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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Jim Jarmusch
USA / West Germany 1986

 

Director Jim Jarmusch followed up his brilliant breakout film Stranger Than Paradise with another, equally beloved portrait of loners and misfits in the American landscape. When fate brings together three hapless men—an unemployed disc jockey (Tom Waits), a small-time pimp (John Lurie), and a strong-willed Italian tourist (Roberto Benigni)—in a Louisiana prison, a singular adventure ensues. Described by Jarmusch as a “neo-Beat noir comedy,” Down by Law is part nightmare and part fairy tale, featuring sterling performances and crisp black-and-white cinematography by the esteemed Robby Müller.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 1986

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Pavel Borodin for the Screen Caps!

1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

Box Covers

  

  

Distribution

The Criterion Collection (USA)

Region 1 - NTSC

Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany)
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine #166 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:46:44 1:42:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:46:53.448
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.93 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,449,016,867 bytes

Feature: 22,519,922,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

The Criterion Collection (USA)

Bitrate:

 

Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany)

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono), French DUB (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, French, none German, Dutch, French, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection (USA)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Thoughts & reflections by Jim Jarmusch
• 2002 video interview with director of photography Robby Müller
• 1986 Cannes Film Festival press conference
• 1986 John Lurie interview with commentary
• Outtakes
• Music video of Tom Waits singing Cole Porter's
• Q&A with Jarmusch
• Jarmusch's phone calls with Waits, Benigni, and Lurie
• Isolated music track
• Production Polaroids and Location stills
• Original theatrical trailer
• Optional French dub track, featuring Roberto Benigni
• 2 DVDs

DVD Release Date: October 22, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Regions 2 & 8
• Robby Müller on 'Down by Law'
• Isolated music track
• Jim Jarmusch's phone calls to Tom Waits, Roberto Benigni and John Lurie
• Music Video 'It's Alright With Me'
• Trailers for 'Down by Law' and 'Night on Earth'

 

DVD Release Date: February 25, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection (USA)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,449,016,867 bytes

Feature: 22,519,922,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Thoughts & reflections by Jim Jarmusch (1:13:18)
• 2002 video interview with director of photography Robby Müller (22:39)
• 9-part 1986 Cannes Film Festival press conference
• 16 Outtakes
• Music video of Tom Waits singing Cole Porter's (4:41)
• Q&A with Jarmusch (24:48)
• Jarmusch's phone calls with Waits, Benigni, and Lurie
• Isolated music track
• Production Polaroids and Location stills
• Original theatrical trailer (2:26)
• Optional French dub track, featuring Roberto Benigni

Blu-ray Release Date:
July 17th, 2012
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 36

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (July 2012): The Criterion significantly improves over its own 2002 SD-DVD with brilliant contrast and a notable amount of more information in the 1.78:1 frame (over the Kinowelt as well). Detail rises and the image frequently showcases depth. It's quite a step forward for fans of the film seeing this in such a stellar appearance - contrast rivals any black + white film to Blu-ray that I can think of.

Criterion remains authentically mono via a linear PCM track - and the optional French DUB remains. It looks like extras are the same with the 1/4 hour Thoughts & reflections by Jim Jarmusch as he reminisces about the film. Plus we still get the 22-minute Müller interview, the 9-part 1986 Cannes Film Festival press conference, the 16 Outtakes and more.

I think this is a dramatic upgrade especially for the video which looks pristine and fans should certainly consider double-dipping. Strongly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: The Kinowelt image is slightly sharper and has a little bit more contrast. The Criterion picture is slightly cropped on top, on the left and on the right. Both discs have very strong image quality, but Kinowelt is slightly better.

I suppose that the English soundtracks are the same quality. Criterion includes also the French dub, but I'm not sure if it's an important addition. Criterion has a choice of English or French subtitles. Kinowelt offers German, Dutch or French subtitles. I don't understand why they haven't included English subtitles.

The Kinowelt DVD includes very good special features (especially the outtakes and very interesting lengthy interview with cameraman Robby Müller), but it's only a part of the amount offered by Criterion. Here, Criterion obviously wins.

 - Pavel Borodin


Menus

(The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) The Criterion Collection (USA) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

Box Covers

 

  

Distribution

The Criterion Collection (USA)

Region 1 - NTSC

Kinowelt Home Entertainment (Germany)
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine #166 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion Blu-ray

 


 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...