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Badge 373 [Blu-ray]
(Howard W. Koch, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Paramount Pictures
Video: Olive Films / Indicator
Region: 'A'/ Region 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:56:12.966 / 1:55:47.649
Disc Size: 22,883,045,875 bytes / 42,601,502,184 bytes
Feature Size: 22,771,083,264 bytes / 33,867,126,336 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps / 34.00 Mbps
Chapters: 9 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent BD case
Release date: April 24th, 2012 / October 28th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1/ 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 830 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 830 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
• English (SDH), none
• Welcome to Fear City
(2019, 24:39): actor and former NYPD detective Randy
Jurgensen remembers the life and career of Eddie Egan, and
discusses his experiences in the film industry
Description: Badge 373 is a crime thriller in the tradition of "The French Connection" and "Serpico". Eddie Ryan (Robert Duvall), a tough, no-nonsense and abrasive Irish cop, has to turn in his badge after scuffling with a suspect who then falls to his death from a rooftop. But that doesn't stop him from heading out on a one-man crusade to avenge his partner's murder, all the while neglecting his new live-in girlfriend, Maureen (Verna Bloom). Ryan's investigation leads him to Puerto Rican drum kingpin, Sweet Willie (Henry Darrow), and the shipment of guns for the Puerto Rican Crime Syndicate. Real life policeman, Eddie Egan plays Duvall's Lieutenant. Screenplay by journalist, Pete Hamill and directed by big-time Hollywood producer, Howard W. Koch.
If it's strange to find an intelligent and thoughtful crime movie, it's stranger still to find two of them - and back-to-back at the same theater. "Badge 373," based on the adventures of New York detective Eddie ("The French Connection") Egan, has followed "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" into the United Artists. And it's a tough movie with some interesting things to say about cops-and-robbers morality. It's based on Egan's adventures, I guess, in roughly the same way that "Lady Sings the Blues" was based on the life of Billie Holiday: The facts have not been allowed to get in the way. I can believe, for example, that Egan really did set out to find the killer of his partner. But I somehow doubt that their final confrontation came hundreds of feet in the air on a crane in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and that the killer had a machine-gun as well as several philosophical points to make about the Puerto Rican experience.Excerpt from Ruger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE
Egan appears in a supporting role in Badge 373 as a police lieutenant while Robert Duvall plays Egan, renamed Eddie Ryan here due to the fictitious nature of some of the narrative. Like Hackman, Duvall portrays Eddie as a tough, unrelenting, crude and often violent cop who will use any means necessary to get his man. In this case, it's Sweet Willie (Henry Darrow), a Harvard-educated, Puerto Rican drug czar whose crime syndicate has influential links to the rich and powerful as well as political activists and the NYC community. When Eddie's partner is killed in an undercover drug investigation, Eddie turns in his badge (numbered 373, Egan's real badge number) and goes on a one-man vigilante mission to get the man responsible for the murder. Ryan behaves like a bull in a china shop for the course of the film, starting with an opening drug bust in a Spanish Harlem disco and proceeding to a rooftop beating of a Puerto Rican suspect (who falls to his death), a police brutality charge, confrontations with various prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, armed henchmen and angry radicals, and a climactic fight atop a crane in the Brooklyn naval yard. All the while, Eddie's current girlfriend Maureen (Verna Bloom) is left waiting on the sidelines, hungry for a little time alone with Eddie that she never seems to get except for a brief getaway to the country which, of course, is short-lived. No, Badge 373 is all about loyalty and honor and in this case, the code requires revenge for a partner's murder - nothing else matters.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Badge 373 looks surprisingly strong on Blu-ray from Olive Films. It still supports much of the intensity, darkness and grain from the 70's but looks reasonably impressive in terms of detail. It is single-layered but a reasonable bitrate for the 2-hour film. The HD image, and the film itself, were both superior to my expectations. The 1.85 has been converted to a bastardized (opened-up) 1.78 aspect ratio.
Everything is superior on the Indicator Blu-ray. Firstly, it is in the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio, black levels are significantly deeper, and detail rises through the dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate (50% higher than the 2012 Olive.) Grain is also more visible and consistent. Indicator, predictably, wins on every front.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Olive Films remains authentically mono with a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel at a lowly 830 kbps. With Badge 373 being, pretty much, J.J. Jackson 's only composition credit for original music it might be looked at somewhat critically but I liked the uniqueness and thought it did a good job supporting the film - that gets plenty of work outside of the famous bus-chase scene. The lossless audio has no strong attributes but seems competent. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Indicator advance here too with a 24-bit linear PCM mono track. The audio is flat carrying minor depth and Indicator offer optional English (SDH) sub titles on their Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.
Consistent for Olive Films there are no supplements.
Indicator offer some new supplements. Welcome to Fear City runs 25-minutes and has actor and former NYPD detective Randy Jurgensen remembering the life and career of Eddie Egan, and discusses his experiences in the film industry. Lethal Enforcers spends almost 1/2 hour with film critic Glenn Kenny who analyses the styles and trends of seventies cop movies. I enjoyed this. There is an original theatrical trailer, TV and radio spots, plus an image gallery of promotional and publicity material. This limited edition release (3,000 copies) includes a limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Michael Pattison, an archival on-set report, an overview of critical responses, and film credits.
Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
I liked Badge 373 even more in this viewing. Quite a neglected and gritty police thriller from the early 70s. It has a strong air of realism and the Indicator Blu-ray wins handily on every front. The extras make this a valued purchase for those keen on this era's intense police-action dramas.
April 16th, 2012
October 17th, 2019
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 5000 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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