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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Postman Always Rings Twice [Blu-ray]

 

(Bob Rafelson, 1981)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Video: Warner Studios

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:01:16.310

Disc Size: 33,605,279,825 bytes

Feature Size: 19,929,409,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.42 Mbps

Chapters: 31

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 21st, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 822 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 822 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• NEW Specific Scene Commentary by Rafelson, Mamet and Nicholson (1:21:29)

• Trailer (2:53)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Bob Rafelson's remake of 1946's The Postman Always Rings Twice, with a screenplay by the award-winning playwright David Mamet, stars Jack Nicholson as Frank Chambers, a depression-era drifter who ends up at a diner run by Nick Papadakis (John Colicos), who offers Frank a job. Frank takes him up on the offer, but quickly begins a torrid affair with Nick's wife Cora (Jessica Lange). The adulterous lovers soon hatch a plan to kill Nick and share in the insurance payout. The second big-screen adaptation of the James M. Cain novel, the film garnered a certain degree of notoriety for the explicit sex scenes between Lange and Nicholson.

 

 

The Film:

Smells are very important in the world of Cain, especially in ''Postman,'' in which the narrator, a drifter named Frank Chambers, finds himself being led by the nose, first into an adulterous affair with Cora, and then into a plot to murder the foul-smelling old Nick, whose Saturday night baths are never enough.

Vulgarity is the essence of Cain's fiction, and vulgarity is what is so lacking in the new screen adaptation directed by Bob Rafelson (''Five Easy Pieces''), written by David Mamet, one of our most talented and idiosyncratic young playwrights, and starring Jack Nicholson as Frank Chambers and Jessica Lange as the portable heater called Cora.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

An honourable effort to be faithful to James M Cain's novel about a hobo and a waitress who murder her husband in Depression-era America. Nicholson and Lange make a class act, and the film does restore the overt sexuality missing from the 1946 version. But, disappointingly given his excellent track record with films like Five Easy Pieces, The King of Marvin Gardens and Stay Hungry, Bob Rafelson tries to make art out of high-grade pulp, with a resultant loss of energy..

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

The Postman Always Rings Twice arrives on Blu-ray from Warner with the accolades of its first widescreen release (the 1997 DVD was 1.33:1) and it sports a new, scene specific, commentary by Rafelson, Mamet and Nicholson!  The image quality shows some pleasing, pulpy grit and minor grain. It is dual-layered in the, slightly bastardized, 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It looks pretty sweet despite the lowish bitrate.  There is some softness but overall detail is strong and colors look tight and realistic. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Close-ups display an impressive film-like appearance. This Blu-ray has a consistent 1080P presentation and probably looks quite close to the original theatrical look.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost going on here - its a mono track pushing through the center channel. I like the authenticity of the DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel at a lowly 822 kbps. Michael Small (Marathon Man, Child's Play, Puzzle of a Downfall Child) does the keen score and the music seems absolutely perfect in establishing the grime-soaked atmosphere and sounds crisp enough without range or depth. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Firstly, the screen-specific commentary has its own, hour-20-minute, video track taking up about 12 Gig - the quality looks the same as the feature but it seems a shame they couldn't seamlessly branch it to keep the bitrate higher on the feature. It might be considered sloppy authoring. They started out with Jack and Rafelson exposing details to the director's 'troubles' in the industry, and his friends coming to his defense. I suspect that one or all three were recorded separately (dialogue never overlaps) but I am not positive. Jack admits his love for James M. Cain's fiction and Rafelson comments on wanting to both keep the heavy Noir aspects but also stated to Mamet how he desired the 'love story' characteristics be prominent. Rafelson also talks about how he wanted specifics in the art direction and even the wardrobe ("Silk that looks like cotton to make Lange feel sexier"). It's a very good commentary. There is also a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had forgotten how much I love this story (as seen in the 46' original and Visconti's Ossessione.) It is pure pulp with plenty of Noir intentions augmented by Mamet's crafty dialogue, Sven Nykvist's shadowy, mood-inducing, cinematography, Rafelson's adept overseeing and the superb art direction. Rarely do we get such, openly, seedy protagonists. We are certainly treated to excellent performances as well - Lange is hypnotic to watch and Jack is... well, Jack (just brilliant). I felt privileged to see this film on Blu-ray and indulge in the new commentary. Very strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 8th, 2014

 

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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