H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Italian Job - 40th Anniversary Special Edition [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Collinson, 1969)

 

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Oakhurst Productions

Video: Paramount British Pictures

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:39:39.725

Disc Size: 46,781,387,836 bytes

Feature Size: 26,308,411,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.39 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 15th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1848 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1848 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras

• Audio Commentary with screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin and author Matthew Field

Audio Commentary with Producer Michael Deeley and author Matthew Field

• Mini Adventures (17:16 in HD)

• Self Preservation Society: Making the Italian Job (10 chapters - 1:26:36 in HD)

• Music Video (3:38 in HD)

• Deleted Scenes (2:08) with Commentary by author Matthew Field

Theatrical Trailer (3:14) and Re-release Trailer (1:45) in HD

 

Synopsis
In this classic crime film, small-time crook Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) organizes a motley group of thieves to steal four million worth of gold bullion from an armoured car in Turin, Italy. The mastermind of the heist is Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward), an experienced convict who has come up with the idea, but can't take part in its execution because he's in jail. To pull off the plan, the gang must tie up traffic in the center of the city to divert attention from the robbery, and ultimately make off with their booty undetected. The caper leads to one of the most exciting automobile chases ever filmed.

 

 

The Film:

I can’t stress enough how wonderfully, quintessentially ‘60s “The Italian Job” is. The cars, the clothes, the music, the camera work, the exuberance. And the women—ironed down hair, goofy underwear, and every one of them as beautiful as a Bond girl, with even less dialogue. Because the movie is British, the robbery is not simply a capitalist venture, as in the American remake. The heist comes across, however vaguely and misguidedly, as the last hurrah of some youthful social rebellion. The movie’s lighthearted tone turns briefly revolutionary as the lads club police officers and smash pickax handles through cop car windshields. “The Italian Job” also makes light of the antagonism Britain has always had with the rest of Europe (“bloody foreigners” one of the crooks mutters as he wanders Italy). Words and phrases like “anarchy” and “angry young man” would not be inappropriate. This was the ‘60s, after all, when even action movies were allowed to have social commentary.

 

Enter the legendary Michael Caine, in one sharp suit after another, whose name is deservedly painted like the Union Jack in the re-release trailer. He plays Charlie Croaker, fresh from prison with absolutely no compunction about turning to crime again. The prize is a half-ton of gold being transported through a giant traffic jam in Turin during an Italy-UK soccer match. To this end, Croaker enlists a small army of Cockney crooks, and soon it’s “bloomin’” this and “bloody” that as the lads soup up three mini Coopers. There’s bugger-all we can do about it as we’re off to Italy where our heroes can short out computerized video cameras, cross the Mafia, and walk nonchalantly past jaw-dropping Renaissance architecture. The movie doesn’t bother developing the gang too much; Tony Beckley is the prissy one, Stanley Caine (Michael’s brother) is the lummox, and Benny Hill is… well, Benny Hill, and let’s all thank God for that.

 Excerpt from Friday & Saturday Night located HERE

 

 

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

Top shelf image from Paramount on this classic. All the ducks seem in-line with bright, happy, colors, and impressively high detail for a film celebrating it's 40th birthday. It shows some depth, strong contrast and black levels. It looks almost brand new and seems to have greatly benefited from the move to hi-def. The visuals approach the spectacular with over 26 Gig being filled on the dual-layered disc for the feature film.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music :

On the English language front we have a TrueHD 5.1 bump at 1848 kbps or option for the restored mono track. The disc starts by giving you a choice of about a dozen different languages for menus and optional DUBs/subs. I'm usually a fan of the original but I switched to the TrueHD mix and it suited the film well with some subtle effect noise and chummy music tones sounding crisp and clean. The car chase scenes are dramatic and evenly separated with some action to the rear speakers. This disc seems very international-friendly and can be played on Blu-ray machines world wide as noted by my Momitsu.

 

 

 

Extras :

I guess the most apt description would be to call the disc supplements "super-stacked".  Information-packed audio commentaries with Matthew Field, author of The Making of the Italian Job, supporting screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin in the first and Producer Michael Deeley in the second. We also get, in HD, a 1.5 hour documentary entitled Self Preservation Society: Making the Italian Job with input from just about everyone involved in the project from Caine to Quincy Jones, writers, producers, cast etc. It's brimming with detail and anecdotes - it's hard not to gain some appreciation for the film by watching it. We get a look at some of the driving stunts in the 17-minute, HD, Mini Adventures, a Music Video (3:38 - also in HD), short deleted scenes (2:08) with commentary by author Matthew Field and two trailers - theatrical (3:14) and re-release (1:45) in HD. Wow - what a package! 

 

 

Recommendation :

This is such a fun film and Caine is perfect. I kept reminiscing about Stanley Donen's Charade  as it carried that same stylish energy. This Blu-ray is close to perfect - impeccable image transfer, great audio options and, possibly, the most complete extras of the year. Super job Paramount - STRONGLY recommended!

 

Gary Tooze

June 21st, 2009

 

 

 

 

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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