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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Jim Jarmusch
USA / Japan 1989

Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow, and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams—which, in Mystery Train, from Jim Jarmusch, is Memphis. Made with its director’s customary precision and wit, this triptych of stories pays playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins, and, of course, the King, who presides over the film like a spirit. Mystery Train is one of Jarmusch’s very best movies, a boozy and beautiful pilgrimage to an iconic American ghost town and a paean to the music it gave the world.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 6, 1989

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Comparison:

MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Mark Balson and Pavel Borodin for the Screen Caps!

1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

  

 

Distribution

MGM (US)

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM (UK)
Region 2,4 - PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine # 531
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:04 1:45:36 (4% PAL speedup) 1:50:31.666
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.20 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 44,082,048,716 bytes

Feature Size: 32,851,359,744 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.50 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080P

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

Bitrate:

 

MGM (US)

 

Bitrate:

 

MGM (UK)

 

Bitrate:

 

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, none English, none English, English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM (US)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: March 28,2000
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: MGM (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer
 

DVD Release Date: April 28, 2003
Keep case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

Disc Size: 44,082,048,716 bytes

Feature Size: 32,851,359,744 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.50 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
Q&A with Jarmusch in which he responds to questions sent in by fans (1:09:00)
• Excerpts from the 2001 documentary

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on Me (17:40)
• Memphis Tour - Original documentary on the film’s locations and the rich social and musical history of Memphis (17:36)
• On-set photos by Masayoshi Sukita and behind-the-scenes photos
• 26-page liner notes booklet featuring essays by writers Dennis Lim and Peter Guralnick

 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 15th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 11

 

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

ADDITION - Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray May 2010: The Criterion advances handily in all areas - colors, especially skin tones, vastly improve - as does support of the grain structure. The DVDs are hazier and show negligibly less information in the 1.78 and 1.66 frames. In-motion I see an even greater superiority than the static caps below will indicate. The Criterion looks un-manipulated and I doubt this film can look any better in this medium. It has some minor noise that must be more a factor of production limitations and lighting - as otherwise I consider the Criterion flawless in its reproduction.

Criterion remain faithful to the original audio with a lossless linear PCM mono track. It is obviously flat but right from the first sound of the train you can hear greater depth in the bass response. Criterion offer both English and SDH subtitles and, like all Criterion Blu-rays, my Momitsu has identified this disc as being a region 'A'-locked.

As anticipated the Criterion advances in regards to supplements. They offer over an hour of a Q&A with Jarmusch in which he responds to questions sent in by fans. There is 18-minutes of excerpts from the 2001 documentary Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on Me where Mystery Train is predominantly mentioned. Memphis Tour  is an original documentary on the film’s locations and the rich social and musical history of Memphis running 17.5 minutes. I enjoyed this the most with some real grassroots investigation of the locales. There are some On-set photos by Masayoshi Sukita as well as behind-the-scenes photos and the package includes a 26-page liner notes booklet featuring essays by writers Dennis Lim and Peter Guralnick.

It's hard to define Jarmusch films as it seems counter-productive to try to pigeon-hole them. They have there own charisma and Mystery Train embodies it in abundance. It's a perfect title for Criterion to release in 1080P giving the package the attention it deserves. Once again - strongly recommended - I enjoyed this thoroughly!  

***

ON THE DVDs: The UK disc appears to be slightly cropped top and bottom, but also shows a smoother more natural looking transfer. The US disc shows more film grain, but is not sharper or more detailed. The US disc has more subtitles, but looses the trailer that can be found on the UK. Both discs are fairly cheap and I would recommend whichever is cheapest or more convenient. However my choice is the UK disc.

-Mark Balson

I don't see a heck of a lot of difference here. Both transfers look good and the subtitles also look acceptable on both. Taking 1.66 to 1.78 may not be a lot but I would get the Region 1 on principle - Martin is right though - wherever you find the cheapest is the best course.


-
Gary Tooze

 





DVD Menus

(
MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


 

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

 

Subtitle sample

 

1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Screen Captures

 

1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM (US) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (UK) - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

  

 

Distribution

MGM (US)

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM (UK)
Region 2,4 - PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine # 531
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Many Thanks...