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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Conrack [Blu-ray]

 

(Martin Ritt, 1974)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player) Limited to 3,000 Copies!

Runtime: 1:46:04.399

Disc Size: 33,345,986,018 bytes

Feature Size: 32,988,358,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: Feabruary, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1978 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1978 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -6dB)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1979 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1979 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -6dB)
Commentary:

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with film historians Paul Seydor and Nick Redman

Theatrical Trailer (2:41)

Isolated Score

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Martin Ritt (Hud, Norma Rae) directs and Jon Voight stars in Conrack (1974), based on Pat Conroy’s memoir about his difficult if uplifting days as a teacher on a remote island off the coast of South Carolina. The idealistic young Conroy (Voight) finds a largely illiterate population of black children, ill-equipped for life in the outside world; he determines to help them, combining love, energy, and sheer imagination in an extraordinary effort to pique their burgeoning interest in life off-island. A classic tale of pedagogical rescue, gorgeously photographed by John A. Alonzo, and featuring a score by the one and only John Williams.

 

 

The Film:

Jon Voight stars in this story, based on fact, about a teacher determined to make a difference in the lives of his students. In the late 1960s, Pat Conroy (Jon Voight) is given a teaching position on a small island off the coast of South Carolina. Conroy discovers that the school is little more than a shack and his students are functionally illiterate, can't count, and don't even know what country they're in. (They also mispronounce his name as "Conrack," a name that sticks.) The school's principal, Mrs. Scott (Madge Sinclair), has taught the students to believe that they're lazy and stupid, and the result is a group of kids who've been ignored and have no useful skills. Conroy responds by throwing out the rule book and teaching lessons that will be useful in their daily lives. The students respond eagerly as Conroy plays classical music, shows them movies, teaches them to swim, and explains the importance of brushing their teeth. However, many local leaders are unhappy with Conroy and his methods, while Conroy is not afraid to say that institutional racism is largely to blame for the neglect heaped on the students. The real Pat Conroy, whose book The Water is Wide was the basis for this picture, later became a respected novelist; his fiction includes The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, both later made into films.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Ritt's taste for significant subjects and some heavy underlining of his themes is confirmed by this tale of a white, hip, long-haired, anti-Vietnam war teacher who takes a backwoods assignment which lands him in a one-room black school where he confronts ignorance and deprivation of a depth he had never dreamed existed. Mercifully, the potentially dubious aspects of the subject are mostly exorcised, in part by a strong script (adapted from the book by real-life teacher Pat Conroy), but largely by the engaging and persuasive performance Ritt draws from Voight (equally convincingly backed by the mainly juvenile cast). Conrack treads a line perilously close to Sounder, but avoids that film's mawkish contrivance.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

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

Twilight Time Blu-ray package of Conrack is strong with a max'ed out bitrate on a dual-layered disc. It looks quite true to source - perhaps a shade faded from its original run 40-years ago. Contrast is not as consistent as we have seen in the past but there are some nice textures and no manipulation. Not much damage or speckles are visible. You can't really ask for more aside from a full restoration which this doesn't really need. The Blu-ray is decent with a very true-to-source transfer - it gave me a trouble-free 1080P presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master track at 1978 kbps sounds clean with a few more impressive moments in pushing the film's modest depth through. Twilight Time offer John Williams subtle but persuasive score in an isolated (option) track with piece-meal Rimsky-Korsakov and Beethoven.  It actually sounds great alone as well as supporting the film. This time there are no English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Aside from a trailer, the only digital extra is an audio commentary with film historians Paul Seydor and Nick Redman. It's quite professional discussing the book-to-film process and details of production with praise for director Ritt. There is also the aforementioned Isolated Score and 6-pages of liner notes by Julie Kirgo.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Conrack is an endearing film with a lot to offer. Kudos go to craftsman Ritt for the realization and Voigt who impresses in every role he takes on. He is fabulous here and a huge part of the film's warmth. I loved the locale shooting in St. Simons Island, Georgia. This was very touching and a great choice for Twilight Time to bring to Blu-ray. I greatly appreciated my 1080P viewing of this deceptive film. I was very moved by Voight's performance and give this a strong recommendation.

 

NOTE: As with other Twilight Time Blu-rays this is limited to 3,000 copies so if you are keen best to act sooner rather than later. 

Gary Tooze

April 7th, 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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