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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Man on a Swing [Blu-ray]


(Frank Perry, 1974)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:49:36.570

Disc Size: 19,058,745,926 bytes

Feature Size: 18,903,189,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 4th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 871 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 871 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: A small-town police chief, Lee Tucker (Cliff Robertson) investigating the murder of a young woman is offered help by a supposed clairvoyant, Franklin Wills (Joel Grey), who gives him details of the crime that he's seen in visions. The details are startlingly correct, but Tucker is not convinced that Wills is indeed clairvoyant and begins to suspect him of the murder. Man on a Swing, based on a true case, is a puzzling crime thriller, directed by Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest). The film includes a great cast of character actors: George Voskovec (12 Angry Men), Lane Smith (My Cousin Vinny) and Josef Sommer (Witness).



The Film:

Man on a Swing was a film that was little seen when it came out but one that nevertheless obtained some good reviews. Alas it languishes largely forgotten today, except for occasional appearances in graveyard tv schedules. Unearthed however, Man on a Swing proves to be a fascinating effort. Nominally it falls into the theme of the clairvoyant murder mystery that was the subject of a number of tv movies around the time – Baffled (1972), The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972) and Visions (1972). Though Man on a Swing initially seems to offer up one of the routine thriller plots that most of these engaged in, it soon becomes a unique film all of its own.

Man on a Swing is loosely drawn from a true-life murder investigation. It is based on a non-fiction book The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor (1971) by journalist William Arthur Clark. Clark described an unsolved murder of a girl that occurred in Dayton, Ohio where psychic Bill Boshears led him and the police department on a chase claiming to be able to solve the case. The case was never solved. The film keeps general faith to the book, although changes Clark’s reporter to a police chief and provides an arrestee at the end, even if we cannot entirely be sure that this is the right person. Today Bill Boshears is a well-known radio host who runs a Cincinnati-based syndicated radio show Sci-Zone, which deals with matters paranormal and conspiratorial.

Excerpt from located HERE

Man on a Swing, purportedly based on a true case, is a puzzling crime thriller concerning a clairvoyant who helps find a murderer. After a murder is committed, supposed clairvoyant Franklin Wills goes to police Chief Lee Tucker (Cliff Robertson) and gives him details of the crime that he has seen in visions. The details are startlingly correct and could only have been known to the killer. Tucker, not convinced that Wills is indeed clairvoyant, begins to suspect him of the murder. Man on a Swing, directed by Frank Perry, over-complicates its central theme, distracting the viewer from the film's strong central theme, the ambiguity of Wills. Joel Grey gives an outstanding, scene-stealing performance in that role, giving Wills both menace and a surprising vulnerability. Cliff Robertson is far-less successful in his portrayal of the no-nonsense police chief. The film's ambiguous ending should increase the suspense of the film but instead further confuses the viewer. However, because of the superb performance of Grey, Man on a Swing is worth a view.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Not a particularly dynamic video transfer on Blu-ray from Olive Films. As per usual, I suspect it is straight from the Paramount source with no 'restoration' or digital tinkering.  This is single-layered with a middling bitrate and colors look to be muted and contrast not at peak levels. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio film has been rendered to 1.78. It is fairly consistent with some noise surfacing in the visuals. There are speckles but no prominent damage. The Blu-ray is a notch above SD - but without some 'work' - this is probably the best Man on a Swing will get on digital. It is weak - but the 1080P didn't fatally harm my viewing experience. I continue to enjoy this film.
















Audio :

The prolific composer Lalo Schifrin provides an odd score that is transferred on Blu-ray in a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track at 871 kbps. Dialogue is a bit scattered and this may be a function of the production. Obviously nothing sounds dynamic but the score is notable for its creepy high end.  There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.



I've been a fan of Man on a Swing since I saw it decades ago. I confess I even bought a VHS copy from the Net just so I could see it again. It wasn't available in any format - till now. Anyone keen on this premise should watch this film. Robertson and Grey strike an interesting balance on-screen.  The Blu-ray is typical Olive Films but the benefit is seeing the film at all. I hope they uncover more forgotten gems like this. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 14th, 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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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