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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Frantic / Presumed Innocent (Thriller Double Feature) [Blu-ray]

 

(Roman Polanski, 1988 / Alan J. Pakula , 1990)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

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

Frantic Runtime: 1:59:52.018

Presumed Innocent Runtime: 2:06:56.775

Disc Size: 37,677,515,862 bytes

Frantic disc size: 18,089,435,136 bytes

Presumed Innocent disc size: 19,463,983,104 bytes

Frantic Video Bitrate: 16.99 Mbps

Presumed Innocent Video Bitrate: 16.81 Mbps

Chapters: 32 / 35

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 23rd, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2122 / 1681 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2122 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUB: Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

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

 

Extras:

none

 

Bitrate:

Frantic - Blu-ray TOP and Presumed Innocent - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Two spellbinding Harrison Ford thrillers mark their hi-def debut together. Harris Ford teams with two supremely gifted filmmakers - Alan J. Pakula and Academy Award winner Roman Polanski - on a pair of suspenseful and involving mysteries. From Scott Turow's bestseller, Pakula directs the twist-filled whodunit Presumed Innocent, in which Ford is pledged to uphold the law yet determined to escape it. He plays an attorney who's both the prosecutor of a murder case...and Suspect #1. Polanski helms the edge-of-your-seat caper Frantic. After his wife suddenly disappears in Paris, American doctor Ford confronts a bewildering web of language, locale and bureaucracy as he scrambles to find her.

 

 

The Film:

ALFRED HITCHCOCK would have appreciated the inexorable process whereby Dr. Richard Walker (Harrison Ford), a surgeon visiting Paris to address a convention and enjoy a kind of second honeymoon, is drawn into a web of intrigue. It is perhaps no accident that Dr. Walker's troubles begin in the shower. The quiet, brilliantly unremarkable opening sequence of Roman Polanski's ''Frantic'' follows the doctor and his wife, Sondra (Betty Buckley), as they take a taxi from the airport, check into their Paris hotel, call home to say they've arrived and prepare to work off their jet lag. The only tip-offs that anything may be amiss are the film's title and the presence of Mr. Polanski at the helm.

The doctor is in the shower when the phone rings; he sees Sondra answer it, watches her speak briefly, and can't quite hear what she's saying because of the sound of the running water. Nor can he make out the message she mouths in his direction. He's still showering and not paying much attention as Sondra next pulls a red garment out of her suitcase and wanders away. By the time he begins wondering who called and why, it's too late. Sondra has vanished without a trace, and ''Frantic'' has begun to live up to its title.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

A magician deliberately orchestrates his audience's suspicions as a means of concealing the real tricks of his trade. Scott Turow accomplished something very similar with ''Presumed Innocent,'' his spellbinding courtroom novel in which the narrator finds himself accused of having murdered a seductive co-worker. Mr. Turow's sleight of hand is so tremendously skillful that his novel is not even diminished by a knowledge of just where responsibility for this crime ultimately lies. The book actually improves with a second reading, when the author's tactics can best be appreciated.

Filming this material presents several immediate challenges, not the least of them the fact that many viewers will be experiencing a degree of deja vu. Also, certain nuances of behavior that Mr. Turow could easily pass over must be accounted for more fully on the screen, which makes the film's balancing act that much more difficult. And the story itself involves the analysis of a murder case that has many strands, much forensic evidence of a highly clinical kind and a lot of interrelated minor characters. This plot is too potent to be readily abbreviated, and almost too intricate to be set forth in only two hours' time.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

 


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

Warner have paired these two films before HERE, (also touted as 'Thriller Double Feature" as opposed to a more common 'Harrison Ford' billing) but on DVD. Unfortunately I believe, just as with their single DVD release from 2004, Frantic was in open-matte 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Both Presumed Innocent and Frantic were shot for 1.85 theatrically so these Blu-ray transfers at 1.78 are certainly more tolerable.

 

In these transfers - shared on a single dual-layered Blu-ray disc, Frantic shows a lot of grain but is otherwise unremarkable. It look thick at times but I like the texture. It may be a shade dirty as well. It was the best I have seen Polanski's film on digital with contrast, detail and colors a notable improvement from previous DVDs.  Bitrate is a shade over double the older format and that is how I would rate the image quality.

 

Presumed Innocent is much smoother - grain is still visible, but the image detail shows more prominence. Being, essentially only single-layered (feature takes up just shy of 20 Gig) - noise can be seen in some monochromatic darker sequences. There are a few instances of depth and while not a perfect transfer - ala a more modern film to HD - it looks quite pleasing and gives a decent presentation. I don't suspect DNR or similar manipulations and both are free of blemishes or damage marks.

 

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

 

Frantic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presumed Innocent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio for both film is offered in strong DTS-Master 2.0 channel tracks with Dolby Spanish DUBs. Scores balance the suspenseful moods and this, like the visuals quality, is supportive of the films without demonstrative blow-the-windows-out appeal. Actually, I don't mind the lack of separations to the rear speaker. These stereo renderings are crisp and clean - they do a good job for the film viewings. There are optional English, French or Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

NOTE (June 26th, 2011): James tells us in email - "To make a long, long story short, the BRs of Roman Polanski's FRANTIC that were released last year throughout the world by Warner did not include the original English language track, but a composite French/English track that was intended for exhibition only in France, with subtitles. Not a single BR issue (US, France, Germany, Hong Kong) was correct." (Thanks James!) We should note that the ones sold NOW do have the corrected audio.

 

Extras :

Nothing is offered - not even a trailer for either film. I appreciate the lack of 'previews' prior to the features.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Both are very good films with Presumed Innocent being a shade more 'popcorn' than Frantic. For a Friday night double feature in your home theater you could do a lot worse than viewing this pairing on one Blu-ray. Both directors are accomplished and they know how to translate a story to the screen with strong emotional response. 'Everyman' Ford is competent in both roles. It was also a pleasure to see Frantic in widescreen.  I'm not against pragmatically sharing two decent films on one disc - it works quite well for this package. The lack of supplements seem limiting but considering you get two films - the value here is quite strong. From that aspect we certainly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

February 11th, 2010

 

 

 

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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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