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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Cincinnati Kid [Blu-ray]


(Norman Jewison, 1965)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video



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

Runtime: 1:42:48.203

Disc Size: 19,099,947,532 bytes

Feature Size: 18,399,148,032 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.97 Mbps

Chapters: 26

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 14th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1031 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1031 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), Danish, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none



• Commentary by director Norman Jewison

Scene-Specific Commentary  by Phil Gordon and Dave Foley

Plays According to Hoyle (6:15)

• Theatrical Trailer (2:59)





Description: Steve McQueen brings his cool fire to the role of The Cincinnati Kid, a small-timer eager to take his chances in high-stakes poker. He gets his chance. Regal, ruthless Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson), the elite gambler called the Man, accepts the Kid's challenge. Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck) directs this taut exploration of back-room gaming, building suspense with each turn of a card. And Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Rip Torn, National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Award winner Joan Blondell and many more comprise a full house of talent. Grab a chair and ante up.



The Film:

Norman Jewison, perhaps the best of the more unrecognized directors, replaces Sam Peckinpah, supposedly because Peckinpah tried to sneak in a nude scene with Sharon Tate into a US cut that was only proposed for the European edition. Fired Peckinpah disappears with Tate and the project stalls. Destined for greatness we have Ring Lardner and Terry Southern's script, taken from Richard Jessup's novel dealing with 2 poker-icons, the aged master and the fresh up-and-commer, meeting for THE big game in '30s New Orleans. A great assembled cast could have easily extended the film to twice its length. As it turns out with the game itself expertly takes up much of the latter half of the film. With McQueen and Edward G. Robinson as the combatants, Karl Malden as go-between and Tuesday Weld and Ann-Margaret as the female distractions - it is a classic. Jewison captures the poker community and southern mood as well as The Hustler did with pool - only with its own distinction and atmosphere. A fabulous film with intense and suspenseful moments, great editing and marvelous building pace.  out of   

Gary W. Tooze

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

The Cincinnati Kid looks great on Blu-ray from Warner. We reviewed the DVD 5-years ago HERE. It was also very strong in the lesser format. The hi-def image shows some grit and minor grain - as well as some very appealing depth. Detail is exceptional and contrast exacting. Colors seem true and tight. Skin tones seem confidently cool. This Blu-ray is surprising considering the age of the film and the fact it is only single-layered. By modern standards this might be considered tame visually but as a representation of the original - I expect it is extremely authentic. This Blu-ray will provide an enjoyable and vibrant presentation for most.

















Audio :

No Surround boost going on here - Warner remain authentically mono but transfer via a lossless DTS-HD Master at 1031 kbps. It's flat but consistent and Lalo Schifrin's score does wonders for the film. Depth creeps into certain spots - but it is, predictably, not very dynamic. There are plenty of optional subtitles (and foreign language DUBs) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

The supplements duplicate the last DVD with a feature-length commentary by Jewison that is extremely informative with minor gaps. Also included are a scene specific commentary with two 'poker aficionados', Phil Gordon and Dave Foley, who discuss the changes in the game of poker while viewing some of the significant hands played in the film. A featurette is included with some card tricks spliced in with scenes of Joan Blondell from the film.



I loved revisiting this film in 1080P as much of it felt like a 'virgin' viewing. Despite the much ballyhooed improbability of the finale - this is top flight entertainment - even for those who aren't poker bugs. Edward G. is in top form as are McQueen, Malden, Ann-Margret and Tuesday Weld. Jewison steers the ship with some subtly deft touches and this will be viewed as the masterpiece it is decades from now. It's like a clinic in filmmaking. Truly they don't make films like this anymore. As I feel about The Hustler, to have the Blu-ray in my collection is... comforting. This is strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 2nd, 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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