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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by David Mamet
USA 1997

Joe Ross is a rising star. He's designed a process that will make his company millions. He wants a bonus for this work, but fears his boss will stiff him. He meets a wealthy stranger, Jimmy Dell, and they strike up an off-kilter friendship. When the boss seems to set Ross up to get nothing, he seeks Dell's help. Then he learns Dell is not what he seems, so he contacts an FBI agent through his tightly-wound assistant, Susan Ricci. The FBI asks him to help entrap Dell. He accepts, a sting is arranged, but suddenly it's he who's been conned out of the process and framed for murder. Bewildered and desperate, he enlists Susan's aid to prove his innocence.

***

Joseph Ross (Campbell Scott) is about to hit the corporate big time. His design process will produce millions for his employers. It is scrupulously guarded. On a fiduciary excursion to the Caribbean he meets a wealthy and mysterious stranger named Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin). A reticent boss and a wanton secretary all add to an essential con-game - but who is conning who?. Mamet's tailor-made dialogue and intricate plot twists will have your gray cells maxing-out till the finale. Probably my favorite David Mamet work and one of the best films of the 90's.  out of

***

Writer-director David Mamet crafted this unusual, Hitchcockian thriller in which no one is who they appear to be. Campbell Scott is Joe Ross, who has just created a "process" that stands to make his company and his boss, Klein (Ben Gazzara), millions of dollars. At a clandestine meeting in the Caribbean, Ross discusses the details of the process with company executives. There, purely by chance, or so he believes, he meets the wealthy, enigmatic Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), and the two strike up an unusual friendship. Dell informs Ross that he's na´ve to believe that his company will fairly compensate him for his valuable work. Upon returning home, Ross becomes paranoid that Dell is right, and he takes steps to protect his invention, becoming unsure if he can trust Klein or even his own love-struck assistant (Rebecca Pidgeon). When Ross discovers that Dell has lied to him about his identity, he contacts the FBI -- he then finds himself set up as a murder suspect who learns, almost too late, to trust no one. The title of the film refers not to any of the characters but to a classic con artist's scam.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: September 8th, 1997 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                                    More Reviews                                                             DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Ammo Content - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC Ammo Content - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:49:48  1:49:46.997 
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.83 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 1080P Sing.-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,133,195,415 bytes

Feature: 23,048,792,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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 Dolby), DUBS: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 2063 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2063 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer (2:00)

DVD Release Date: November 4th, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio:
Ammo Content

 

1.85:1 1080P Sing.-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,133,195,415 bytes

Feature: 23,048,792,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Trailer (2:19)


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 25th, 2019
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Ammo Content Blu-ray (July 2019): Ammo Content transfer David Mamet's brilliant The Spanish Prisoner to Blu-ray. It is in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio showing information in the frame (mostly on the bottom and right edges) as compared to the 2003 DVD. While colors improve (more realistic flesh tones) and the higher resolution augments contrast and depth - the image is still a bit blocky. I don't suspect digitization, but perhaps more of a function of the production - either way texture is not ideal. The image quality, on a single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate, advances over the much older DVD, but it certainly doesn't reach the heights of the format.

NOTE: We have added 36 more large resolution Ammo Content Blu-ray captures for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE.

On their Blu-ray, Ammo Content use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language. Coen go-to composer Carter Burwell (Barton Fink, A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski etc.) does the score for Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner and it's a wonderfully gentle skulking around the narrative with contemplative intent. Ammo Content offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Ammo Content Blu-ray has only a trailer - no commentary, interviews, making of... etc, unfortunately.

One of the most re-watchable 'con' films - and it has an adventurous mystery to it. The Spanish Prisoner has Mamet's keen dialogue hinting at paranoia with twisty hidden secrets eventually revealed It's a recommendation solely for the film and we continue to hope for a more advanced Blu-ray edition one day.

***

The DVD is far less stellar than the brilliant film. Columbia Tri-Star have produced some great DVDs in the past... and some real clunkers. This falls somewhere in the middle. Anamorphic, yet occasionally soft image, colors are a little washed, original audio, gaudy subtitles and no extras. A shame because this film deserved much better.  out of   

Gary W. Tooze


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Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Damage Mark - Ammo Content - Region  'A' - Blu-ray

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

Box Cover

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC Ammo Content - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 



 

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Gary Tooze