H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


A River Runs Through It [Blu-ray]


(Robert Redford, 1992)


Reissued February 8th, 2011:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Pictures

Video: Sony Pictures



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:03:36.409

Disc Size: 47,355,453,860 bytes

Feature Size: 32,335,890,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.95 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 28th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1376 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1376 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1343 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1343 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Spanish 1375 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1375 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps



English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



Deep Currents: the Making of A River Runs Through It (29:59 in HD!)

The Blackfoot Challenge: Rescuing a River (15:12 - HD!)

Casting a Line - A Beginners Guide to Fly Fishing

• Never Before Seen Deleted Scenes

• On the Blackfoot River - Looping Video Environments ( 4X 10:00 in HD!)





Description: Academy Award-winner Robert Redford (Best Director, Ordinary People, 1980) captures the majesty of the Montana wilderness and the strength of the American family in this acclaimed adaptation of Norman Maclean's classic memoir. Craig Sheffer stars as the young Norman, and Brad Pitt stars as his brother Paul, an irresistible daredevil driven to challenge the world. Growing up, both boys rebel against their stern minister father. While Norman channels his rebellion into writing, Paul descends a slippery path to self-destruction. Co-starring Tom Skerritt as the Reverend Maclean and Emily Lloyd as wild-hearted Jessie Burns.



The Film:

Redford's film version makes the crucial decision to keep Maclean's voice in the film; his own prose is read as a narration, by Redford, so that we do not simply see events as they happen, we are reminded that they are memories from long ago, and that the author has spent time and trouble to draw the lessons from them.

The movie stars Craig Sheffer as Norman, the older son, more serious, learning to write by taking his papers in to his father's study, invariably to be told, "Good. Now make it half as long." Brad Pitt is the younger brother, Paul, an impetuous, golden-haired free spirit who drinks too much and gets in card games, and wants nothing more than to stay in Montana all of his life, working for a newspaper. Norman has more serious aspirations; he wants to teach literature. But it is Paul who is the better fly fisherman, and who, at least one day, is perfect at what he did.

The movie was shot on locations that suggest the bounty of the Western states in those days. The towns uneasily straddle the divide between the modern and the frontier. As the boys grow up, they meet young ladies, and date, and consider their futures, and Redford elaborates on the book in ways which flesh out the characters of Paul and his mother, and some of the people in their lives, including a young Indian woman Paul dates in defiance of town opinion, and the high-spirited Jessie, (Emily Lloyd), who eventually becomes Norman's wife.

This must have been a very difficult movie to write. It is not really about the events that happen in it. They are only illustrations for underlying principles. Leave out the principles, and all you have left are some interesting people who are born, grow up, and take various directions in life.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE



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

With the help of the exquisite shooting locales in Montana and Wyoming the Blu-ray of A River Runs Through It looks very strong with certain scenes bordering on 'stunning'. Close-ups can show crystal clarity while colors seem true and bright.  This dual-layered transfer, with the feature taking up over 32 Gig, is tight and impressive. Skin tones seem moderately warm - contrast exhibits decent black levels. Daylight scenes, which dominate the film, are the most impressive but overall this Blu-ray has a very pure, unfettered, feel to the film. It's blemish-free and appears to have no untoward digital manipulations.














Audio :

The TrueHD 5.1 at a modest 1376 kbps picks up the river's gentle sounds of nature along with Mark Isham's lilting original score. Expectantly the track is not exceptionally aggressive but does justice to the film's minor effect noises and dialogue. This isn't 'demo' material but does the job without dynamic range or depth. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu tells me this disc is region FREE!



Extras :

Extras strangely contain no commentary but there are some featurettes in HD - Deep Currents: the Making of A River Runs Through It runs 30 minutes ands has a lot of input from Redford on the film's genesis and production as well as extensive information on the fascinating Norman Maclean. The Blackfoot Challenge: Rescuing a River tackles some ecology for 15-minutes and there is a piece on educating one for fly fishing entitled Casting a Line - A Beginners Guide to Fly Fishing. There are some previously unseen deleted scenes and my favorite feature - four "Looping Video Environments" from the Blackfoot River. They are gorgeous and run for 10-minutes each - looping at their completion. I'll be using this a lot - they are fabulous! Ohh... the package is another digibook with over 30-pages of essays, interviews, biographies etc.



This is a very special family drama - so distant from the Hollywood epics that comparatively look so commercial and exploitive. The Blu-ray has a fabulous transfer and I'd probably pay as much simply for the 'looping environments' supplement. This is a great film and wonderful Blu-ray that I'm so happy to have in my collection. STRONGLY recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 18th, 2009



Reissued February 8th, 2011:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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