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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Innocent Bystanders [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Collinson, 1972)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Sagittarius Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:51:16.670

Disc Size: 21,976,888,038 bytes

Feature Size: 21,902,678,016 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 19th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 921 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 921 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Innocent Bystanders stars Stanley Baker (Sands of the Kalahari) as John Craig, a James Bond like British secret agent who's given one last chance to redeem himself after a failed mission. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), the head of the organizations no longer trusts Craig, so he sends two younger and more ruthless agents to intercept the Russian scientist Craig has been sent to locate. Accompanied by Israeli spy Miriam Loman (Geraldine Chaplin), Craig must decide if the scientist is to be rescued or eliminated. The level of violence and bloodshed in Innocent Bystanders is such that at times it makes the James Bond films look like models of decorum. The stellar cast includes Dana Andrews as Blake, the CIA boss, Sue Lloyd and Derren Nesbitt as Craig rivals, Joanna Benson and Andrew Royce. Stylishly directed by Peter Collinson (The Italian Job).

 

 

The Film:

Paramount Pictures has provided film critics with an unusually detailed plot synopsis for its "Innocent Bystanders." I've read the synopsis and I've seen the picture, and I still don't know exactly what is going on, or why, through perhaps 60 per cent of Peter Collinson's new movie, which opened yesterday at local theaters.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Innocent Bystanders stars Stanley Baker as a Bondlike British secret service agent. In collaboration with fellow spies Geraldine Chaplin and Dana Andrews, Baker is sent behind the Iron Curtain to locate a Russian scientist who has escaped from Siberia. There's a likelihood that the scientist was permitted to escape so that he can spy on the Good Guys. Baker must decide if the escapee is to be rescued or eliminated. The level of sadism and bloodshed in Innocent Bystanders is such that at times it makes the James Bond films look like models of decorum.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Innocent Bystanders has a reasonable Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and the film carries a thick, grittiness belying its early 70's production roots. I doubt dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively. This transfer exports the prevalent grain, no gloss and certain greens and reds show vibrancy. I can't imagine it ever looks pristinely crisp - even theatrically. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing. It seems to looks authentic, if flat and unremarkable.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We are given a pretty basic DTS-HD Master mono track at a modest 921 kbps. There is some aggressiveness but the track treats it with limp indifference. Original music is credited to Johnny Keating who wrote "What Makes the Man" as performed by Norman 'Hurricane' Smith. It's very 70's and suitably defining the film's niche. 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 many of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Uhhh - this is no masterpiece but has a Brit crime-adventure charm that is easy to pigeon-hole. Baker is obviously channelling a Bond knock-off and he does a good job of that aspect of Innocent Bystanders. It seems like the type of character that could have carried a television show in the 70s. The Blu-ray is no gem, visually, but probably didn't look superior than this theatrically. This is a 'wrong-side-of-the-tracks' flic and won't appeal to all. Purchasers be forewarned but I think there are enough positives, like Baker, for some to appreciate. 

Gary Tooze

February 20th, 2013

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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