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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Escape From New York" )

 

directed by John Carpenter
US 1981

 

Escape from New York is a solidly satisfying actioner. Impressively produced for $7 million, it reps director John Carpenter's biggest budget to date.


In the 1997 New York City neatly turned out (mostly in St Louis) by production designer Joe Alves, Manhattan is a walled, maximum security prison inhabited by millions of felons and loonies. The president of the US has the misfortune of crash landing on the island and being taken hostage by the crazies, who demand their release in exchange for the leader.

Into this cesspool is sent tough criminal Kurt Russell, who is charged with extricating the prezy within 24 hours..

Excerpt from Variety located HERE

Theatrical Release: May 23rd, 1981

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Comparison: 

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum (UK)

Region FREE - Blu-ray

MGM

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:38:51 1:38:56.041 1:39:11.028
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 24,024,090,318 bytes

Feature Size: 20,278,026,240 bytes

Average Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 33,669,836,618 bytes

Feature Size: 33,325,787,136 bytes

Average Bitrate: 37.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

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

Bitrate: MGM

Bitrate: Optimum

Blu-ray (UK)

Bitrate: MGM Blu-ray (US)

Audio English  (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) DTS-HD Master Audio English 1974 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1974 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3876 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3876 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Subtitles French, Spanish, None None English, French, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (1:29)

Flipper with 4:3 version on opposite side of the disc

DVD Release Date: November 21st, 2000
Amaray

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio:
Optimum (UK)

 

Disc Size: 24,024,090,318 bytes

Feature Size: 20,278,026,240 bytes

Average Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
• Retrospective documentary
• Interview with Carpenter
• Deleted opening sequence
• Trailers

Blu-ray Release Date: August 4th, 2008
Standard UK (thicker)
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
MGM (Fox)

 

Disc Size: 33,669,836,618 bytes

Feature Size: 33,325,787,136 bytes

Average Bitrate: 37.96 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• None

Double-sided DVD with only a trailer included

Blu-ray Release Date: August 3rd, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 32

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: MGM (US) -Region 'A' - Blu-ray August 2010: Hmmmm... I was pleased to see that this is a dual-layered transfer with a high bitrate and colors do look more in-line with what I would expect (flesh-tones etc.) but... detail is relatively poor. We've been told that the UK Blu-ray (certainly looking boosted and overly green beside the MGM) was from an SD bump but perhaps this haze and darker image quality is closer to the theatrical. DNR could be a factor but plenty of noise still exists. I'm unsure but I can say I was expecting a lot more from the visuals. This may very well be a different print as there were at least 2 captures that I could not match 'exactly'. The specified frame did not appear to exist on the MGM 1080P transfer.

Audio may be the best part of this transfer. It sounds like it has some decent depth as well as a bit of surprising range. This area there is a notable difference and there are optional English, French and Spanish subtitles choices offered. My Momitsu has identified the US Blu-ray as being a region 'A'-locked.

There are no extras at all - except for inclusion of the flipper DVD (from 2000?).

I really hope a superior edition surfaces somewhere. If in-fact, this is the best then I can only say that I was anticipating more for the price.

***

 

Firstly, I don't own the MGM (Special Edition) found HERE - for, by the way, almost double the price of the Blu-ray. I wanted to clear up some statements on the Net about the Blu-ray transfer simply being an upconvert of the SD Master. While it appears to be true it still compares well to the atrocious single-layered DVD transfer (like looking through Vaseline on the lens), I would say that the 1080P is rather modest in its own right.

It's apparent that the original production had limitations - made for under 7 million. I'm guessing the film stock used wasn't premium and you, essentially, can't make a silk pure etc. But remaining positive - it looks significantly improved in all areas beyond the compared DVD. Colors shift - skin tones get a little warm - but detail advances dramatically. It's only single-layered and one of the earlier films to come out in the Blu-ray format. There is no depth and noise exists in smaller quantities - blacks are frequently crushed. No real grain is visible. It is what it is - this isn't Citizen Kane.

Audio as well takes the leap with a dependable lossless track - it never separates as crispy as more modern fare but it has a few impressive bumps and grinds in all the effect noises. Neither edition offers English subtitles but the DVD has French or Spanish as choices. My Momitsu has identified the UK Blu-ray as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Supplements easily go the way of the newer format rendering with a decent audio commentary by director Carpenter and actor Russell, a retrospective documentary, an initial scene deleted sequence and a brief interview with Carpenter. There is also a trailer.

There is something kind of wonderfully appealing about Escape From New York. It's great - but is it nothing more than an absurd macho adventure in a pseudo post-apocalyptic war-zone? with Adrienne Barbeau's luscious boobs? Yes... and your point being?

The Blu-ray is totally imperfect but is probably the best you are likely to find, at present, for this very viable B-esque popcorn flic. It's also very reasonably priced on Amazon UK. Grab a scotch with your cheap cigar and spend the evening with 'Snake'..... 'Snake Plissken'.

 -Gary Tooze

 



DVD Menus
 

 
 

 

MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 

NOTE: We could not match the MGM to the exact frame of the Optimum. That specific frame does not seem to exist on the US HD release.

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Optimum (UK) - Region FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum (UK)

Region FREE - Blu-ray

MGM

Region 'A' - Blu-ray




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Gary Tooze

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