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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Scum [Blu-ray]

 

(Alan Clarke, 1979)

 

 

Odeon Entertainment Edition released a Region 'B' in September, 2013:

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Berwick Street Productions

Video: Kino Lorber / Indicator Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:37:08.864 / 1:36:30.701

Disc Size: 46,671,531,799 bytes / 42,117,240,315 bytes

Feature Size: 30,610,466,112 bytes / 28,419,246,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.93 Mbps / 34.92 Mbps

Chapters: 10 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom Blu-ray package

Release date: June 4th, 2013 / June 24th, 2019

 

Video (both):

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

 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

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)

 

• Audio commentary with actor Ray Winstone and film critic Nigel Floyd (2006)
• Interview with actor Mick Ford (2019 - 19:18)
• Interview with actor Ray Burdis (2019 - 15:17)
• Interview with actor Perry Benson (2019 - 11:05)
• Interview with cinematographer Phil Méheux (2019 - 18:10)
• Interview with association producer Martin Campbell (2019 - 9:19)
• Interview with producer Don Boyd (2019 - 31:23)
• Interview with editor Michael Bradsell (2019 - 29:30)
• Interview with editor Esta Charkham (2019 - 21:43)
• Cast Memories (2005): featuring interviews with Phil Daniels and Julian Firth (16:53)
• Archival interview with writer Roy Minton and producer Clive Parsons (2004 - 15:55)
• Archival interview with writer Roy Minton (2005 - 19:13)
• Archival interview with producers Davina Belling and Clive Parsons (2005 - 8:24)
• Archival interview with producer Don Boyd (2005 - 12:17)
• Original ‘U’ (1:05) and ‘X’ (2:27) certificate theatrical trailers
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Ashley Clark, recollections from cast and crew members, archival interviews with Alan Clarke, an extract from writer Roy Minton’s novelisation, a look at Mary Whitehouse’s High Court case over the film’s television broadcast, an overview of contemporary critical responses, archival articles and film credits
Limited Edition of 8,000 copies

 

Bitrates:

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

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 theatrical Scum and it advances beyond the any of the DVD editions that I've seen.

 

The Indicator is advertised as "2013 2K restoration from the original negative, newly re-graded and approved by director of photography Phil Méheux" and it looks very similar, and is probably the same restoration, to the Kino - slightly richer, darker colors and deeper contrast. Only very discerning home theater buffs will notice in-motion. The UK is negligibly superior in terms of video.

 

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

 

Subtitle Sample - Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

 

Indicator stay with the original mono via an uncompressed linear PCM 1.0 channel track (24-bit) and it, too, gets a slight edge (the Kino mono is 16-bit, and the bump superfluous.) 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. Indicator add optional English (SDH) subtitle on their Region FREE Blu-ray that is limited to 8,000 copies.

 

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.

 

This is where Indicator make a more demonstrative advancement with many new supplements. Firstly, it includes the audio commentary with actor Ray Winstone and film critic Nigel Floyd from 2006. There is a new 20-minute interview entitled No Luxuries from 2019 where actor Mick Ford looks at his character of Archer and his working relationship with director Alan Clarke. An Outbreak of Acting spends over 1/4 hour with actor Ray Burdis on returning to the role of Eckersley for the feature film. Smashing Windows lasts a dozen minutes with actor Perry Benson recalls the daily experiences of being on set. Continuous Tension is an interview with director of photography Phil Méheux analyses the documentary approach of his cinematography running 18-minutes. Criminal Record is 10-minutes with associate producer Martin Campbell on remaking the banned teleplay for the big screen. Back to Borstal is 1/2 hour with executive producer Don Boyd reflecting on his efforts to reinvigorate British cinema in the late seventies. Concealing the Art spends 1/2 hour with veteran editor Michael Bradsell who recalls collaborating with Alan Clarke. That Kind of Casting is also from 2019 and interviews casting director Esta Charkham on the influence the Anna Scher Theatre had on production. There are also the vintage interviews with Roy Minton and Clive Parsons from 1999; the writer and producer look back on Scum twenty years after its release. There are 2005 interviews with Roy Minton and another with Davina Belling and Clive Parsons where the producers of Scum discuss its transition from banned teleplay to feature film. I also liked a 13-minute interview with Don Boyd and the Cast Memories documentary featuring interviews with Phil Daniels, Julian Firth, Mick Ford and David Threlfall. The Blu-ray also includes the original ‘U’ and ‘X’ certificate theatrical trailers and an image gallery with stills, promotional and publicity material. The package contains a limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Ashley Clark, recollections from cast and crew members, an archival on-set report by critic Michael Billington, executive producer Michael Relph’s viewing notes, archival interviews with director Alan Clarke, an extract from writer Roy Minton’s novelisation, a look at Mary Whitehouse’s High Court case over the film’s television broadcast, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.   

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
As well as an excellent film - 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!

 

An intensely uncompromising and impacting film experience and the Indicator Blu-ray advances on every area (video/audio/extras). The film has references to Brute Force (1947), The Criminal (1960),and A Clockwork Orange (1971). It is a masterpiece and the UK Blu-ray is the one to have in your digital library.   

Gary Tooze

May 25th, 2013

June 10th, 2019

 

Odeon Entertainment Edition released a Region 'B' in September, 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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