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directed by Rob Epstein
USA 19
84

A true twentieth-century trailblazer, Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world. The Oscar-winning The Times of Harvey Milk, directed by Robert Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen, was as groundbreaking as its subject. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it’s a work of advocacy itself, bringing Milk’s message of hope and equality to a wider audience. This exhilarating trove of original documentary material and archival footage is as much a vivid portrait of a time and place (San Francisco’s historic Castro District in the seventies) as a testament to the legacy of a political visionary.

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Theatrical Release: January 1985 - US Film Festival

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Comparison:

New Yorker - Region 1- NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

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

 

DVD Box Cover

  

Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1- NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 557 -Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:27:42  1:28:11.327 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.28 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 48,721,068,655 bytes

Feature Size: 17,735,571,456 bytes

Average Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

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

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 2070 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2070 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Subtitles None English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Video

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Rob Epstein, Deborah Hoffman, and Daniel Nicoletta
• Theatrical trailers
• 25th Anniversary Events: Harry Britt, Harvey Milk's appointed successor; Chris Moscone, George Moscone's son; Stuard Milk, Harvey Milk's nephew; Candlelight Memorial
• 1st Anniversary: Mayor Dianne Feinstein
• Outtakes Featurette: Harvey Speaks Out
• Dan White Update (4:03)
• Alternate Ending
• San Francisco Premiere - Castro Theatre
• Rob Epstein and Tom Ammiano at the Director's Guild Los Angeles (16:00)
• Academy Awards Presentation - 1985
• Filmmakers' Photo Gallery
• Number of discs: 2

DVD Release Date: June 8th, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio:
 Criterion Collection

 

Disc Size: 48,721,068,655 bytes

Feature Size: 17,735,571,456 bytes

Average Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

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

 

Edition Details:
• Director-approved digital transfer, from the UCLA Film and Television Archive restoration
• Audio commentary featuring director Robert Epstein, coeditor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel Nicoletta
• Interview clips not used in the film
• New interview with documentary filmmaker Jon Else (19:48)
• New program about The Times of Harvey Milk and Gus Van Sant’s Milk, featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and Milk friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and Nicoletta (22:57)
• Rare collection of audio and video recordings of Milk
• Excerpts from Epstein’s research tapes, featuring Milk partner Scott Smith (1:19:53)
• Footage from the film’s Castro Theatre premiere and the 1984 Academy Awards (7:36)
• Panel discussion on Supervisor Dan White’s trial (4:05)
• Excerpts from the twenty-fifth anniversary commemoration of Milk’s and Mayor George Moscone’s assassinations (22:57)

• Postscript (2:41)

Harvey Britt (9:49)

Candlelit Memorial (7:20)
• Original theatrical trailer (3:16)
• 30-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic B. Ruby Rich, a tribute by Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, and a piece on the film’s restoration by UCLA’s Ross Lipman

Blu-ray Release Date:
March 22nd, 2011
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 16

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' Blu-ray: March 2011: Firstly, this Criterion Blu-ray is described as a "Director-approved digital transfer, from the UCLA Film and Television Archive restoration" and although The Times of Harvey Milk is filled with imperfect vintage news clips of inferior quality is a wonderful example of the difference between SD vs. HD quality. The Blu-ray image has thick, textured grain and colors are rich and full unlike the flatter, and boosted, DVD appearance. It is a pretty dramatic difference visually.

The audio is in a DTS-HD Master and while there are no effects or aggression - the narration and dialogue from older clips seems much more discernable than the older DVD. As well, Criterion have included optional subtitles to aid in this. As with all Criterion Blu-rays to date - this is region 'A'-locked.

The same audio commentary from the New Yorker DVD is available - featuring director Robert Epstein, coeditor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel Nicoletta discussing Milk and the film process. It is quite good. There are some interview clips not used in the film including a 3-minute 'Postscript' that was eventually removed from the final version. Harry Britt was appointed to succeed Harvey Milk as Supervisor. He was a human rights activist, like Milk, and was in his position for 5 more years. We get a 10-minute excerpt of a speech Britt delivered in 2003 for an event marking the 25th Anniversary of Milk's assassination. Included are news clips and a Panel Discussion on Dan White who served 5 years in prison (2 years later, in October 1985, he committed suicide) - participants in the discussion clips of his trial include his two attorneys and the deputy district attorney recorded at the University of San Francisco. We see an 8 minute video piece on the film’s Castro Theatre premiere and the 1984 Academy Awards - where it won best documentary. The largest extra are, 1 hour 20-minutes worth of, excerpts from Epstein’s research tapes, featuring Milk partner Scott Smith that also include 6 people's interviews not included in the film and 5 of Milk's colleagues representing a range of gay life and social politics in San Francisco. There are also some audio and video recordings on events that shaped his political activism. There are 23-minutes of excerpts from the twenty-fifth anniversary commemoration of Milk’s and Mayor George Moscone’s assassinations, a 7.5 minute Candlelit Memorial, theatrical trailer and a new 23-minute program about The Times of Harvey Milk and Gus Van Sant’s Milk, featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and Milk friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and Nicoletta. lastly is a 30-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic B. Ruby Rich, a tribute by Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, and a piece on the film’s restoration by UCLA’s Ross Lipman included in the transparent keep case.

Simply put this is a great documentary - one of the best I've ever seen and Criterion have added value to their package with the vastly improved a/v transfer, added subtitles and plethora of supplements. We very strongly recommend!


***

ON THE NEW YORKER DVD: To commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Harvey Milk's assassination, Telling Pictures and New Yorker Films have released this special DVD edition of Rob Epstein's landmark documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, with commentary by Rob and editor Deborah Hoffmann. 

Decent dual layered DVD from New Yorker. The image is as good as can be expected for this format of a relatively low budget independent documentary film. Colors are a bit faded - some of the archival footage is damaged slightly but it has no effect on viewing enjoyment. Audio is clear. I would have preferred subtitles as an option to translate some background dialogue in newsreel footage. The Extras are endless, with commentary and a whole 2nd disc of detailed information. I would rank this up there with New Yorker "Jazz on a Summer's Day" as perhaps their best DVD release to date. This is a must-own disc. It is as eye-opening and enjoyable as any film/DVD I have seen all year.    out of    

Gary W. Tooze



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1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

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1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

 


1) New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

 


DVD Box Cover

  

Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1- NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 557 -Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA