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Street Angel [Blu-ray]
(Frank Borzage, 1928)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Fox Film Corporation
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 39,238,375,758 bytes
Feature Size: 25,285,435,392 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: November 3rd, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.26:1 matted to 1.78
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
• Queté de la Pureté with Hervé Dumont (12:24 - French - no subtitles)
•Frank Borzage Les Ailes du Desir (14:31 - French - no subtitles)
• Screen Director's Playhouse "A Ticket For Thaddeus" (25:27 - English with French subtitles)
• Photo gallery (40 images)
• 28-page booklet with photos and text (French only)
Description: In STREET ANGEL, a poverty-stricken girl steals medicine for her ailing mother, making her a fugitive from the law. While on the lam, she joins a travelling carnival where she meets and falls in love with a portrait painter. But just as romance begins to blossom, her past catches up with her and she is arrested and thrown in jail. Upon her release, she seeks out her painterly beau--who has long since abandoned his craft--and saves him from self-destruction.
The Film: ...A picture of wonderful beauty, entitled "Street Angel," was presented by William Fox at the Globe Theatre last night. This entrancing production was directed by Frank Borsage, who guided the destinies of the pictorial version of "Seventh Heaven." In it the leading roles are finely portrayed by Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Never has the camera been used quite so effectively and artistically as it is in this subject, for in the background of the sombre side of Naples there are the compelling shadows, the inspiring old arches, the slender iron railings over the foot-worn steps and, in many of the scenes, there hangs a soft mist through which the characters sometimes fade gradually from view.
As with 7th Heaven the screen caps don't do enough justice to the Blu-ray image. While the Carlotta 1.26:1 AR corrects the the Fox DVD's unnatural 1.20:1 ratio being somewhere between the two DVD extremes. As a matter of fact, the BFI now looks vertically compressed at times - Brian's review of the Borzage Vol. 1 set is HERE (NOTE: Craig Keller noticed HERE, the aspect ratio of Street Angel was artificially compressed from 1.33:1 to 1.20:1 in the Fox DVD set but I still think the BFI is squished a bit - the BFI looks less natural to me). The BFI also has 4% PAL speedup. I think the dual-layered Blu-ray transfer, with the feature taking up over 25 Gig, is giving an un-manipulated representation from the source (which, incidentally, is the same in all three). The DVDs look flatter and video-like the 1080P image shows textured, appealing, grain. It benefits quite extensively in-motion. This is a comparable image to 7th Heaven, again, not at the level of the Masters of Cinema City Girl. Blu-ray resolution brings out damage as well as material, clothes fibers and other textures to a more prominent level. This looked great on my system - I expect as good as it can for home theater enjoyment.
NOTE: Brian reviewed the DVD BFI package HERE.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray Captures
I believe this is the MovieTone scoreand it is transferred with a linear PCM mono track at 768 kbps. Like 7th Heaven - it's clean and crisper than on DVD. There is a perception of some minor depth. There are French subtitles for the intertitles - removable my pressing the subtitle button on your remote (on both my machines) although there is no menu option to remove them - they are set to default. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Unfortunately this is missing the excellent Robert Birchard commentary found in theMurnau, Borzage and Fox box set. being French Blu-ray production - 2 of the 3 video supplements are in French only. Queté de la Pureté has author Hervé Dumont discussing the film for a dozen minutes in French with no subtitle options. There is also15-minutes of Frank Borzage Les Ailes du Desir with some great photos and a French-only text 28-page booklet with more photos. Accessible to English-locked audiences is the 25-minute Screen Director's Playhouse "A Ticket For Thaddeus" directed by Borzage - this is also in English. There is an impressive photo gallery (if only the film could look this amazing!) of 40 film stills and some disc credits.
NOTE: It has been reported that some North American systems have difficulty in playing the video supplements.
October 27th, 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
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze