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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Brighton Rock [Blu-ray]

 

(John Boulting, 1947)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC)

Video: Optimum Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:17.041

Disc Size: 29,873,874,914 bytes

Feature Size: 16,676,413,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.09 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard (UK - thicker) Blu-ray case

Release date: February 28th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• Interview with Rowman Joffe (20:11 - 576i)

• John Boulting and Richard Attenborough interviewed at BFI 1954 (audio only 1:07:57)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In this vivid adaptation of Graham Greene's novel about the seedy British beachfront underworld, Richard Attenborough appears in top form as petty gangster Pinkie Brown. The manipulative thug rashly commits a murder and uses a waitress (Carol Marsh) to provide his alibi, with unexpected consequences.

 

 

The Film:

The film is so densely plotted (unsurprising given its source material) that it is difficult to describe. It concerns a 17-year-old gang leader, Pinkie (Richard Attenborough - a much better actor than he is a director) who seeks revenge for the murder of a gang member, once the retaliation is complete he spends the rest of the film making threats, double crossing and being double crossed, in the course of which he marries a waitress (Carol Marsh) who saw things she shouldn't have, since a wife is unable to give evidence against her husband.

Part of Brighton Rock's success must lie in its Englishness: its domain is that which consists of bank holidays and pubs, racecourses and second-rate B&Bs. Another reason must be Attenborough's performance which despite his character's inherent demonry still manages to enlist our sympathy

Excerpt from Stephen Cox Edinborough Film Society located HERE

Beginning with a thrilling chase sequence in which newspaperman Kolley Kibber is hounded by a gang of razor-blade carrying spivs through 30s Brighton, John Boulting's adaptation of Graham Greene's classic novel stakes its claim as one of the darkest films ever to be made on these shores.

Following vicious gang leader "Pinky" (Attenborough) as he tries to cover up the murder of his former best friend, "Brighton Rock" exposes the seedy underside of the resort. Forced into a corner by the trail of evidence he's left behind and by the machinations of rival mobster Colleoni (Charles Goldner), Pinky has to marry na´ve waitress Rose (Marsh) in order to keep her from testifying against him.

Excerpt from BBC Film Reviews located HERE

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

With the existing and best elements available for Brighton Rock this is the highest level it is likely to look on Blu-ray without a (further) restoration. The hour and a half film is dual-layered transferred with a high bitrate.  Contrast is modest reflecting the density of the print but detail has some impressive moments. There is some reasonable grain but also a bit of noise. Infrequent speckles remain but they are not overly prevalent and Optimum's image quality here looks good - but not great. There is a smattering of depth but while this is a step beyond SD and easy to judge as HD giving a solid 1080P presentation - it is not a pristine standards due to limitations of the source. The grain textures helped my appreciation of the presentation as more film-like. I doubt it will be looking any better in the foreseeable future.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The track is faithfully flat using a linear PCM stereo channel at 2304 kbps. Even lacking crispness or depth I can't imagine is sounding much better. It is clear without distracting hiss or flaws, but it, predictably, lacks any dynamic substance. Optimum have seen fit to include optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Supplements include a 20-minute interview, in 576i PAL, with Rowman Joffe the director/writer of the 2010 version of Brighton Rock and an hour long audio only interview with John Boulting and Richard Attenborough at BFI from 1954. I should note that there are some pretty cool menus with a revolving carousel of post cards with live action scenes from the film. A nice touch.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Brighton Rock is still a great film - with plenty of Noir charm (possibly the 'best' Brit effort of that cycle complete with its version of femmes fatales). Greene's novel has a rough edge that is reflected adeptly in the film and Attenborough is in primo form. I had Brighton Rock on DVD from some sort of newspaper giveaway years ago - but of course it can't be found. I do recall it being significantly inferior to this Blu-ray transfer which I don't doubt as being the best for Home Theater enjoyment. It is definitely a film to re-watch every few years - certainly recommended for fans of vintage British film or the 'black cinema'! 

Gary Tooze

July 15th, 2011

 


 

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.

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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