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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by John Schlesinger
USA 1976

 

Is it safe? From the best-selling novel by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Misery) comes one of the most daring and affecting thrillers ever brought to the screen. Dustin Hoffman (Papillon) plays the likable graduate student and marathon runner of the title, unwillingly trapped in a killing game of intrigue involving a Nazi fugitive, Christian Szell. Laurence Olivier (Sleuth) received an Academy Award nomination for his chilling portrayal of Szell, who turns dental instruments into tools of torture with dispassionate ease. Directed by John Schlesinger (Billy Liar, Midnight Cowboy, The Day of the Locust), Marathon Man moves with nail-biting suspense to its gripping, fever-pitched conclusion. Featuring Roy Scheider (Jaws), William Devane (Rolling Thunder), Marthe Keller (Black Sunday) and the extraordinary cinematography of Conrad Hall (Electra Glide in Blue).

***

Doc Levy (Roy Scheider) is an American secret agent who has been running interference between the U.S. government and escaped Nazi war criminal Szell (Laurence Olivier). Believing that Doc has stolen a valuable cache of gems, Szell emerges from his South American hiding place and heads for New York. He has Doc killed, then kidnaps Doc's in-the-dark brother, Babe (Dustin Hoffman). Repeating the phrase "Is it safe?" over and over, Szell, a onetime concentration camp dentist, tries to extract information from Babe by performing sadistic "oral surgery" upon him. Babe, who still doesn't know about the gems, escapes, breaking his own self-imposed rule of non-violence to defend himself against his pursuers and gearing up for sadistic revenge.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 6th, 1976

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 2:05:22.681        
Video

1.85:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 88,372,203,902 bytes

Feature: 87,911,289,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 76.48 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

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

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1945 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1945 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2892 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2892 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

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

 

1.85:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 88,372,203,902 bytes

Feature: 87,911,289,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 76.48 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson

DISC 2 (Blu-ray):
• Brand New 2022 HD Master – From a 4K Scan of the 35mm Original Camera Negative
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
• The Magic of Hollywood: Original Making of Marathon Man (21:15)
• Going the Distance: Remembering Marathon Man (29:07)
• Rehearsal Footage (21:06)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:39)
• 10 TV Spots (5:53)
• 2 Radio Spots (1:05)


4K Ultra HD Release Date: February 28th, 2023
Black 4K Ultra HD Case

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Kino 4K UHD (March 2023): Kino's have released John Schlesinger's "Marathon Man" to 4K UHD. It is cited as a "Brand New HDR/Dolby Vision Master – From a 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative". The 2160P exemplifies the film's textures. Interior scenes are a shade darker while better lit scenes tend to be brighter. It has three times the bitrate of the 2013 Paramount Blu-ray (reviewed HERE.) It is bringing out all the heavy grain, there is some inherent softness but compared to previous editions flesh tones normalize and cool (orangey on the BD.) There is a kinetic, hand-held (steadicam), camera in many sequences. It is 1.85:1 where the original Blu-ray and DVD were 1.78:1. I thought it looked very pleasing on my system and I doubt the film can ever look glossy and dynamic. This is gritty with the thick textures highlighted and the color balance being the notable improvements. The HDR is modestly applied which suits the film's Schlesinger-style realism (neither glamorous or sexy looking.) A second disc Blu-ray with the feature and video extras is included.  

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 60 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: Dazed and Confused (software uniformly simulated HDR), Three Colors: Blue (software uniformly simulated HDR), Invaders From Mars (software uniformly simulated HDR), Death Wish (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (no HDR), High Plains Drifter (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mystery Men (software uniformly simulated HDR), Silent Running (software uniformly simulated HDR), Dressed to Kill (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Power of the Dog  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Escape From Alcatraz (software uniformly simulated HDR), I, the Jury (no HDR), Casablanca (software uniformly simulated HDR), In the Mood For Love (NO HDR applied to disc), The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Blow Out (software uniformly simulated HDR), Night of the Living Dead (NO HDR applied to disc), Lost Highway (software uniformly simulated HDR), Videodrome (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Picture Show (software uniformly simulated HDR), It Happened One Night (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Mummy (1932)(software uniformly simulated HDR), Creature From the Black Lagoon (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bride of Frankenstein (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Amityville Horror  (software uniformly simulated HDR), The War of the Worlds (1953) (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Incredible Melting Man  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Event Horizon (software uniformly simulated HDR), Get Carter (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Killing (software uniformly simulated HDR), Killer's Kiss (software uniformly simulated HDR) 

On their 4K UHD, Kino offer the options of 2.0 channel and 5.1 surround bump tracks (24-bit) in the original English language. The surround has a few keen separations. There are some aggressive conflicts (Scheider's Henry 'Doc' Levy fighting with Chen etc.), explosions - car crash etc. that are fairly passively realized ('mentally' rather than gore) via the audio in Marathon Man but a suspenseful, effective, score by Michael Small (Puzzle of a Downfall Child, Klute, The Drowning Pool, Black Widow, Child's Play, Night Moves, The Driver, The Star Chamber) with the director-requested theme of "pain, and the endurance of pain". Both discs offers optional English (SDH) subtitles - and like all 4K UHD, is region FREE, playable worldwide while the Blu-ray is Region 'A'-locked.

The 4K UHD disc has a new audio commentary by film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson. They talk about John Schlesinger - really known as an 'arthouse' director, the impressive cast, the Goldman script (from his own novel) - how he wrote four versions of the screenplay, the gritty looks of the film, the New York locations, Michael Small's score, producer Bob Evans, DoP Conrad Hall and much more. They are always worth listening to.

The Blu-ray has the feature in 1080P, the new commentary and a few featurettes; the 20-minute Magic of Hollywood: Original Making of Marathon Man, 1/2 hour Going the Distance: Remembering Marathon Man, 20-minutes of rehearsal footage (mostly Marthe Keller and Hoffman) and theatrical trailer are all on the original DVD and Blu-ray. Kino include 10 TV Spots ands 2 Radio Spots.

John Schlesinger's "Marathon Man" is one of the best thrillers of the 70s. The opening with Ethiopian Abebe Bikila shown in a flashback running (and winning) the 1960 Olympic Marathon shoeless prefaces the scenes of Thomas "Babe" Levy (Dustin Hoffman) fleeing the Nazi war criminal Dr. Christian Szell (Laurence Olivier) representing Josef Mengele. There are so many memorable scenes; The dinner where Doc uncovers Elsa's lies, terrified Babe in the bathroom being kidnapped, Holocaust survivors recognizing "der weiße Engel!" on the street, the water-treatment facility finale and large quantity of diamonds and of course the torture scene with the repeated quote "Is it safe?" Kino's 4K UHD release is a must own for fans of the film since it is a notable video improvement over the old Blu-ray and DVD. Plus it has the new exemplary commentary. Strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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NOTE: The DVD 'pictureboxed' the opening credits

 


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3) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


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