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Behind the Candelabra [Blu-ray]
(Steven Soderbergh, 2013)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: HBO Films
Video: HBO Home Video
Region: A (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 21,683,263,401 bytes
Feature Size: 19,113,627,648 bytes
Video Bitrate: 17.95 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 10th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1943 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1943 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUB: DTS Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
• Making of Behind the Candelabra(14:04)
Code for digital copy
Description: Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub, this HBO Films drama recreates the glittering private world of Liberace (Michael Douglas), the flamboyant, phenomenally successful entertainer whose extravagant costumes, trademark candelabra, and elaborate stage shows made him the most bankable entertainer of his time. The story focuses on Liberace's tempestuous relationship with Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) in Las Vegas from 1977 to 1982 - a time when Liberace was at the peak of his popularity but remained closeted as a homosexual. Featuring a pair of electrifying performances by Douglas and Damon (the first time either has starred in an HBO production), Behind the Candelabra captures the essence of Liberace's appeal while reminding viewers how different attitudes were at the time, as few high-profile entertainers (including Liberace) could admit they were gay, at least in front of the public which made them stars.
Despite the fact he worked hard to keep his private life secret,
Liberace (or Lee to his intimates) would probably have adored Steven
Soderbergh’s interpretation of his life, relationships and talents.
Steven Soderbergh's addictively funny and watchable Behind the
Candelabra is about the love match between the pianist Liberace and his
avowedly bisexual young companion Scott Thorson; they are brilliantly
played by a reptilian Michael Douglas and monumentally buff Matt Damon.
Their love emerges from this film as one of the most tempestuous affairs
in showbusiness history, reeking with anxiety, unhappiness, passion and
denial – probably topped only by the relationship between Elton John and
Watford Football Club in the 1980s.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Behind the Candelabra comes to Blu-ray - made for HBO - this played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival (May). The 1.78:1 framed image quality showcases the excellent art direction with flaring fluorescent lighting suitable with use of the RED digital camera. The smokey, clouded look fits perfectly for a period representation. This is only single-layered with a modest bitrate for the 2-hour film. Detail in close-ups is strong but there is little depth. It's nothing remarkable in terms of 1080P but I suggest this is till an accurate representation of the presentation. This Blu-ray does its job and I have doubts that something more robust would be dramatically eye-popping. This looks as the production intended.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master in 5.1 surround at 1943 kbps. It's clean, frequently vigorous from the period (starting with the late 70's) music to a score by Marvin Hamlisch and plenty of piano performed by Liberace. The music is really a strong part of establishing the time and mood. The lossless sounds quite good with touches of depth. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.
The only extras is a 14-minute, standard, Making of... with input from the leads and director but really only touching the totality of the production. There is also code to access a digital copy for portable devices.
September 5th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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