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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Sometimes a Great Notion [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Newman, 1970)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:54:35.159

Disc Size: 22,740,333,950 bytes

Feature Size: 22,531,694,592 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.22 Mbps

Chapters: 7

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 18th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1579 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1579 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Paul Newman makes his directorial debut in the sweeping saga Sometimes a Great Notion. Based on the best-selling novel from author and icon Ken Kesey (his follow-up to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), the story focuses on a two-fisted Oregon family that bucks their close-knit timber community to deliver a shipment of logs in defiance of a strike. In the process, one man is killed, the family patriarch Henry (Henry Fonda) is injured, and the eldest son Hank (Paul Newman) almost loses his wife (Lee Remick) to his half brother (Michael Sarrazin). Filled with complex characters and issues that still resonate today, Sometimes a Great Notion is an intense and riveting portrait of life set against the rugged backdrop of logging.

 

 

The Film:

Taken on by Newman half way through (the film was started by Richard A Colla), the surprising thing about this adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel is that it holds together at all: a drama about a family of independent lumberjacks, ruled over by Henry Fonda's biblical father, whose unity is shattered by the arrival of a wayward son (Sarrazin) in the midst of a dispute with other (striking) loggers. If the struggle within the family too quickly degenerates into hand-me-down Tennessee Williams dramatics, Newman's handling of the outdoor scenes, especially those involving work, is - like his own acting - restrained but powerfully evocative.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Also known as Never Give an Inch, this film was based on a novel by Ken Kesey. Paul Newman (who also directed) stars as Hank Stamper, the oldest son of an Oregon logging family headed by Henry (Henry Fonda). Hank's half-brother, Leeland (Michael Sarrazin), embittered over Henry's treatment of his late mother, returns after a ten-year absence to work in the family business. Leeland's presence causes friction with Henry, who resents his prodigal son's hippie mindset, and Hank, who perceives Leeland as a threat to his own position in the family structure. Hank has good reason to feel resentful: before long, his wife, Viv (Lee Remick), has entered into an affair with Leeland. Meanwhile, Henry wages an ongoing battle with the unionized loggers in the region, who threaten reprisals should Henry attempt to continue his business without union help.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Sometimes a Great Notion arrives on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.  The image quality is mixed - plagued with some edge-enhancement in early scenes - but other times free of it with some healthy grain.  This is single-layered with a mediocre bitrate. It looks okay though - with a few impressive shots with bright outdoor colors. Contrast suffers as the least consistent visual feature. It is clean and all the actors blue eyes look appealing.  By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but this Blu-ray provides a reasonable presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Modest but effective DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1579 kbps. The Henry Mancini score - which includes "All His Children" as sung by Charley Pride beginning and ending the film - is restrained but important in certain scenes escalating the dramatic effect. The lossless rendering helps - but isn't totally remarkable. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements which is too bad because I'm sure some have a lot of say about the value of this particular film.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I've been talking about this film for decades. No one believes me when I remind them of the title. Great character acting... by some of the best - and a memorable story. The bare-bones Blu-ray is less than perfect but the film remains a worthy one. If you haven't seen this - you are in for a treat! 

Gary Tooze

December 10th, 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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