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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Stunt Man [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Rush, 1980)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Severin Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:10:41.667

Disc Size: 46,426,085,740 bytes

Feature Size: 22,720,155,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.71 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 7th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2726 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2726 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Audio commentary with writer/director Richard Rush and stars Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey, Alex Rocco, Sharon Farrell, & Chuck Bail

The Sinister Saga: The Making of The Stuntman (1:54:21 in 1080i)

'The Maverick Career of Richard Rush (34:18 - in 1080P)

• Peter O'Toole Recounts The Stuntman (18:46 - in 1080P)

• Devil's Squadron: An interview with Steve Railsback and Alex Rocco (18:59 in 1080P)

• Barbra Hershey on Nina Franklin (14:23 in 1080P)

• The Stuntman at the New Beverley (17:18 in 1080P)

• 2 Deleted Scenes (Sandpile - 2:39, Police Station - 3:15 - both in 1080P)

• 3 Trailers (Teaser, Theatrical, Spanish)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: It defied all odds to become the most unexpected and acclaimed cult hit of the 80s, and it remains one of the most slyly subversive and thrillingly original action/comedy/drama motion pictures of all time. The legendary Peter O'Toole in his iconic Oscar® nominated performance stars as director Eli Cross, a deliciously megalomaniacal madman commanding a film-set circus where a paranoid young veteran (Steve Railsback) finds himself maybe replacing a dead stunt man, possibly falling for the beautiful leading lady (Barbara Hershey), and discovering that love, death and the mayhem of moviemaking can definitely be the wildest illusions of all. THE STUNT MAN now features a stunning HD transfer supervised by Oscar® nominated producer/director Richard Rush, plus new interviews and commentaries with Rush, Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback and Alex Rocco, all in the ultimate edition of the classic that the Los Angeles Times calls as innovative today as Citizen Kane was in its time!

 

 

The Film:

Richard Rush, the semi-legendary, often too-independent film director who cut his teeth on such American-International drive-in quickies as Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) and Psych-Out (1968), knows what it feels like to never receive the attention from the American public that you probably deserve, even when you successfully pull off a shockingly original film.

"I was lecturing at a university film school to a bunch of potential film students and asked them if any of them had seen my films," Rush told the British film journalist Paul Hupfield in 2001. "I started with Color of Night (1994), and I'd say about 80 hands went up out of a room of about 200 kids. Then I asked if anyone had seen The Stunt Man (1980), the film I actually wanted to talk to them about, and only two hands went up. Two hands in a room of 200! I thought, 'Oh boy, my film is totally lost on this generation...'"

The Stunt Man, a bizarre swirl of pseudo-surrealism that stars Peter O'Toole as an egotistical, dangerously manipulative film director named Eli Cross, is easily Rush's most critically revered movie, having garnered three Oscar® nominations (including nods to O'Toole for Best Actor and Rush himself for Best Director), so it makes sense that he wanted to discuss it with a captive audience. But he surely must have been a little bit prepared for the crowd's lack of enthusiasm, since that's how most of Hollywood responded to his years-long attempt to get the picture made. Then, once he actually made it, he had troubled getting it released!

Excerpt from Gator MacReady at Eye For Film located HERE

This was director Richard Rush's dream project and it took him nine years to get it on the screen. And, of course, it would! It's multi-layered, original, funny and packed full of story and circumstance that makes you think.

Why would any studio want to touch it? Fox even sat on it for two years before giving it a limited release. [...] The Stunt Man is a movie you'll never forget and even on its umpteenth viewing, still manages to be as intriguing as the first.

Excerpt from Garor MacReady at Eye For Film located HERE

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

Anchor Bay came out with a stellar DVD edition (optimistically advertised as limited to 100,000 units) in 2001. And until now it was the definitive edition of the film on digital. Up next; The Stunt Man appears strong on Blu-ray from Severin. The 1080P image shows grit and grain looking thick, authentic and pleasing. Colors are naturally bright without manipulated vibrancy.  This is a dual-layered disc with an acceptable bitrate for the feature transfer. The textures are notable, there isn't an abundance of depth but the print used is exceptionally clean. One rub on the older DVD was the inconsistency of the appearance. This hi-def edition seems to overcome that looking mostly strong throughout. This is the type of 'brave' film-like image we get from companies like Blue Underground. This Blu-ray probably looks like the theatrical representation of The Stunt Man and it advances beyond SD in a number of areas. Bravo Severin!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2726 kbps is not the most aggressive track but it has some moments. The mix is not crisply sending effects to the rears but it sounds like a suitable audio transfer nonetheless with segments of depth and no notable flaws. The score is by Dominic Frontiere who has don a lot of TV work. This supports the film without being intrusive - and through the lossless is clean and useful to the feel of the film. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Supplements seem endless - from the old Anchor Bay we have the same, fun audio commentary with writer/director Richard Rush and stars Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey, Alex Rocco, Sharon Farrell, & Chuck Bail. While mostly a group effort some participants were recorded separately. It is well worth indulging in for the niche fans of the film. Impressive is the almost 2-hour Richard Rush 2000 documentary The Sinister Saga: The Making of The Stuntman in 1080i. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Stuntman and is loaded with information from the person who would know it best. It features interviews with stars O'Toole and Hershey, plus other members of the cast and crew There are also plenty of other video extras - all in HD. This includes a 1/2 piece on the director entitled 'The Maverick Career of Richard Rush', a 20-minute interview with Peter O'Toole and his recollections of The Stuntman, an appealing interview with Steve Railsback and Alex Rocco entitled Devil's Squadron, 15-minutes with Barbara Hershey on Nina Franklin, a segment on The Stuntman at the New Beverley theater, 2 Deleted Scenes (Sandpile - 2:39, Police Station - 3:15 - both in 1080P) and 3 Trailers (Teaser, Theatrical, Spanish). Wow.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
There is so much to enjoy. This film has extensive layers and seems to have been overlooked by some of the major critics as the delightful cornucopia of adventure/love/escape that it offers viewers. The movie-within-a-movie themes are explored in kind of an abstract way that end up being both amusing and addictive. It has 'cult status' written all over it. The Blu-ray is an impressive package. A lot of love went into this edition and it makes for a very desirable purchase. We endorse! 

Gary Tooze

May 27th, 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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