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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Rumble Fish [Blu-ray]

 

(Francis Ford Coppola, 1983)

 

Also available as a Limited Edition Steelbook HERE:

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal

Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #42 / Criterion Collection Spine #869

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked/ Region 'A'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:34:16.651 / 1:34:29.497

Disc Size: 37,387,123,623 bytes / 49,684,484,021 bytes

Feature Size: 32,243,980,416 bytes / 24,099,434,496 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 25.96 Mbps

Chapters: 14 / 23

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case or Steelbook / Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: August 27th, 2012 / April 25th, 2017

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3857 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3857 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1576 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1576 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1570 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1570 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 785 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 785 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2049 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2049 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3771 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3771 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Music and effects track
Audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
On Location in Tulsa, a video piece featuring new and vintage interviews and behind-the-scenes footage (11:41)
The Percussion-Based Score, a video piece on the film's soundtrack (11:54)
Six deleted scenes (19:25)
Original theatrical trailer (2:19)
A lavish booklet featuring the words of Francis Ford Coppola, rare archival imagery, and more…

 

Audio commentary featuring Coppola
New interviews with Coppola (19:16), author and coscreenwriter S. E. Hinton (17:57), and associate producer Roman Coppola (7:59)
New conversation between Burum and production designer Dean Tavoularis (30:41)
Pieces from 2005 about the film’s score and production (11:55)
Interviews from 1983 with actors Matt Dillon + Diane Lane (21:09), and Vincent Spano and producer Doug Claybourne (8:57)
French television interview from 1984 with actor Mickey Rourke (8:46)

On Location in Tulsa (11:41)
Locations: Looking for Rusty James, a 2013 documentary by Alberto Fuguet about the impact of Rumble Fish (1:29:28)
New piece about the film’s existentialist elements (20:33)
“Don’t Box Me In” music video (3:36)
• 6 Deleted scenes with Coppola Introduction
Trailer (2:15)
PLUS: An essay by critic Glenn Kenny

 

Bitrates:

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: In this deeply personal tale of estrangement and reconciliation between two rebellious brothers, set in a dreamlike and timeless Tulsa, Francis Ford Coppola gives mythic dimensions to intimate, painful emotions. The director’s “art film for teenagers” was his second adaptation of young-adult novelist S. E. Hinton’s work in a single year, after the more classically styled The Outsiders. Graced with a remarkable cast headed by Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, and Diane Lane; haunting black-and-white visuals that hark back to German expressionism and forward to Coppola’s own Tetro; and a powerful percussive score by Stewart Copeland that underlines the movie’s romantic fatalism, Rumble Fish pulsates throughout with genuine love and dread.

***

In this second of Francis Ford Coppola's back-to-back screen adaptations of novels by S. E. Hinton, the grand romanticism of The Outsiders was flipped to create an expressionist, monochrome vision of youthful passion and melancholy, and became one of Coppola's most personal and dazzling works.

Against a run-down, industrial Tulsa, Oklahoma, Coppola presents a vivid portrait of troubled teenage gang leader Rusty James (Matt Dillon) as he struggles with cohorts, rival gangs, his frustrated girlfriend Patty (Diane Lane), his estranged father (Dennis Hopper), and the return of his idolised older brother 'The Motorcycle Boy' (Mickey Rourke).

An audacious depiction of gang violence, dead-end lives, and the ties that bind, Rumble Fish remains a cult favourite and features magnificent cinematography by Stephen H. Burum, a Golden Globe-winning score by Stewart Copeland, and a remarkable cast that also includes Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, Tom Waits, and Laurence Fishburne. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the world-première release of Rumble Fish on Blu-ray &
Blu-ray SteelBook.

 

 

The Film:

One of two S.E. Hinton novels Francis Ford Coppola directed in 1983, Rumble Fish is a stylized black-and-white film... about the death of gang culture in a rough-and-tumble town full of stunted youths. The central character is the strutting Rusty James (Matt Dillon), a foul-mouthed lunkhead clad in sweaty tank tops, who passes his time at the billiards hall waiting for "something" to happen in his life. That something might be the return of his brother, known only as the Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke), from exile in California. Charismatic and intelligent, the Motorcycle Boy once led numerous wide-eyed followers into battle, into the "rumbles" once commonplace in town. Rusty James wants to take over that role, but lacks the smarts necessary for leadership, nearly getting himself killed in an opening fight. The Motorcycle Boy stops the fight with equal parts efficiency and cool, and Rusty James seems delighted by his brother's return. But it quickly becomes clear that a local cop (William Smith) is still gunning for the Motorcycle Boy, waiting for him to slip up, even though the mysterious youth has developed a weary philosophy of life and a skeptical view of his former power. As the Motorcycle Boy seems more and more distant, lost in deaf and color-blind fugues, Rusty James gets into greater trouble, running afoul of his girlfriend (Diane Lane) and friends (Nicolas Cage, Christopher Penn, Vincent Spano), and seeming on the path to destruction.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

As this may suggest, ''Rumble Fish'' exerts more than a little fascination, even at its most absurd. When Mr. Coppola positions his two heroes against an enormous clock-face, which happens to be tied to a parked truck, his audacity can't help but be attention-getting. But the film is so furiously overloaded, so crammed with extravagant touches, that any hint of a central thread is obscured. Mr. Coppola has wandered so far from whatever attracted him to the material that neither he nor Miss Hinton, who collaborated on the screenplay, can even begin to convey whatever they regarded as its essential concerns.

As an actors' showcase, ''Rumble Fish'' remains interesting long after its visual affectations have worn thin. Mickey Rourke, who plays the Motorcycle Boy, has so much quiet authority that he comes close to making sense of the character, which can't have been easy. With his hair cut oddly so that the hairline suggests a heart, and with a gentle intelligence that transcends even the silliest lines (''Well, even the most primitive society has an innate respect for the insane,'' he's forced to say, by way of explaining himself), he does an outstanding job.

So does Miss Lane, as the epitome of a teen siren, sometimes appearing in a school uniform and sometimes in black lingerie. Mr. Dillon has played too many dumb-but-sensitive thugs by now, but the measure of his performance here is in the way Rusty- James changes in his brother's presence. Mr. Dillon can shed his swaggering facade and suggest weakness and uncertainty just when those things are needed.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times  located HERE

 

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

The scintillating black and white cinematography of Rumble Fish looks gorgeous on Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema arm of Eureka Entertainment in the UK.  The 1080P image quality is showcased by brilliant contrast exporting crisp detail and frequent depth. What becomes apparent is how effectively this benefits establishing the film's important aura and moods. It can look a bit too bright overall but this clarity does advance detail. This Blu-ray is wonderfully consistent and clean with only one or two minor speckles noticeable in the entire pristine presentation. This dual-layered transfer appears to service the film adeptly.

 

Firstly, a lot to say here - I was anticipating these two releases to be similar in terms of image. I was wrong. This was very hard to precisely match the captures but I know at least two are the exact frame - 'walking in the alley' and the final capture with 'the birds'. Criterion's Blu-ray visuals are decidedly different from the Masters of Cinema image transfer. The Criterion authoritatively states "New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Stephen H. Burum and approved by director Francis Ford Coppola". It is significantly darker than the MoC and I was very interested in the framing which is also different between the two Blu-ray releases. The darker image, is the preference of the filmmakers and provides a more dour, solemn and almost austere expression of the film as compared to the brighter MoC. I think it, better, suits the film experience - even limiting detail. As we always say - it is nice to have a choice. Even though the MoC has the higher bitrate, I believe I prefer the darker 4K restored presentation. Speaking generally, the UK disc is cropped in many scenes as compared to the Criterion. It can range from small amounts to significant omissions. On the other hand, the brighter MoC image shows more detail - that is often obscured by the darkness of the Criterion. However, we can presume this to be the wishes of the filmmakers.     

 

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

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

Masters of Cinema give the option of the original 2.0 channel stereo track as well as a 5.1 bump - both via DTS-HD Master. Copeland's unsettled score and "Don't Box Me In" track sound impressive in lossless. The stereo exports some resounding bass and the film's subtle effects are also notable as tight and crisp. You may opt to hear the isolated music and effects track also in HD. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Criterion also offer both 5.1 surround and 2.0 channel stereo tracks via DTS-HD Master encodes. I played a couple of scenes back-to-back with the two BDs and my ears were incapable of detecting any differences. Criterion also offer optional English (SDH) subtitles - but their Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.   

 

 

Extras :

Masters of Cinema add some great extras. Included is the audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola from the 2005 Special Edition DVD. He is open and honest about casting, Hinton's novel, Rumble Fish's major themes, and the difficulties and benefits shooting in Tulsa. Which leads us to another piece entitled 'On Location in Tulsa' which is a 12-minute 80's video featuring new and vintage interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The Percussion-Based Score, has Stewart Copeland and Coppola discussing the film's soundtrack for another dozen minutes. These three were all on the past US DVD. There are also six, poor quality deleted scenes lasting almost 20-minutes and an original theatrical trailer in HD. The package contains a lavish booklet featuring the words of Francis Ford Coppola, rare archival imagery, and more. As previously stated there is an isolated music and effects track accessible in uncompressed.

 

Criterion substantially advance in the supplements. They duplicate Masters of Cinema's audio commentary featuring Coppola, from 2005 (previously on DVD), also repeating the 12-minute On Location in Tulsa, video piece featuring new and vintage interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, The Percussion-Based Score, a video piece on the film's soundtrack - also a dozen minutes, the, 20-minutes worth of six deleted scenes (including a Coppola introduction) and a theatrical trailer. What Criterion add are a new conversation between Burum and production designer Dean Tavoularis which delves into their working relationship and collaborative achievements on Rumble Fish. There are new interviews with Coppola, for 20-minutes, author and co-screenwriter S. E. Hinton for 18-minutes discussing her novel and its adaptation to film, and associate producer Roman Coppola remembering his responsibilities on-set. There are also interviews from 1983 (City Lights) with some of the cast like Vincent Spano, Matt Dillon, Diane Lane and producer Doug Claybourne as well as new interviews with actors Dillon + Lane running over 21-minutes reminiscing about their performances in Rumble Fish. We get 9-minutes of a French television interview from 1984 with actor Mickey Rourke inside of a car with burned-in French subtitles. Locations: Looking for Rusty James (Locaciones: Buscando a Rusty James), a 2013 documentary by Alberto Fuguet about the impact of Rumble Fish . It is in Spanish and English with English subtitles. It runs 1.5 hours and is described on IMDb as; "This is a personal documentary about the influence of Rumble Fish, the 1983 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is also about Tulsa, Oklahoma (where Coppola's movie was shot), and about how that movie was a milestone on Alberto Fuguet's creative work, as a writer and filmmaker, but also on several film-related people from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay". There is another new piece about the film’s existentialist elements entitled Camus for Kids with film historian Rodney F. Hill discussing the films themes and character traits in Rumble Fish - it runs over 20-minutes.“Don’t Box Me In” is the music video for the film and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Glenn Kenny.

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Rumble Fish carries an evocative style which intentionally overtakes the simple story. This makes it a unique film experience and one that benefits greatly from such a strong Blu-ray transfer. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this film, identifying all the future - and current - star performers, and it looked and sounded more impressive than I, even, recall theatrically.

 

We value comparisons here at DVDBeaver - and this has educated me on the more accurate video image. When you have the description - "... supervised by director of photography Stephen H. Burum and approved by director Francis Ford Coppola" as well as being 4K restored it can carry significant weight. So, the image disparity was a surprise but I can see how the film was meant to look by the filmmakers. It has a totally different impact, IMO. There was an element of seeing the film anew and I appreciated that as well as the Criterion's extensive extras. I believe the Criterion is the definitive Blu-ray edition and an impressive package. The extras further advanced my understanding of the film. Fans need to own it. 

                     

Gary Tooze

July 23rd, 2012

March 24th, 2017

 

Also available as a Limited Edition Steelbook HERE:

 


 

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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