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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Great Gatsby [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Clayton, 1974)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Warner / Paramount

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:23:25.763

Disc Size: 38,621,218,244 bytes

Feature Size: 38,005,432,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.92 Mbps

Chapters: 14

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 23rd, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3330 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3330 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUB: Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The '20s never roared louder than in this sumptuously romantic retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age classic. Robert Redford stars as Jay Gatsby, who had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow), then lost her to a rich boy. But now Gatsby is mysteriously wealthy... and ready to woo Daisy back. A winner of two Academy Awards, The Great Gatsby features a fine supporting cast and an elegant script by Francis Ford Coppola. And at its center is the opulent evocation of an era of hot jazz and cold champagne, of women as exotic and demanding as hothouse flowers, and of lives made soft by too much, too soon.

 

 

The Film:

This third film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic 1925 novel was one of the most hyped movies of the summer of 1974. Robert Redford stars as self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby, who uses his vast (and implicitly ill-gotten) fortune to buy his way into Long Island society. Most of all, Gatsby wants to win back the love of socialite Daisy Buchanan (Mia Farrow), now married to "old money" Tom Buchanan (Bruce Dern). Calmly observing the passing parade is Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston), Gatsby's best friend, who narrates the film. Francis Ford Coppola's screenplay is meticulously faithful to the original novel, but Theoni V. Aldredge's costume design and Nelson Riddle's nostalgic musical score won the film its only Oscars. The huge supporting cast includes Howard Da Silva, who played Wilson in the 1949 Great Gatsby, and a very young Patsy Kensit as Daisy's daughter.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The color is rich, the photography superb, and the atmospherics of the roaring twenties are realistically and stunningly in evidence in this film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece novel, but that's it. The script is weak, short-cutted to play up scenes the author intended to be understated, particularly those interminable soft-focus love sequences between Farrow and Redford, the direction is haphazard at best, and the acting is positively abysmal by all parties concerned, except that rendered by da Silva, a wonderful old pro who appeared in the 1949 version of this classic tale. Redford essays Gatsby, the charade-playing gangster who loves married Mia from afar, throwing fabulous parties to get her attention, meeting her secretly in Waterston's cottage, renewing his love for her and she for him, each having loved the other in the bittersweet past of WW I and she having married into wealth, he wedding violence. Dern is the smug wealthy husband and Chiles the purring cousin who arranges the assignation between Farrow and Redford. Black plays Myrtle, cheating wife of garageman Wilson (same name as the character) who is seeing Dern on the side.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

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

The Great Gatsby arrives on Blu-ray from Paramount in a bland 1.78:1 1080P transfer.  The image quality shows some improvement over SD with a few sequences showing depth and the colors and contrast rise a notch or two.  The 2.5 hour film is housed on a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate. There are some impressive shots in the film but the HD never really rises to an overwhelming status. It looks 'good' - clean, consistent, reasonably sharp - but that's it. This Blu-ray , like the film, never really punches through the facade of its splendid art direction. After you settle in to the period elegance -  the visuals are kind of hollow - which is probably more a reflection on how it originally looked than any fault of the transfer.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio seems more than adequate with a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at a healthy 3330 kbps. Mostly a passive film, sound wise, but there is some music; The Charleston and a few pieces performed by Nick Lucas that sound quite strong. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Nothing at all - not even a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This film version of The Great Gatsby never really finds its stride. The art direction, costumes and performances are all on tap - but the script was lacking the punch of the novel. I expect the forthcoming Baz Luhrmann effort will eclipse - certainly in terms of visual splendor. The Blu-ray falls short as well - with no supplements, or anything that might have encouraged appreciation of the film - that strangely seems dated. I'd suggest a 'pass'. 

Gary Tooze

April 23rd, 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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