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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Scum [Blu-ray]

 

(Alan Clarke, 1979)

 

Odeon Entertainment Edition coming in Region 'B' in September:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Berwick Street Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:37:08.864

Disc Size: 46,671,531,799 bytes

Feature Size: 30,610,466,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.93 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 4th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3766 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3766 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary: DTS Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by actor Ray Winstone

Interviews:

Clive Parsons and Roy Minton (15:56 in 1080i)

• Davina Belling and Clive Parsons (8:11 in 1080i)

• Roy Minton (18:56 in 1080i)

• Don Boyd (12:00 in 1080i)

Cast Memories (16:45 in 1080i)

• Censored trailer (1:05) / Uncensored trailer (2:24)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Scum refers to the label slapped upon reform-school inmate Ray Winstone. Such reformatories are called "borstals" by the British. When he isn't being beaten up by the other boys, Ray is being beaten down by The System. He rebels against this treatment and "wins" by becoming more vicious than any of his oppressors. Scum was originally filmed for British television, but rejected because of the bleakness of its outlook. In America, it went straight into theatres, where audiences had to strain to comprehend the "punk" jargon and thick provincial accents.

 

 

The Film:

This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or improve the inmates and actively encouraged a power struggle between the 'tough' new inmate and the 'old hands'. The film was originally made as a BBC play but it was banned before ever being shown. So 'Alan Clarke' and Roy Minton got it re-made as a film. This is a tough and brutal film and should not be viewed lightly.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Roy Minton's teleplay about Borstal life and its vicious circle of violence, remade as a movie after being banned by the BBC: a toughened docudrama (schools of BBC/old Warners/Corman) that carries the same force as the improvised weapons Ray Winstone uses to bludgeon his way through the Borstal power structure. A far-from-blunt instrument itself (and containing some necessary leavening humour), this is potentially knife-edge film-making: will audiences buy the reformist liberalism and stomach the violence, or in fact buy the violence and racism and miss the message? The careful calculations show, but you're still likely to leave at the end feeling righteously angry.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

Scum has had a restoration and arrives on Blu-ray from Kino in the US.  It is advertised as being from the from the original 35mm negative. The image quality certainly appears visually better than I have ever seen the film. It probably looked quite similar to this almost 35 years ago.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. It is transferred in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Visuals are dark and dull and there is little depth but a thickness is inherent in the presentation. This Blu-ray is fairly unremarkable by modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Scum and it advances beyond the any of the DVD editions that I've seen.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get two audio options - a lossless 5.1 bump in DTS-HD Master at 3766 kbps or a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps. The film has almost no score but there are instances where it is played on a radio. Effects hint more at separation but there are a couple of notable instances that add to the Borstal atmosphere. The LPCM may have a more distinct higher end and less robust bass - but most will find it negligible. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.

 

Extras :

We get a previously released commentary by actor Ray Winstone and others (actors Phil Daniels of Quadrophenia fame, David Threlfall - his first role, and producer Margaret Matheson). There are also almost an hour's worth of interviews with Clive Parsons, Roy Minton, Davina Belling and Don Boyd. There is a piece entitled Cast Memories running over 15-minutes and both the Censored and Uncensored trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
As well as an excellent story - Clarke offers excellent story-telling skills in his realization of the film. It is quite memorable and extremely well done although not a topic that some will embrace. The Blu-ray seems quite solid - a restored image, lossless sound and bountiful extras. For those interested in this dark classic of reform-school horrors - this Kino package does an impressive job! 

Gary Tooze

May 25th, 2013

Odeon Entertainment Edition coming in Region 'B' in September:


 

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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