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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Odessa File [Blu-ray]

 

(Ronald Neame, 1974)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Image Entertainment / Indicator

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' / FREE (as verified by the Oppo)

Runtime: 2:08:36.709 / 2:08:39.420

Disc Size: 23,388,913,864 bytes / 43,700,557,554 bytes

Feature Size: 23,039,956,992 bytes / 39,550,160,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.00 Mbps / 36.35 Mbps

Chapters: 16 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: May 15th, 2012 / September 3rd, 2018

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

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

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• None

 

• The BFI Interview with Ronald Neame (2003, 67 mins): archival audio recording of the award-winning filmmaker in conversation with Matthew Sweet at London’s National Film Theatre (1:06:32)
• The BFI Interview with Oswald Morris (2006, 62 mins): archival audio recording of the celebrated cinematographer in conversation with Anwar Brett at the National Film Theatre (1:01:28)
• Safe But Real (2018, 3 mins): new and exclusive interview with stuntman Vic Armstrong (02:24)
• Foreign Friends (2018, 7 mins): new and exclusive interview with continuity supervisor Elaine Schreyeck (06:10)
• Super 8 version (17 mins): original cut-down home cinema presentation (16:27)
• Original theatrical trailer (02:00)
• Image gallery: promotional photography and publicity material
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with new essays by Carmen Gray and Keith Johnston, Ronald Neame on The Odessa File, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: The year is 1963. The place: Hamburg, Germany. An elderly Jewish man commits suicide, leaving a diary which falls into the hands of a freelance newspaperman, Peter Miller (Jon Voight). The diary documents the unspeakable crimes of cruelty, torture and mass murder perpetrated by SS Captain Eduard Roschmann (Maximilian Schell), commandant of the notorious wartime deathcamp at Riga, Latvia. Miller launches a personal manhunt to track down Roschmann, an investigation that leads him into the very heart of Odessa, a powerful secret organization formed by the SS to protect and re-establish its fugitive members throughout the world. When Miller finds Roschmann, he learns that the former Nazi is now the leader of a weaponry complex of international, strategic consequence.

 

 

The Film:

Adapted from Frederick Forsyth's bestseller, a straightforward slice of investigative journalism that has Young Germany trying to reconcile itself to the evils of Nazism as Voight hunts down a protected war criminal (Schell) now high up in industry. Voight's performance gives credibility to his character's obsession, but even that cannot overcome the discrepancy between the deeper themes (mass execution and the expiation of guilt) and the routine nature of this piece of box-office action adventure.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

Jon Voight, as a diligent German free-lance journalist, and Maximilian Schell, as an ex-concentration camp commandant turned industrialist, stand out in this otherwise sluggish tale of Kennedy-era espionage and political double-dealing. Frederick Forsyth's thriller gets a more pedestrian treatment from Ronald Neame than his Day of the Jackal got from Fred Zinnemann, and the surprises increasingly fail to surprise. Neame has done better, if not particularly exciting, work with plays like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Tunes of Glory —but Voight has rarely been better (1974).

Excerpt from The Chicago Reader located HERE

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

The Odessa File appears on Blu-ray from Image Entertainment. The single-layered image quality if decent if not stellar. It probably looked quite similar to this theatrically almost 40 years ago. There is no noise - the black and white 'historic' sequences are a shade muddy but overall this is a leap beyond SD. No strong grain is visible but the image runs well in-motion. Colors lean to earthy browns and greens. The transfer is competent without manipulation. There is a tad amount of depth seen here and there. This is about the level I was anticipating.

 

The Odessa File comes to us via Indicator on a dual-layered disc. This is the UK premiere on Blu-ray, though the film is region-free. The film has a maxed out image and has been transferred in a 2k restoration. The image is a big bump over the previous Image Blu-ray. There is quite a bit more detail in the image and more grain visible to the eye. Colors are also improved, with warmer skin tones and deeper reds and greens. Contrast is also improved, with beefier black levels. Just another great transfer from the folks at Indicator.

 

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

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

One more Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray Capture

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM Audio 2.0 channel at 1536 kbps seems modest but the film is not rife with aggressive action - it's more a mystery/thriller. Some depth but, obviously, no crisp rear channel separations. The Andrew Lloyd Webber (yes, that one) score is quite intense - standing out against some scenes. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

The film is presented with a 24-bit 1.0 mono linear PCM track. This seems to be an improvement over the previous disc, with more depth and a cleaner sound. There are optional English SDH subtitles on this Region-Free Blu-ray.

 

Extras :

No extras - not even a trailer.

 

Indicator give us some interesting extras here, starting with 2 BFI interviews that are played over the film, much like a commentary. The first is an interview with award-winning filmmaker, Ronald Neame. This 1 hour and 6 minute interview is a conversation conducted by Matthew Sweet at London's National Film Theatre. The next interview is with Oswald Morris and runs just over an hour. Morris, the cinematographer, is featured here in a conversation with Anwar Brett at the National Film Theatre. Next up is "Safe But Real", a new 2.5-minute interview with stuntman Vic Armstrong. "Foreign Friends" is a new 6-minute interview with continuity supervisor, Elaine Schreyeck. Indicator have also provided the 16.5 minute "Super-8" version, which is really cool to have. There is also the film's trailer and an image gallery. This version is limited to 3000 copies, and contains an exclusive booklet with new essays by Carmen Gray and Keith Johnston, Ronald Neame on The Odessa File, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

 

Image Entertainment - Region 'A'- Blu-ray

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Great film! Another Neame masterpiece - Voight is magnificent. The Blu-ray is highly recommended at this price (around $10). I enjoyed the 1080P presentation - I'd love to watch it all over again. This will make for a very entertaining Home Theater night!

 

Indicator continue to impress with their stellar releases. This disc is no exception. The transfer here puts the previous Image Blu-ray to shame. Detail is much better, as is every other aspect of the image. The sound is much improved as well. There are also some pretty interesting extras. Interesting movie, would recommend. 

Gary Tooze

May 12th, 2012

August 23rd, 2018

 




 

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