Directed by James Marsh
Uk / USA 2008

 

James Marsh's brilliant documentary on a Frenchman's 1974 high-wire walk between the twin towers has the pace of a thriller and the human interest of a psychological drama.

 

They say that seeing is believing, but "Man on Wire" will make you doubt what your eyes are telling you -- it really will -- as you shake your head in amazement and awe.

A rare double winner of both Sundance's jury prize and its audience award for world documentary, this exhilarating film treats French aerialist Philippe Petit's Aug. 7, 1974, walk between the twin towers of New York's 110-story World Trade Center as if it were a daring bank robbery. This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.

Made by director James Marsh with the human interest of a psychological drama and the "You Are There" factor of a classic doc as well as the pace of a thriller, "Man on Wire" underlines the fact that often the events most worth investigating are the ones we think we already know everything about.

Excerpt from Kenneth Turan at the LA Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 22nd, 2008 - Sundance Film Festival

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DVD Comparison:

Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:06  1:34:07.266
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 24,392,954,580 bytes

Disc Size:  21,078,853,632 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 29.86 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) , English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 2132 kbps 5.1 /
48 kHz / 2132 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 /
48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 /
48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 /
48 kHz / 224 kbps
Subtitles Spanish, None (non-English dialogue - has burned in English subtitles) English, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Magnolia

Aspect Ratio:
 Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Sydney Harbor Bridge Crossing (1973) - 20:13
• Philippe Pettit Interview - 12:38
• The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers - 10:50

DVD Release Date: December 9th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Icon Home Entertainment

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 24,392,954,580 bytes

Disc Size:  21,078,853,632 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 29.86 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Commentary with director James Marsh, producer Simon Chinn and executive producer Jonathan Hewes

• Sydney Harbor Bridge Crossing (1973) - 20:13
• Philippe Pettit Interview - 12:38
• The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers - narrated by actor Jake Gyllenhaal 10:50

Blu-ray Release Date: December 26th, 2008
Thicker UK Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Icon Blu-ray - April 09':  My desire for this on Blu-ray in my DVD review below may have been a bit misplaced - or, at least, rather idealistic and hopeful. While the hi-def image is obviously superior than the interlaced SD-DVD, it still suffers from its archival-footage-based roots. I'm convinced they look about as good as they can despite being only single-layered. Most notably the skin tones lose there orangey/yellow look for a more natural flesh colors. Detail, of course, advances upon the DVD transfer as well as contrast in the black and white archival sequences and stills. It's all just 'better' but you can't get a silk purse from a sow's ear in regards to elevating the historical record to a pristine modern appearance. There are some other differences - the Blu-ray is 1.85 where the DVD is 1.78 but it doesn't seem to include any further information in the frame.

The audio bump to DTS-HD seems superfluous but dialogue seems clearer. There is also a standard 5.1 offering and 2.0 channel. Both track are in English with the French dialogue translated. My Momitsu Blu-ray player tells me this release is region free!

Extras are the same (see below) with the addition of a decent commentary with director James Marsh, producer Simon Chinn and executive producer Jonathan Hewes. I enjoyed the production details and history.

I don't know if I appreciated the film as much this second (and third with commentary) time as I did in my first viewing - but I still see the value. The participants are very adept at conveying they're deepest feelings despite, for the key participants, English not being they're first language. This is still very much worth seeing and the Blu-ray is the best way to do it. The price it seems, at the time of this writing, is makes the 1080P image, hi-def sound and better extras - by far the best deal.

Blu-ray is 10.98 = $16.1440 USD

DVD = $17.99 USD

***

 

ON THE DVD: Fascinating and charming documentary that is very well worth seeing. The Magnolia DVD is interlaced (combing visible) but anamorphic on a dual-layered disc. The film fluctuates from still photography to modern interviews, to archival footage with varying aspect ratios. There is noise - perhaps heavier than some would appreciate but I didn't find it too distracting. I heard Man on Wire may be coming to Blu-ray which would be a treat. Audio offers a 5.1 and 2.0 channel. I didn't note much separation in the mix. There are burned-in subtitles for the non-English interview dialogue but optional Spanish for the entire film.

There are some decent supplements. We get a 20 minute look at the Sydney Harbor Bridge Crossing from 1973, a 12 minute interview with Philippe Pettit and 10 minutes on The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers featurette. All worth seeing with some interesting content.

Our recommendation is more for the film - which is truly a little gem. Magnolia's interlacing will be problematic for higher end systems but the documentary has our highest recommendation. Let's see this on Blu-ray

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus / Blu-ray extras


 


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Subtitle Sample

 

(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 

 

 


(Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 

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DVD Box Cover

Distribution Magnolia - Region 1 - NTSC Icon Home Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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