(aka "The Rainmaker" )

 

directed by Francis Ford Coppola
USA 1997

This competent, anonymous legal drama (scripted by Michael Herr) is the best John Grisham adaptation yet. We're back in ingenue Southern lawyer territory, following law school grad Rudy Baylor (Damon) through his inaugural case to a mercurial triumph against the odds. So far, so insipid; thankfully, the story is less the usual addled potboiler than a diary of civil litigation - centring on Rudy's pursuit of a giant insurance company accused of stalling on health claims arising from policies marketed to the poor and unrepresented, such as his client Donny Ray Black (Whitworth). Rudy describes the dilemma of his calling in voice-over, musing over ideals and corruptions, compromises and lawyer jokes. His pilgrim's progress leads us through an entertaining gallery of lawyerly archetypes. There's the cynic, Rudy's long sold-out adversary Leo F Drummond (Voight); the corrupt, his low-life employer Bruiser Stone (Rourke); and the merely ignoble, his 'paralawyer' assistant Deck Schifflet (DeVito). There's a wider perspective on the legal action, too, counterpointing Rudy's 'rainmaking' lawsuit with both a damp squib of another case, and a subplot involving Danes' abused wife which suggests the limitations of the law.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: 21 November 1997

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the SE screencaps!

(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 2:15:16 2:15:16
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 5.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate ;

SE

Bitrate :

Original

Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround French English - Dolby Digital 5.1 , Dolby Digital 2.0 DUB: French
Subtitles English, Spanish, Portuguese, none English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Watch The Rainmaker With Francis Ford Coppola
• audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
• Francis Ford Coppola Directs John Grisham's The Rainmaker
• deleted/extended/alternate scenes
• screen tests

DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007
keepcase

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen (4/3) - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 1998
keep case

Chapters 33

 

 

Comments Gary on the comparison: Firstly I think this was a totally under-rated film - one of the better courtroom dramas films ever made. If people wonder what Coppola was doing after The Conversation, The Godfather(s), and Apocalypse Now - well, he made stuff like Bram Stoker's Dracula and this little gem.

The original edition, from way back in 1998, was non-anamorphic and was filled with artifacts (resembling grain... but is not). It was barely dual-layered (5.1 Gig) and frankly the transfer was not worthy of the film. It offered no extras.

 

The new Special Edition has definite 'anamorphic moulding' - a softening of the image when inexpensively upgraded to 16X9. One tell-tale sign of this is when the framing is virtually identical - there would be some variance (even minor) if they struck a totally new transfer. Anyway, although the screen caps don't reflect it, the image is improved - especially for advanced viewing systems (widescreen LCD, plasma etc.) BUT it is not what it could have been. The big bonus to this, aside from the magnificent film, is the price ($11) and the supplements on the new SE which Eddie has detailed below. Don't pass this up!

Gary Tooze

Eddie on the Special Edition:

Video:
From what I can tell, this new release is a vast improvement over the first one as the previous edition had non-anamorphic video. This Special Collector’s Edition’s picture fills a 16x9 TV (at least length-wise). This 2.35:1 movie is rather dark and drab, which is a bit confusing to me since this Memphis doesn’t look anything like the Memphis I saw. The image is a bit soft, and there is some edge enhancement. However, on the whole, this is a pleasing transfer.

Audio:
The Dolby Digital 5.1 English track is front-heavy. Most of the activity comes from the center speaker, though the front mains and the subwoofer are fairly active due to the jaunty music score. The surrounds are rarely used.

You can also watch the movie with a DD 2.0 surround French dub. Optional English, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles as well as optional English closed captions support the audio.

Extras:
The previous DVD release had no extras at all, so this new Special Collector’s Edition is a no-brainer upgrade for fans.

When you select “Watch The Rainmaker With Francis Ford Coppola”, the DVD launches a short video intro by Coppola before the movie begins with his audio commentary. Coppola obviously enjoyed working on a very mainstream crowd-pleaser, though his career is filled with these kinds of projects despite his reputation as a cinema master.

“Francis Ford Coppola Directs John Grisham’s The Rainmaker” is an excellent retrospective featurette. This brief documentary shows how Coppola helped his cast relax and get into the moment by using acting-school improv techniques instead of over-rehearsing scenes to death. Coppola kept his cast loose and energetic without sending them to the kinds of Method extremes employed by, say, Daniel Day-Lewis.

A couple of deleted/extended/alternate scenes deepen the experience. The discard opening montage is of particular interest.

Finally, there are screen tests of various members of the cast. Unfortunately, you only get screen tests of people who made it into the movie. IMDB.com claims that Edward Norton also auditioned for Rudy Baylor. I wonder what his screen test was like?

--Miscellaneous--
Upon loading, the DVD shows you a language-selection menu. Your choice leads to the use of the language of your choice for the audio and subtitles. (Oddly, there is French audio but no French subtitle stream.) This DVD is coded for Regions 1 and 4, which makes sense of the inclusion of Portuguese (for South America).

Paramount is obviously re-releasing The Rainmaker to coincide with the theatrical release of The Bourne Ultimatum, though as they’re from different studios, don’t expect this DVD to include a “free movie cash” coupon.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 

 



DVD Menus
 

(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Paramount (Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Paramount - Region 1- NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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