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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Rolling Thunder [Blu-ray]

 

(John Flynn, 1977)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:39:49.400

Disc Size: 24,553,929,069 bytes

Feature Size: 20,453,339,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 28th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1823 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1823 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• The Making of Rolling Thunder (21:49)

Theatrical trailer (2:31)

• TV Spot (:32)

• Radio Spots (3:11)

Photo Gallery

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Major Charles Rane (William Devane) comes back from the Vietnam war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a hero. A group of sadistic thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver dollars from him and in the process kill his wife and son and destroy his hand. The Major wants revenge so he enlists the help of his war buddy Johnny to meet the thugs in a final showdown.

 

 

The Film:

Rolling Thunder's ex-Vietnam War POW Major Charles Rane (William Devane) returns to a hero's welcome in San Antonio in the early '70s. He's bestowed with a red Cadillac convertible, $2,500 in silver dollars, and accolades from all sides. Soon, however, he discovers that all is not as it seems; his wife strayed with a close friend during his years of confinement. He also finds that he has his own personal POW groupie, Linda; her fascination with him is met with the same shoulder-shrugging blandness that he shows toward everything else in what's left of his life. One day Rane comes home to find a houseful of assorted Texas white trash demanding his small fortune in silver dollars. Their efforts to beat him into revealing the location of the money are for naught, so they jam his right hand down a garbage disposal instead. When his wife and kid come home, the two gladly give up the money but the robbers cold-bloodedly gun them down anyway. Flash-forward: Rane has himself fitted with a hook prosthesis (which he sharpens on a grinder), cuts down a couple of shotguns, and points the scarlet Caddy land yacht south towards Nuevo Laredo, bent on revenge.

Excerpt from DVDBeaver Review located HERE

After spending eight years in a Vietcong prison camp, Maj. Charles Rane (William Devane) returns home to a small town in Texas to be greeted as a hero with a Cadillac convertible and couple thousand dollars in silver dollars (donated by a supermarket), one for each day of his imprisonment, plus one for luck. He accepts the car and the money in much the same manner as he accepts his wife's news that she's fallen in love with another man—impassively.

Nothing seems to move Charlie, though he cares for his young son and he is something of a physical fitness nut. He tells himself that it's as if he'd died when he was captured. One survives years of torture, he says, if "you learn to love the rope—that's how you beat them."

Charlie, as written in the screenplay by Paul Schrader and Heywood Gould, and as acted by Mr. Devane, is such a tough, complicated, explosive character that one keeps wishing that "Rolling Thunder," the film that contains him, were a match for him. It isn't. The movie, which opened yesterday at the Cincerama I and other theaters, has some good things, but in the way it has been directed by John Flynn it moves so easily and sort of foolishly toward its violent climax that all the tension within Charlie has long since escaped the film.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

Rolling Thunder arrives on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory in the US.  We reviewed the MGM Limited Edition DVD HERE. Unfortunately, that DVD is interlaced (see sample) and the 1080P from Shout Factory improves upon it in a number of areas. Contrast - the SD had a tendency to look green and there is significantly more texture in the HD transferred visuals. This is only single-layered but is probably a decent representation of the original appearance. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD relates although it can tend to look blocky at times. Skin tones have some warmth.  There are a few speckles but no detrimental damage. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. I don't see any signs of digital manipulation and this Blu-ray seems to do its job well.

 

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

 

Blu-ray TOP - Interlaced MGM DVD BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost going on here - basically we have the original audio via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at a reasonable 1823 kbps. Barry De Vorzon's (Hard Times, Looker) score is well balanced and sounds tight. The gunplay packs some punch but dialogue can be a bit hard to hear - I expect this is a function of the original - sounding a shade scattered and Devane's character is so 'quiet'. But there are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked disc.

 

Extras :

There are some supplements - a 20-minute The Making of Rolling Thunder. We get short snippets from Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, writer Paul Schrader and others. There is also a theatrical trailer, TV and Radio Spots and a Photo Gallery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Rolling Thunder is a shade heavy-handed and one-dimensional for my personal liking but I can see where the appeal comes - as it flows very well with a firm expectation of revenge. This Blu-ray is infinitely superior to the latest DVD and fans who look at this one nostalgically will certainly see the benefit. It's nice to have both the subtitles and the extras as well. 

Gary Tooze

May 21st, 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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