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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Up Tight! aka Uptight [Blu-ray]

 

(Jules Dassin, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Marlukin

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:44:22.923

Disc Size: 18,901,764,120 bytes

Feature Size: 18,818,740,224 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 16th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 861 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 861 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Uptight is an updated remake of John Ford's 1935 film, The Informer. Dublin becomes the Cleveland ghetto and the Irish Republicans are replaced by black revolutionary fighters. Days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Tank Williams (Julian Mayfield) is an unemployed and itinerant steelworker who turns over his militant friend, Johnny (Max Julien) to the police for the $1,000 reward, resulting in an underground all-points bulletin to exact vengeance on the squealer. Legendary director, Jules Dassin's unrelenting directorial pace is complemented by the driving score of Booker T. Jones. The stellar cast includes Raymond St. Jacques, Ruby Dee, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Frank Silvera.

 

 

The Film:

Shattered by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Tank Williams, an unemployed Negro steelworker, gets drunk and is unable to assist his best friend, Johnny Wells, and two confederates, Rick and Larry, in the robbery of a Cleveland ammunition depot. Hampered by Tank's absence, the trio is discovered, and Johnny kills a guard while making a getaway. Tank tries to explain his actions to black militant leader B.G., but he is informed that he has been expelled from the organization, along with Negro moderates and all whites. Convinced that the death of Martin Luther King has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of non-violence, the militants advocate the use of guns as their only means of liberation from white oppression. Later, Tank is approached by Clarence, a homosexual police informer, who reveals that there is a $1,000 reward offered for information leading to Johnny's capture. After a depressing visit with his girl friend Laurie, who has become a prostitute in order to support her children, Tank is once more rejected by his fellow blacks, including Johnny, Filled with despair, he gets drunk and betrays Johnny's whereabouts to the police. They immediately surround the black ghetto and gun down the fugitive. The next day, Tank is seen recklessly buying drinks at a local bar and making a large donation at Johnny's funeral; and the militants quickly deduce that he is the informer. After futilely trying to pass the blame onto Clarence, Tank takes refuge in a cheap hotel room and telephones Laurie. Although she consoles him briefly, Tank is forced to accept the fact that he is doomed. Pursued by Rick and Larry, he races to the steel mills where he once knew security, climbs to the top of a steel bridge, and signals to his former friends until he is finally killed by a rifle shot.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Jules Dassin's "Up Tight" is a forthright treatment of black militancy. Somewhat to my surprise, it doesn't chicken out. There's no backsliding, toward a conciliatory moderate conclusion. The passions and beliefs of black militants are presented head-on, with little in the way of comfort for white liberals. White racists, I guess, will be horrified beyond measure. Good for them.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

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

Uptight has a decent Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but contrast is adept and the image appears to be a solid representation of the source. I don't know that dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively. There is a touch of appealing gloss in the 1.78:1 frame. I can only see a smattering of depth but this is far more film-like than video-like. I notice no speckles or damage. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We are given a fitting score by Booker T. Jones in a DTS-HD mono track at 861 kbps. There is no dynamic depth or range but I would think this is a faithful transfer and I noted no flaws. It is consistent throughout the film with no drops or hiss.  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 their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Jules Dassin wanted to remake Liam O'Flaherty's story The Informer set in an inner-city of the US and with an all-black cast. The result is Uptight - which is a very well done film building upon the characterizations and political perceptions brought out in the script. The Olive Films Blu-ray is a pleasing representation which I was thankful that it was able to expose the movie to me. Most assuredly this 1080P transfer will be the best the Uptight looks for your digital Home Theater. I think it's worth a spin... and eventually re-visitation. 

Gary Tooze

October 9th, 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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