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.70 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by producer Jerome Hellman
• Documentary: "After Midnight - Reflections on the Classic" (29:02)
• Documentary: "Controversy and Acclaim" (10:09)
• Featurette: "Celebrating Schlesinger" (9:36)

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Blu-ray Release Date: January 24th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray Box

Chapters 28

 

Comments

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray (January 12'): Without some extensive restoration/cleaning to remove the minor speckles and scratches - THIS is as good as Midnight Cowboy is going to look for Home theater usage. Schlesinger's masterpiece was never meant to paint a 'pretty' or glossy picture. The gritty nature of the visuals export the magnificent vérité aura of the film experience. The grain is heavy... and wonderful. Any noise morphs well into texture and I think the image quality, despite the imperfections, is absolutely magnificent. The dual-layered transfer with a high bitrate adds a few more layers to the contrast and detail only marginally jumps. This is more about the film-like qualities being set free - and with the high bitrate - we can see Midnight Cowboy in its closest to theatrical state. The SD-medium was always a dead-loss at presenting this film.  

I rank the original music by the master John Barry in Midnight Cowboy as some of the best ever put to film with 'Toots' Thielman's harmonica - and add Harry Nilsson's efforts and we have a veritable festival of iconic scores - all in one film soundtrack. The Blu-ray presents it as a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3628 kbps. The uncompressed expression is hard to describe in words - it is pure, clean, tight... and rides alongside the film with pristine perfection. I doubt I could find a more fitting match for film and music. Although there is not much separation. There are a host of optional subtitles and this is the same region FREE MGM Blu-ray release that has been for sale via Best Buy Exclusives since the middle of 2011 but this is the first time it has officially reached Amazon in North America. The Canadian Amazon will ship worldwide.

Extras offer the previously released audio commentary by producer Jerome Hellman and three video pieces; a documentary: "After Midnight - Reflections on the Classic" running almost 1/2 an hour, another entitled "Controversy and Acclaim" for 10-minutes and the featurette: "Celebrating Schlesinger" where Hoffman, Voight and others extol the brilliance of Schlesinger. These are excellent and worth revisiting.

Okay - here is the final selling point of a Blu-ray package I already consider essential - it's only a shade over $10. A 'sawbuck' for one of the greatest films... ever made. This has our most heart-felt endorsement - an ageless film that only grows to higher status with repeat viewings.  Buy now...

***

ADDITION: - Region 1 - Special Edition - February 06' - Well, its 2006 and to think that MGM would be putting a Best Picture - Oscar winning film to digital in anything but progressive/high definition would be incredible to believe... but they did it. This is really shameful and disappointing.

The negative: the image has no more clarity/detail than the previous NTSC release although it is anamorphic.

The positive are that the colors appear to have improved drastically and look more in line with the PAL edition (skin tones especially). The extras - actually - only the commentary is a valuable addition. Hellman is soft-spoken and brings quite a lot of good information to the viewing. This is the biggest plus to this package.

The non-progressive transfer of the SE (non HD) will have a tendency to look very poor on excellent viewing systems but the combing may not be as visible on tubes. But we expect this DVD to physically last a lot longer than most peoples tube TVs. You will upgrade one day and this image may look unwatchable.

Get a load of the Extra disc - its 2.25 Gig (of 4.7 single or 9.4 dual). It could have easily fit on the first disc (which is only 5.5 Gig). Actually both documentaries and the featurette (which don't all add up to an hour) look all to have been filmed at the exact same time - interviewed actors and directors are all wearing the same clothes in all three supplements! the final kicker are the 6 large sepia postcards included in the DVD package.

To be honest I had a strong feeling about this release, but regardless it is still a very large disappointment. We can only hope that the trend of Warner buying off MGM titles continues with this one.

NOTE: MIDNIGHT COWBOY - Based on the screen captures, the color is most accurate with the PAL edition, as I have seen this in 35mm on a few occasions and the old Criterion Collection 12" LaserDisc was as accurate. As a matter of fact, the Laser was at the correct 1.66 X 1 aspect ratio and remains one of the best Lasers they ever issued. Also, in the opening of the 1.85 X 1 MGM copies, you can see the frame being scrolled up and down so you don't miss any of the credits, which is a disaster! Mr. Hellman's commentary is likely the one from the Criterion Laser, which is outstanding. As for the sound, I can't imagine the PAL not sounding the best of the three DVDs, as the 4.0 on the older MGM DVD was not as good as the PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Mono from Criterion's Laser (which sounded richer) and doubt the NTSC 5.1 was any better. Why no DTS? The film was issued in optical mono sound back in 1969 and it was only for its 25th Anniversary that the film was upgraded to Dolby analog SR (Spectral Recording) stereo, which especially benefited the classic song "Everybody's Talkin'" by Nilsson and the amazing score by John Barry (that also includes some great vocal cuts) as they were recorded in stereo and exceptionally so. The new Special Edition set was made to cash in on BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, but Sony needs to do this right (and at the right aspect ratio) for Blu-ray. More extras would not hurt, either, especially for one of the greatest films ever made!

Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com

****

This is a disgrace. Both releases have some huge problems. The uneven cropping (which I believe to be the fault of the Region 2 edition mostly) seems very hap-hazard - its all over the place! Sometimes the NTSC is losing image on the bottom, mostly the PAL is losing image on the left edge. The captures are all 'first frame' so we know them to be accurate.

Color balance seems to be off on both editions as well. Skin tones can look terribly red in some scenes (on  both!). Even though the PAL edition is anamorphic - it is much hazier. The Region 2 has some contrast boosting and the NTSC looks like it has a green gauze over the image. This is a fantastic film and I can't believe that MGM won't invest a bit of cash and but out a decent transfer (with some extras) for this BEST PICTURE (1969). It is really shameful!

 - Gary W. Tooze


Menus

MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC

 

 

Disc 2- MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC

 



(MGM - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

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

 

 


Screen Captures

 

MGM DVD is interlaced - see combing

 

1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

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

 

 


1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

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

 


1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

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

 


1) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) MGM (SE) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

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

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Region 1 (SE) / Blu-ray
Box Covers

 

   

  

Distribution

MGM

Region 2 - PAL

MGM (2-disc SE)
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region 1 - NTSC

MGM

Region FREE - Blu-ray



 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...