In one of the best performances of his legendary career, Robert Mitchum plays small-time gunrunner Eddie “Fingers” Coyle in Peter Yates’s adaptation of George V. Higgins’s acclaimed novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle. World-weary and living hand to mouth, Coyle works on the sidelines of the seedy Boston underworld just to make ends meet. But when he finds himself facing a second stretch of hard time, he’s forced to weigh loyalty to his criminal colleagues against snitching to stay free. Directed with a sharp eye for its gritty locales and an open heart for its less-than-heroic characters, this is one of the true treasures of 1970s Hollywood filmmaking—a suspenseful crime drama in stark, unforgiving daylight.
Theatrical Release: June 26th, 1973
DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Criterion Collection - Spine #475 - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 8.78 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.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
commentary featuring Yates
The Criterion restoration looks pretty sweet. It is touted as 'director approved' and it looks quite excellent aside from some very minor noise. Expectantly it is dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Detail is impressive in close-ups and I can even see some fine grain. I can't imagine it looking much better on the DVD format.
Audio is mono but consistent and clear. There are, as always, optional English subtitles.
Extras reside almost solely on the doorstep of the Yates (Bullitt fame) commentary. There are gaps but having the director discuss his film makes for the most informative film discussions. It encourages further appreciation - not that I needed much more. There is a short gallery of behind the scenes photos - mostly of Mitchum. Criterion have included a healthy liner notes booklet (42 pages long) with photos and new essay by film critic Kent Jones and a 1973 on-set profile of Robert Mitchum from Rolling Stone.
I've seen this a couple of times before but the Criterion DVD gives, by far, the best presentation. Even considering Mitchum's iconic career - this is possibly his best role ever and Yates subdued direction let's the aged star's value run right through the potent narrative. This film and disc are strongly recommended.