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Directed by Whit Stillman
USA 1998

 

The Last Days of Disco is a clever, comic return to the nighttime party scene in early eighties Manhattan from director Whit Stillman (Metropolitan). At the center of the film’s roundelay of revelers are the icy Charlotte (Kate Beckinsale) and the demure Alice (ChloŽ Sevigny), by day toiling as publishing house assistants and by night looking for romance and entertainment at a premier, Studio 54–like club. The Last Days of Disco is an affectionate yet unsentimental look at the end of an era, brimming with Stillman’s trademark dry humor.

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 29th, 1988

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Thanks to Per-Olaf for adding the 2 PAL DVD capture!

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 485 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #485 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:53:40  1:53:54.869
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,024,906,084 bytes

Feature: 35,420,774,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate: DVD

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 4113 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4113 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary featuring Stillman and actors ChloŽ Sevigny and Chris Eigeman
• Four deleted scenes with commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny
• Audio recording of Stillman reading a chapter from his book The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards (17:21)
• Behind-the-scenes featurette (5:48)
• Stills gallery with captions by Stillman
• Original theatrical trailer (2:11 - letterbox widescreen)
• 10-page leaflet with an essay by novelist David Schickler 

DVD Release Date: August 25th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,024,906,084 bytes

Feature: 35,420,774,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary featuring Stillman and actors ChloŽ Sevigny and Chris Eigeman
• Four deleted scenes with commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny
• Audio recording of Stillman reading a chapter from his book The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards (17:21)
• Behind-the-scenes featurette (5:48)
• Stills gallery with captions by Stillman
• Original theatrical trailer (2:11)
• 10-page leaflet with an essay by novelist David Schickler 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 24th, 2012
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 27

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (July 2012): Even though the DVD came out only 3 years ago, and was a fine SD rendering, the new Criterion Blu-ray notably advances in image quality via the 1080P dual-layered transfer with about 5X the bitrate. Detail rises and there is a strong sense of depth. Now the DVD appears video-like beside the Blu-ray.

Audio is in a buoyant DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a strong 4113 kbps. It's hard not to toe-tap to Amii Stewart's "Knock on Wood", Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and "The Tide Is High", Chic's "Good Times", "Le Freak" and "Everybody Dance", "I Love the Nightlife (Disco 'Round)", The O'Jays "Love Train" and even Kate Beckinsale impressively singing "Amazing Grace". It's a solid mix via the lossless. As usual, Criterion offer optional English subtitles.

Supplements appears to duplicate the previous DVD (see description below).

Another great Criterion Blu-ray package. This film in 1080P makes for a significantly more film-like presentation. Highly Recommened

***

ON THE DVD: The image on Criterion's The Last Days of Disco is immaculate. There are times during my viewing that I would say it is the best I've seen for SD-DVD. I never owned the out-of-print PolyGram DVD from 1999 but I did see this theatrically with my girlfriend (now wife) and another couple. I remember that all 4 of us enjoyed the film and the dazzling bright appearance.  This is part of Stillman’s 'trilogy' - the other two being Metropolitan and Barcelona. Colors on this dual-layered, anamorphic (1.78) and progressive transfer are brilliant. Detail is strong and only some digital noise, expectant for this format, would be its only weakness. I doubt anyone will be displeased with the visual quality of this DVD. It is impressive.

We can get spoiled with lossless HD-audio and this 5.1 track can't compete... but it does a decent job of separations and of exporting the lively and, now, nostalgic disco music. 

Criterion pile on the supplements starting with an audio commentary featuring Stillman and actors ChloŽ Sevigny and Chris Eigeman. Stillman takes the lead and is a good speaker and a director to respect as he discusses his minefield navigation through the studio system. Production is covered with some interesting anecdotes. This is a good commentary and it can really bolster your appreciation of the film if you choose to partake. There are four, poor quality, deleted scenes, in a play-all fashion, with an optional commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny. They last about 8-minutes and are entitled; Wild Kingdom, Des's Last Testament, Nightcap and Scabrous Manuscript. We get a 17-minute audio-only supplement of Stillman reading a chapter ('Epilogue: Life Among the Moon Worshippers') from his book The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards. This novel was the basis for the film's story and is told by the character Jimmy Steinway. There is a 'selling' original featurette at 1.33 running 5-minutes, a stills gallery with captions by Stillman and an 2-minute 11 second, letterboxed widescreen, original theatrical trailer. Criterion have included a 10-page leaflet with an essay by novelist David Schickler.

Many, including myself initially, may consider this an unworthy choice for Criterion to release, but seeing it again after more than a decade, and listening to the commentary, has encouraged me to re-evaluate it being granted a spine number. This is a witty, period piece that captures so much of the shallow social values of that era. The transparent character of  'Charlotte' (Beckinsale) is fascinating in her emptiness but there are moments in the film that we can all relate... or, if we were around, even remember. I really enjoyed it - the strikingly colorful image, the rhythmic dance music and a host of viable supplements make it worthwhile package. You may be surprised at how you find yourself embracing it. I definitely recommended 2 spins - without and with the commentary.    

Gary W. Tooze

 


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1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT


 


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Screen Captures

 

1) Warner (Europe) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 485 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #485 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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