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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by John Boorman
USA 1972

 

I consider this film, in all its testosterone glory, to be an American classic, certainly Boorman's best film. The protagonists, essentially embody one, some or all of our own human qualities. And they are on an adventure. A frightening one that they will never forget. It tests their courage... as men battling the mysteries of a soon to be forgotten river - as it will be imminently flooded and become part of the existing delta. Made on a shoestring budget (To minimize costs, the production wasn't even insured -- and the actors did their own stunts. For instance, Jon Voight actually climbed the cliff and Burt Reynolds broke his coccyx while going down the rapids).  Boorman originally desired Jack Nicholson in the part of Ed. Jack agreed to do it only if his good friend Marlon Brando played Lewis. Brando also agreed to do it but as their combined fee came to over $1 million, half the movies budget. Boorman went for relative unknowns instead who all proved more than up to the task. Voight is one of the best American actors of all time. The role of Lewis now seems tailor-made for Reynolds in perhaps his best performance of his career. Poor Ned Beatty will always be remembered for his 'uncomfortable' scene. Truly, although certainly male oriented, a strong and excessively memorable film commenting on male bonding - life decisions and the social consequences of interbreeding. One of the best films of the 70's.

 

An alternate ending was shot, but cut from the final version. This other ending takes place a few weeks after the events of the film. It shows shows Lewis (Burt Reynolds) walking on crutches. Ed (Jon Voight), Lewis (Burt Reynolds) and Bobby (Ned Beatty) meet Sheriff Bullard (author James Dickey) near the dam at Aintry. The sheriff displays a body placed on a stretcher. he then uncovers it. They all see the face, but we the audience, cannot. No details of the body are shown to help identify it. This was a deliberate choice, leaving the audience unclear whether the dead man is Drew (Ronny Cox), Toothless Man (Herbert Coward). or Don Job (Bill McKinney). Incidentally the body was played by Christopher Dickey (James Dickey's son) who writes about the scene in his memoirs, "Summer of Deliverance" - and supposedly even *he* doesn't know whose body it was supposed to be.

***

Four Atlanta businessmen decide to prove that the frontier spirit is not dead by spending a canoeing weekend shooting the rapids of a river high in the Appalachians. Terrific boy's own adventure stuff with adult ingredients of graphic mutilation and buggery, but Boorman is never content either to leave it at that or to subscribe to the ecological concerns of James Dickey's novel (where man's return to nature becomes vital because 'the machines are going to fail, and then - survival'). Instead, he adds a dark twist of his own by suggesting that concern is too late. From the quartet's first strange encounter with the deformed albino child in a mountain community almost Dickensian in its squalor, down to the last scene where Voight watches coffins being unearthed and removed to safety before the new dam floods the valley, their trip down the river becomes an odyssey through a land that is already dead, killed by civilisation and peopled by alien creatures rather than human beings. Signposted by the extraordinary shot of a corpse, surfaced from the water with one arm grotesquely wrapped round its neck and the other pointing nowhere, it's a haunting, nightmarish vision.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: July 30th, 1972

Reviews                                                             More Reviews                                                  DVD Reviews

 

Comparison: 

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Warner (Digi-book) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Warner (Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

  

  

  

  

Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner (Deluxe Edition)

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Warner Brothers
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Warner Brothers (Digibook)
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:49:00 1:48:48 1:49:02.577 1:49:02.577

Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.81 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.28 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 21,576,755,866 bytes

Feature Size: 19,119,126,528 bytes

Total Bitrate: 21.11Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray VC-1

Disc Size: 30,413,871,375 bytes

Feature Size: 22,751,784,960 bytes

Total Bitrate: 21.11Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

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

Bitrate :

 Warner Original

Bitrate:

Warner (Deluxe Edition)

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Bitrate: Digi-pak:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3360 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3360 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBS:

Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
* Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Subtitles English, French, None English, French, Spanish, None English (SDH), French, Spanish, None English (SDH), French, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• 
Vintage featurette: The Dangerous World of Deliverance

• Theatrical Trailer

NOTE: Pan and scan version on the opposite side

DVD Release Date: August, 2001
Snapper case

Chapters 30

Release Information:
Studio: Warner (Deluxe Edition)
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director John Boorman
• Four-part 35th anniversary retrospective with the film's stars, director John Boorman, and others
• Vintage featurette: The Dangerous World of Deliverance
• Theatrical trailer
 

DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 30

Release Information:
Studio:
Warner Archive

 

Disc Size: 21,576,755,866 bytes

Feature Size: 19,119,126,528 bytes

Total Bitrate: 21.11Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray VC-1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director John Boorman
• Four-part 35th anniversary retrospective with the film's stars, director John Boorman, and others (16:44 + 13:04 + 14:37 + 10:37)
• Vintage featurette: The Dangerous World of Deliverance (10:13)
• Theatrical trailer (2:53)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 18th, 2007
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 30

Release Information:
Studio:
Warner Archive

 

Disc Size: 30,413,871,375 bytes

Feature Size: 22,751,784,960 bytes

Total Bitrate: 21.11Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director John Boorman
• Four-part 35th anniversary retrospective with the film's stars, director John Boorman, and others (16:44 + 13:04 + 14:37 + 10:37)
• Vintage featurette: The Dangerous World of Deliverance (10:13)

• Deliverance: The Cast Looks Back (HD, 30 minutes)
• Theatrical trailer
(2:53)

• Digibook with 44 pages with photos, cast information etc.
 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 30

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Warner Digi-book - Region FREE - Blu-ray January 15': Okay, thanks to many who reminded me of the existence of the 2013 Digi-book Blu-ray version of Deliverance. Essentially it is the exact same VC-1 1080P video (slightly higher bitrate, but see virtually identical graphs) transfer with new menus, the exact same running time and extras (commentary and 4 featurettes but an added Deliverance: The Cast Looks Back - HD, 30 minutes) - excepting this new Digi-book version offers DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio as well as many foreign-language DUBs and subtitles... and, of course, it is housed in a Digi-book case (44 pages of color photos, cast information, articles etc.) It is definitely the best version of the four thanks to the the uncompressed audio for Duelling Banjos and the sound effects (rapids etc.) is not ultra-separated but has significantly more depth and resonance than the flatter Dolby on the previous digital editions. It's the one to get although I'd love to see an AVC transfer with very high bitrate - perhaps one day.

***

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray January 15': Basically, I agree with Leonard's comments (below for the BD). This is one, early Blu-ray, title I would love to see get a better treatment - dual-layering and lossless audio is certainly called for with Deliverance. The 1080P via VC-1 is less green than the Deluxe DVD - but still looks muddy. This very visual film deserves much better! - Come one Warner!

NOTE: The Digi-book HERE is reported to have lossless audio and is dual-layered. We'll try to get a copy and compare further. (Thanks Hugh!)

Gary W. Tooze

Leonard's comments: Reviewers are fond of saying things like: the image looks pretty good, or better than I expected, for a film of this age. Hooey! It's not the age, but the materials employed and how they were preserved. Deliverance is easily the weakest image that has yet been put out on Blu-ray. But it was not all that good to start with. The colors are deliberately desaturated, a little, yes. There is a considerable amount of what passes for film grain in color, yes. But my complaint is with the overall vagueness of the image. It looks like the result of extreme push-processing in order to get every possible amount of depth of field even in difficult conditions. Worse yet is the blue bleeding that occurs in the night shots as Ed climbs the mountain and especially across his face once he gets there. I don't recall seeing anything quite so egregious. I have many an SD DVD that looks better – and some of those are in color, pre-1970. That said, the Blu-ray picture seems to be free of blemishes and artifacts, and has never looked this good on video when projected large, as mine is.

Audio: Never designed to be a special effects sound design or anything remotely like it, Deliverance operates at a quite different level: it's the drama and performances that either reach you or turn your stomach. Even the background music track is as subtle as it is a perfect outgrowth of the Dueling Banjos bit from the opening scene.

Extras: A new one-hour docu-featurette that reunites all the principle actors, plus Bill McKinney; Boorman; Vilmos Zsigmond, his cinematographer; and Chris Dickey, son of the author tells the story; and in addition, a running commentary by Boorman. The vintage featurette is mercifully short – I say that because it is so poor in terms of image – but worth a visit.

Leonard Norwiotz

***

ON THE DVDs: Hmmmm.... frankly, I think I am somewhat disappointed by the new Deluxe SD transfer. In most respects it excels above the original DVD release from 2001 which had a large black border (picture-boxed) circumventing the anamorphically enhanced frame (see image below) and is rife with digital artifacts on a single-layered DVD. In many scenes the image is shifted slightly to the left in comparison to the new Deluxe release. What looks odd to me are the colors and detail. It can look very green at times but skin tones are less red than in the original. I never saw this theatrically so I can't talk with any assurance about the colors - I'll just say I am suspicious and will investigate further when I have it in Hi-def in a few days. Hopefully it will retain some of its sharpness. It is dual-layered, progressive and 16X9 in the impressive 2.35 scope. Both have the same 5.1 boosted track and a French mono DUB. The deluxe adds a Spanish subtitle option on top of English and French.

Supplement-wise the new deluxe DVD has a decent Boorman commentary. It has many healthy gaps and he tends to narrate a bit - but when he does talk about the production (acting and the narrative interpretation etc.) it is quite informative. A new 52 minute featurette is broken up into 4 separate segments:

Deliverance: The Beginning - Takes a historical look at the novel and its adaptation to the screen.
Deliverance: The Journey - Along from the early stages of filming to the creation of classic moments, such as the Dueling Banjos scene.
Deliverance: Betraying the River - The making of one of the most controversial and ground-breaking sequences in film history.
Deliverance: Delivered - A reflective look back on the completion of the film, its impact and how the idea for the shocking ending came to be.
 

They have input from Boorman, Reynolds and Voigt among some of the participants. Quite enjoyable. Also included is the original 10 minute featurette; The Dangerous World of Deliverance ( The original behind-the-scenes documentary on the difficult conditions and challenges of making this film) which was the only extra feature on the first Warner DVD. Both have a theatrical trailer and the original has the pan and scan version on the opposite side. 

I guess I was just expecting more from the visual.

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

(Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

 
 

 

 Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

 Warner (Digibook)  - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

(Warner - Region 1 - NTSC Title LEFT vs. Warner (Deluxe Edition) and  Blu-ray  Title RIGHT)

 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner (2007 + 2013 Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Subtitle Sample: Not exact frame

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner (2007 + 2013 Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner (2007 + 2013 Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner (2007 + 2013 Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Deluxe Edition) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Warner (2007 + 2013 Digibook) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures

Unusual appearance of the night scene of 'Ed' (Voight) up the mountain

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

 Blu-rays

Sound:

Digibook Blu-ray

Extras: Digibook Blu-ray


 
Box Covers

  

  

  

  

  

Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner (Deluxe Edition)

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Warner Brothers
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Warner Brothers (Digibook)
Region FREE -
Blu-ray



 

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