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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Picnic [Blu-ray]

 

(George Sidney , 1957)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:49:07.582

Disc Size: 37,402,748,485 bytes

Feature Size: 34,253,856,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3659 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3659 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2065 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2065 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Track: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Isolated Score Track

Backstage and at Home with Kim Novak (9:28)

   Trailer (4:59)

Julie Kirgo liner notes

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: “Frank Sinatra stars as John O’Hara’s caddish crooner in this 1957 film version of the O’Hara/Rodgers and Hart musical, Pal Joey. A fresh—very fresh—arrival on the San Francisco nightclub scene, the amoral and ambitious Joey soon finds himself entangled with two “mice”: the rapacious stripper-turned-society dame Vera (Rita Hayworth) and the good-girl chorine Linda (Kim Novak). Handsomely directed by George Sidney, the film features a double handful of Rodgers and Hart’s greatest tunes, including “Zip,” “My Funny Valentine,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” and “I Could Write a Book.”.

 

 

The Film:

The John O'Hara/Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Broadway musical Pal Joey created quite a stir during its original theatrical run in 1940. Here we had a heel of a hero who sleeps with a wealthy older woman in order to realize his dream of owning his own nightclub, and who breaks the heart of the girl who truly loves him when she impedes his plans to get ahead. Blossom Time it wasn't. Due to the seamy nature of the plot and the double- and single-entendre song lyrics (especially the original words for "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", which you aren't likely to hear on most mainstream recordings of this tune), Pal Joey could not be faithfully filmed back in the 1940s. Even this 1957 version, made at a time when movie censorship was beginning to relax, was extensively sanitized for public consumption. Ambitious singer/dancer Joey (Frank Sinatra) is still something of a louse, but a redeemable one. The relationship between Joey and his older benefactress Vera Simpson (Rita Hayworth, who was actually a few years younger than Sinatra) is one of implication rather than overt statement. And Joey's true love, chorine Linda English (Kim Novak), is as pure as the driven snow, who vehemently expresses distaste at having to perform a striptease. The Rodgers and Hart songs ("I Could Write a Book" the aforementioned "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered") which seemed so cynical and ironic back in 1940, are given the typically lush, luxurious Hollywood treatment (many of the tunes, notably "There's a Small Hotel", were borrowed from other Rodgers and Hart shows, a not uncommon practice of the time). Pal Joey is nice to look at and consummately performed, but don't expect the bite of the original play, or the John O'Hara short stories which preceded them.

***

There is no doubt that this is largely Mr. Sinatra's show. As the amiable grifter with an iron ego, he projects a distinctly bouncy likable personality into an unusual role. And his rendition of the top tunes, notably "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Small Hotel," gives added lustre to these indestructible standards. He gets a professional assist from Miss Hayworth, who undoubtedly will be the envy of all women. As the red-haired charmer whom he finally rejects, she wears a succession of negligees and gowns that would make any couturier drool. And she has occasion to sing "Zip" with the uninhibited eclat of any burlesque queen.

The blonde Miss Novak is decorative, too, as any red-blooded American boy will attest, but her subdued histrionics and singing are not nearly as convincing as her robust competition. Hank Henry deserves honorable mention as the gravel-voiced operator of the night club.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

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

The Twilight Time Blu-ray release of Pal Joey looks superior to the DVD from the Kim Novak Collection reviewed HERE but not an overwhelming amount. It has a thicker more film-like image via the dual-layering. There is a high bitrate and nothing has been tampered with on the digital-front.  Colors are bolder, detail goes up a notch and the textures are more apparent. Depth is not an attribute and there is some noise. The film looks like other 50's films we have seen come to 1080P. It looks decent without glaringly strong benefits of a Blu-ray viewing experience. I suspect that this is a faithful representation - clean, fairly rich and grain.

 

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

 

Sony (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC (HERE) TOP vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC (HERE) TOP vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC (HERE) TOP vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC (HERE) TOP vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Sony (Kim Novak Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC (HERE) TOP vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The track may be an important facet to the transfer and we are given a DTS-HD Master 5.1 option at 3659 kbps and a similar 2.0 channel stereo track at 2065 kbps. I sampled the surround but stuck with the leaner track and it did the job well. Rodgers and Hart music with Nelson Riddle adaptations crooned by Sinatra with DUBs for the gals by Trudy Erwin (for Kim Novak) and Jo Ann Greer (for Rita Hayworth) singing songs like "I Could Write A Book", "Zip" and "The Lady is a Tramp" sound fabulous in lossless. There is an isolated HD stereo track as an option. There are nicely rendered optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Twilight Time is usually lean on the supplements but this has a quaint little 10-minutes Backstage and at Home with Kim Novak at her country residence - nice to see she is enjoying life away from Hollywood. There is also a trailer and the, predictable, isolated score and more informative Julie Kirgo liner notes.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'm not as partial to Pal Joey as some but did enjoy my presentation. For serious fans the lossless musical numbers may be worthy enough to indulge. This was another strong choice to put on Blu-ray, and I appreciate the attempt at supplements. Sinatra, Novak and Hayworth fans now have the option to enjoy Pal Joey in 1080P - limited to 3,000 copies by Twilight Time. 

Gary Tooze

April 4th, 2012


 

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.

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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