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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Norman Mailer
USA 1987

 

After a two week bender, Tim Madden awakens one morning from his drunken state, only to discover everything in his life seems amiss. There's a fresh tattoo on his arm, his car is covered in blood, his girlfriend is in bed with the town sheriff, but worst of all, there's a woman's severed head in his weed stash. Sensing a setup and in desperate need to clear his name, Tim begins an investigation, with the help of his dying father, that soon begins to expose an ever stranger web of corruption, greed, blackmail, and violence woven into every aspect of the small coastal community of Provincetown.

The last feature film directed by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Norman Mailer, TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE is a wild, labyrinthian, neo-noir black comedy starring Ryan O'Neal (Love Story) alongside acclaimed actors Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet), Wings Hauser (Vice Squad), Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs), and more. Equal parts brutally violent, suspenseful, and blisteringly funny.

***

Deserted husband and ex-drug dealer Tim Madden (O'Neal) wakes from a hangover to find gore all over his car, a new tattoo on his arm, and a severed head in his drug stash. The only person he can turn to is his old dad (Tierney), who has his work cut out deep-sixing heads and corpses in the ocean. Police Chief Regency (Hauser), involved with Madden's chippie wife and married to Madden's old flame (Rossellini), is out to fit him up for the murders, but has an epileptic fit in his Green Beret uniform instead.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 16th, 1987 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Vinegar Syndrome - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

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Distribution Vinegar Syndrome - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:49:34.442        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,748,922,557 bytes

Feature: 32,567,792,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2167 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2167 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 / DN -27dB
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Vinegar Syndrome

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,748,922,557 bytes

Feature: 32,567,792,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Commentary by Justin Bozung author of The Cinema of Norman Mailer: Film is Like Death

"You Don't Have to Make Me Any Nuttier" - brand new interview with actor Wings Hauser (16:55)
"Shooting In Helltown" - brand new interview with cinematographer John Bailey (16:39)
"My Dad In Motion" - an interview with Michael Mailer, son of director Norman Mailer (5:52)
"A Crazy, Wild, Spooky Movie" - Brand new interview with J. Michael Lennon, Norman Mailer's archivist and biographer (15:57)
"Archival Featurette: Norman Mailer in Provincetown" (29:46)
Theatrical trailer (1:55)
Reversible cover artwork


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 28th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside hard slipcase

Chapters 6

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray (September 2021): Vinegar Syndrome have transferred Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance to Blu-ray. It is cited as being "newly restored in 2K from its 35mm interpositive". It's on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. It looks good - grain support, depth, decent detail - I image this is a very accurate representation of the source. The 1080P presentation is in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and colors (flesh tones) seem true and the overall HD image is consistent and clean. It looks quite pleasing.   

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Vinegar Syndrome use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (16-bit) in the original English language. Tough Guys Don't Dance has only a few aggressive moments that come through with modest depth. There is a subtle score by Angelo Badalamenti (many David Lynch films including Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks- Fire Walk With MeWild at Heart Mulholland Drive, and The Straight Story among others. He's also done the score for Schrader's Auto-Focusand other films like 44 Inch ChestThe Edge of Love, The Comfort of Strangers etc.) sounding clean with consistent dialogue in the lossless transfer. Vinegar Syndrome offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Although not advertised, the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray offers a commentary by Justin Bozung author of The Cinema of Norman Mailer: Film is Like Death. He can relate much of Mailer's style proclivities including Cubism, blondes and women in white, his filmmaking intent, pointed dialogue, how the house in the opening scene was actually Mailer's house in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He discusses Mailer's fascination with the American serial killer Tony Costa aka 'The Cape Cod Casanova' who committed murders around the Massachusetts town of Truro in 1969. Kurt Vonnegut write an essay about it. Justin relates details of Mailer's novel and any differences or short cuts made in the film. He identifies Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame.) It's a very good commentary mostly focusing on details of Mailer. Vinegar Syndrome add a ton more with four interviews; "You Don't Have to Make Me Any Nuttier" spends 17-minutes with actor Wings Hauser as he recalls the production of Tough Guys Don't Dance. "Shooting In Helltown" is another 17-minute, brand new, interview with cinematographer John Bailey (In the Line of Fire) as he relates his contribution and working with Mailer. "My Dad In Motion" is a 6-minute interview with Michael Mailer, son of director Norman Mailer and "A Crazy, Wild, Spooky Movie" is a brand new 1/4 hour interview with J. Michael Lennon, Norman Mailer's archivist and biographer (Norman Mailer: A Double Life.) There is a 1/2 hour archival featurette: "Norman Mailer in Provincetown" from 2003 directed by
Greg Carson. It's quite good showing a fascinating depth to the American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, activist, filmmaker and actor - who passed away four years after the documentary. There is a theatrical trailer and reversible cover artwork housed in a hard slipcase.

 

Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance is described somewhere as "Raymond Chandler on LSD" (I think mentioned in the commentary.) It is certainly in the Noir vein with flashbacks, ex-con, murder, femme fatale(s), Lawrence Tierney! and easily can be labeled a Neo-noir. It intentionally parallels The Maltese Falcon and fans of the dark cinema will love the conventions and biting dialogue:

 

"You're not a real blonde"

"My pussy hair was bright gold in high school... until I went out and scorched it with the football team."

 

Tough Guys Don't Dance is an odd film - plenty of interpersonal tension - but that can be an appealing trait. Perhaps more Noir 'style over substance' but I enjoyed my viewing. It was unjustly panned by critics on release. The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray has the film looking as good as it probably can in this format, a revealing commentary, interviews and a documentary tied together in a very nice package. Great job by Vinegar Syndrome bringing this to 1080P with their usual care and completeness. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Vinegar Syndrome - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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