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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

 

directed by Sidney Lumet
USA 1973

 

Serpico was one of those fortunate circumstances in filmmaking where a compelling true story hit home with the mood of the country and the times. It all came together with an enthusiastic producer seeking to make his mark in the industry, an emerging young actor at the height of his talents backed by a strong supporting cast, and an experienced director with a feel for authentic locations and a sure hand at guiding performers to their best performance.

Frank Serpico was a New York City police officer who made headlines when he bucked the system and went public about entrenched and extensive corruption within the department. Serpico’s principled stand made him a public hero but a pariah on the force and may well have contributed to his shooting during a drug bust. When Peter Maas’ best-selling book about Serpico was brought to the attention of Martin Bregman, a film industry talent manager and representative looking to break into producing motion pictures, he knew he had found the perfect vehicle. He also knew the perfect actor for the project, one of his own clients.

Despite his highly praised performance in The Godfather (1972), Al Pacino truly became a star with Serpico. His work in the earlier film was part of an ensemble, dominated by Marlon Brando’s towering portrayal of a Mafia don and secondary to the attention paid to Francis Ford Coppola as a major new force in film directing. Serpico, however, was totally Pacino’s film, and he threw himself into the part with the intensity and focus for which he would become known in his long career as one of America’s best actors. Serpico earned him a huge fan base, critical praise, and a number of awards and nominations for his electrifying performance of a man fighting not only City Hall but his own inner fears, frustrations, and isolation. He was ably supported by a cast of mostly little-known character actors whose relative anonymity boosted the strong sense of reality needed to drive the script’s story and themes.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 5th, 1973

Reviews                             More Reviews                        DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 Box Covers

 

 

 

Also available in a Blu-ray Steelbook:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Studio Canal
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Paramount
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:09:55 2:10:06.840 2:10:07.841 2:10:06.089
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.15 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,576,301,384 bytes

Feature: 43,369,211,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,342,631,014 bytes

Feature: 31,316,496,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,837,290,827 bytes

Feature: 41,782,459,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Paramount

 

Bitrate:

 

Studio Canal (Blu-ray)

 

Bitrate:

 

Paramount (Blu-ray)

 

Bitrate:

 

Masters of Cinema (Blu-ray)

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1597 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1597 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1585 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1585 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1593 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1593 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1765 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1765 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3712 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3712 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3451 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3451 kbps /
24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, none French, German, Spanish, none English, French, Spanish, none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Serpico: Real to Reel (9:56)
• Inside Serpico (12:52)
• Serpico: Favorite Moments (2:37)
• Still gallery (4:22) Lumet commentary

DVD Release Date: December 3rd, 2002
Keep case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Studio Canal

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,576,301,384 bytes

Feature: 43,369,211,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Featurette: Sidney Lumet Cineaste New York (28:47 in English)
• Looking for Al Pacino (29:22)
• 
Separate Video and Audio tests
 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 11th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Paramount

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,342,631,014 bytes

Feature: 31,316,496,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Serpico: Real to Reel (9:58)
• Inside Serpico (12:55)
• Serpico: Favorite Moments (2:39)
• Still gallery (4:24) with Lumet commentary
• Trailer (4:16)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: December 3rd, 2013
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 18

 

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

 

1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,837,290,827 bytes

Feature: 41,782,459,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 
Original theatrical trailer (4:08 in 1080P)
• Video documentary Serpico: Reel to Real (9:55 in 1080i)
• Video documentary Inside Serpico (12:51 in 1080i)
• Video piece Serpico: Favorite Moments (2:35 in 1080i)

• Photo Gallery with Lumet Commentary (4:21 in 1080i)
• 36-PAGE FULL-COLOUR BOOKLET featuring a new and exclusive essay by critic and author of Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor, Karina Longworth; rare archival imagery, and more!
 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 24th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 18

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema (February 2014): Firstly, I've only compared a few captures below - but the image is almost a duplicate of the Paramount only it is more robust with slight variances in superior skin tones and textures via the UK release's visuals. I would guess that it is the same source (D1?) just more robustly transferred. The MoC supports the Paramount framing (1.78 without the vertically compressed look of the French rendering) and is the best of the three - if only marginally. I suspect that most systems won't be discerning enough to pick-and-choose in regards to the video.

In regards to the audio, Masters of Cinema intelligently offer the original mono track in lossless ( a linear PCM) this, again, adds a step of improvement overall other releases. It sounds authentically flat and also has the option for the 5.1 surround - equally as strong as the US transfer. This is notable especially in Mikis Theodorakis' (Z), very 70s, score. MoC also has optional English (SDH) subtitles and is region 'B'-locked.

Extras dupliocate the Paramount - the 3 video pieces, Photo gallery with Lumet commentary and trailer BUT they add a substantial 36-page full color booklet featuring a new and exclusive essay by critic and author of Al Pacino: Anatomy of an Actor, Karina Longworth and rare archival imagery!

The film is always impressive and I think it is one worthy of owning via a Steelbook. Serpico only improves with age. I am pleased to give MoC the nod for the definitive edition - advancing in all areas. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray (November 2013): If you view the large captures and toggle between then you can see the Studio Canal looks slightly vertically compressed (or the Paramount of vertically stretched!), In looking closely, I would guess (and it is only a guess) that the Paramount is more correct. As for the US edition's warmer skins tones and darker image - I have no idea which is truer to the theatrical. The French Blu-ray from 2010 is in 1.85:1 where the Paramount is 1.78:! (opened-up to show a tad more information in the frame). The Studio Canal has a more robust technical transfer. Both gave me a great presentation and it was super to see the film, yet, again. I don't have any strong preferences - on one hand feel the darker image is probably more accurate but I also like the realism of the European transfer skin tones. Contrast and detail seem about the same to my eye - the Paramount may exhibit a small amount of noise in the darkest parts of the fim.

In audio, Paramount has gone lossless with the surround bump but left the original 2.0 channel in simple Dolby.  The 5.1 sounds decent - with some depth in the gun shots and a few notable separations that add to the flavor. Purists may lean to the Studio Canal. The Paramount offers optional English (and French and Spanish) subtitles - and the Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

Paramount only add a trailer to the 4, 1/2 hour long (in total), featurettes that we have already seen on their 2002 DVD. I think this may cause a leaning to the Studio Canal, although a commentary would have been appreciated from either. 

Great thing about the Paramount is the price - very reasonable considering the value of the film. Pacino is budding with a control few actors can attain. If you don't already own the Studio Canal - the Paramount Blu-ray seems a worthwhile purchase.   

***

ADDITION: Studio Canal (July 2010): Firstly, the Studio Canal Blu-ray is region 'B'-locked. Upon inserting the disc it offers you the choice of German, Spanish, French and then the menus are in that language. It will default to a DUB of that same language but you CAN turn off any subtitles and choose original English audio without enforcement.

The 2002 Paramount DVD was quite strong - dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive with colors that match up well with the new French Blu-ray. Where I noticed a superiority was in the occasional digital noise of the DVD and depth that is present in the 1080P transfer. The Blu-ray bitrate is between 5-6 X that of the DVD and this becomes very apparent in motion. Colors also improve marginally (DVD tends to look a bit green beside the BD) and the dual-layered Blu-ray, with over 43 Gig dedicated to the 2 hour 10-minute feature film shows some good texturizing film grain. It is one of those instances where the screen captures don't bear out the entire story. This Blu-ray looks clean and sweet.

Studio Canal haven't added any false surround bumps and it offers a lossless DTS-Master in 2.0 channel stereo (along with 3 similar DUBs) - all around 1500 Kbps. It has the perception of range and the bass seems to support the inherent depth of the original track. It seems to advance quite handily, depending on the scene, on the DVD. The DVD has optional English subtitles where the European disc offers French, Spanish, or German. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

Supplements are a little slim for the DVD - a Lumet commentary would have been ideal but we only get 4 skimpy featurettes at around 25-minutes in total. In the 5-minute 'Stills Gallery' commentary Lumet actually talks about the film's Mikis Theodorakis score. The Blu-ray has some more substantial featurettes - 2, both in English - almost a 1/2 hour on the director and he is quite wonderful to listen to and another kind of ad-hoc piece on the 'mysterious' Pacino also running 30-minutes. An odd addition are two tests - one for video the other audio - through your player/system - and they appear more thorough than other I have seen in the past. This is kind of a stop-gap calibration that may very well help a few systems out there.

I don't know why but I didn't have high hopes for this Blu-ray but it far exceeded my expectations and I was able to gain a new appreciation for the gritty police drama Serpico and the young actor Pacino. It's a film that carries that wonderful 70's realistic feel with a very dark, grey, New York City and the constant aura of doom and depression. Hollywood hasn't had such success at recreating vérité cinema based on individual stories of less-commercialized legal or political injustice. Serpico is a very important film - expertly directed. This Blu-ray is recommend for those keen on the very best presentation of this gripping expose. I'd be surprised if anyone creates a better transfer. Recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

 


 Menus
(
Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 

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

 

Subtitle sample

 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE / MoC Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Paramount + MoC Blu-rays

Sound:

MoC Blu-ray

Extras: MoC Blu-ray (Booklet)

 
 Box Covers

 

 

 

Also available in a Blu-ray Steelbook:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Studio Canal
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Paramount
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

 




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