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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Rebel With a Cause" )

directed by Tony Richardson
UK 1962

Alan Sillitoe's autobiographical novel about a rebellious 18-year-old living in dreary Lancashire proved to be the perfect material for Tony Richardson to adapt in the early 1960s. The film stars Tom Courtenay as the disaffected Colin Smith, who ends up in a Borstal, or reform school, after robbing a bakery. The Governor (Sir Michael Redgrave), the institution's chief authority, believes in physical training as a means of rehabilitating his charges. Despite his contempt for all authority, Colin one day inadvertently outruns the school's leading long-distance runner, and the Governor immediately assigns him to be trained for an imminent competition with a well-known public school. During his solitary training exercises, Colin flashes back to scenes of his chaotic youth: his father, a blue-collar worker dying of cancer, and his mother, a foul-mouthed harridan, blowing the insurance settlement on a new lover and a new TV. On the day of the big race, the two schools must share a locker room, and Gunthorpe (James Fox), the captain of the opposing team, reflexively wishes Colin good luck. The surprised boy looks at him as though these are the only words of encouragement he's ever received. Courtenay is exceptional in his film debut, exuding the bitterness typical of the director's early 'angry young man' films. Employing jump cuts and undercranked scenes borrowed from the Nouvelle Vague, the film emphasizes the oppressiveness of the boy's environment and the temporary freedom that running offers him.

***

Colin (Tom Courtenay) has no intention of living the stultifying, backbreaking, blue-collar existence that's expected of him, an existence that sapped the life of his miner father. His rebelliousness lands him in Borstal reform school, where his abilities as a long distance runner endear him to the school's headmaster (Michael Redgrave), who pins his hopes of winning a race against a prestigious public school on Colin. This leads to conflict with Colin's friends, who come to doubt his contempt of the establishment. He himself is torn about this predicament. Should he continue what may be a futile fight, or trade his self-respect for some small measure of acceptance? This outstanding drama has been unfairly maligned over the years as being too derivative of the French New Wave, yet if the same film had been made by Truffaut or another Frenchman, it would be hailed today as a masterpiece. The camerawork and performances are top-notch.

Donald Brown

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 8, 1962

Reviews       More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

BFI - Region 2 - PAL vs. Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Donald Brown for the Review!

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

BFI Video

Region 2 - PAL

Warner

Region 1,4 - NTSC

BFI Video

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:39:36 (4% PAL speedup) 1:43:40 1:43:43.675
Video

1.64:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.20 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 24,356,619,832 bytes

Feature Size: 17,993,355,264 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.13 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray VC-1 Video

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

Bitrate:

BFI DVD

 

Bitrate:

Warner

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio English - Dolby Digital 2.0 English - Dolby Digital 2.0 LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles none English and none English and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.64:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Robert Murphy, with interview excerpts with Alan Sillitoe and Tom Courtenay
• Biographies
• Picture Gallery
• Free Cinema (text about film movement)
• Weblinks

DVD Release Date: April 7, 2003
Keepcase

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: February 7th, 2007
Keepcase

Chapters 27

 

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

 

Disc Size: 24,356,619,832 bytes

Feature Size: 17,993,355,264 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.13 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray VC-1 Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Robert Murphy, with interview excerpts with Alan Sillitoe and Tom Courtenay
 Momma Don't Allow (22:05 in HD!)
 Video Essay by cinematographer Walter Lasally on The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner -18:51 in HD!
 18-page liner notes booklet with essays by Philip Kemp and production information

Blu-ray Release Date: March 23rd, 2009
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 15

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Blu-ray - March 09': This is a region 'B' Blu-ray capable of being played on Blu-ray machines in Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia), Oceania and their dependencies.

 

It appears that BFI have only had access to the Warner -supplied Master and this high-definition rendering is, like the North American DVD, in a 1.78 aspect ratio - not the original 1.66:1. On the positive it appears to have quite a bit of supplemental restoration on the picture and audio. The image is brighter - showing more background information in dark scenes and overall the contrast is noticeably improved. Grain is present - heavier in some scenes than in others and the image even displays some surprising depth occasionally. The new hi-def visuals are very impressive in motion.

 

In audio we get the linear PCM purity and it sounds true and clear. It shows the limitations of its original production but is the best I have ever heard it.

 

Supplements add from the previous BFI DVD with the same commentary but two extra featurettes in HD. There is an excellent 20-minute video essay by cinematographer Walter Lasally on The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson's 1955 "Momma Don't Allow" - a Free Cinema documentary also in HD. There is an 18-page liner notes booklet with essays by Philip Kemp and production information.

 

DVDBeaver love older film in high-definition and this is a prime example of great cinema looking and sounding its best in this new format. We encourage production companies to produce more. This Blu-ray is absolutely recommended.    

 

***

ADDITION - Warner - Region 1,4 DVD - February 07': - Okay, there are some plus and minuses. The BFI (now out-of-print) seems to be more faithful to the original aspect ratio of 1.66 and the Warner, although 1.78, only adds information into the frame (on both sides). The dual-layered and 16X9 Warner is far sharper, brighter and with much better contrast. To me the non-anamorphic BFI always looked a little tight and I saw no composition issues with the Warner.

Both have original audio and the Warner offers optional English subtitles.

Extras obviously go towards the BFI with the commentary etc. (see Donald's comments below) where the Warner has only a theatrical trailer.

I suppose the ideal here is to own both - the Warner for the image and the BFI for the extras. Baring that the Warner is offered at a very reasonable price to see this intense film - and for those who feel strongly enough they can eventually seek out the BFI.

***

On the PAL edition:  This is an adequate transfer, with some minor flaws - shadow detail is a bit lacking, and there's a lot of dust early in the film, with it lessening somewhat later on, though appearing steadily. Grain is moderate, sharpness is slightly better than on the open-matte US laserdisc transfer. The commentary offers interesting reflections by writer Sillitoe and star Courtenay, while Murphy contributes some thoughtful musings on the film's making and reception.

 - Donald Brown



DVD Menus

 

(BFI - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC RIGHT)
 

 

Blu-ray Supplements

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray captures

 

 

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

BFI Video

Region 2 - PAL

Warner

Region 1,4 - NTSC

BFI Video

Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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