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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Equus [Blu-ray]

 

(Sidney Lumet, 1977)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:17:55.308 

Disc Size: 46,844,681,838 bytes

Feature Size: 24,545,421,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1089 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1089 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1868 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1868 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Commentary Track:

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -6dB

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman

Richard Burton: In from the Cold (1988 - 2:06:00)

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)

Isolated Score

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Equus (1977) is director Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s award-winning hit play about a psychiatrist (Richard Burton, giving an Oscar®-nominated performance) attempting to help a damaged boy (Peter Firth, also Oscar®-nominated) who has committed an unspeakable crime. Before long, the melancholy therapist can’t help feeling that the disturbed young man has a stronger grasp on the passionate intensity of life than he does, himself. Also starring Eileen Atkins, Joan Plowright, Colin Blakely, and Jenny Agutter.

 

 

The Film:

Richard Burton plays a psychiatrist who attempts to discover why young Peter Firth has taken to mutilating live horses. In probing Firth's psyche, Burton discovers that the source of the boy's obsession is his mother, Joan Plowright, who has raised Firth with a convoluted set of values. Even as he gets closer to the reason behind Firth's horrendous acts, Burton discovers many previously locked-away secrets within himself. Equus was based on the play by Peter Schaffer who received an Academy Award Nomination for his adapted screenplay.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Prior to its adaptation as a motion picture, Peter Shaffer's Broadway hit Equus (which ran for almost three years in New York alone) was a magnet for American and US-based actors out to prove their dramatic mettle. The demanding central role of Dr. Martin Dysart, an unhappily married psychologist called in to treat a sexually repressed young man accused of a horrific act of animal cruelty, had been played in the United Kingdom by Alec McCowen and Colin Blakely. For Broadway, the producers went with another Englishman, rising Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins (a quarter century before his career-defining role as face-eating psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), then being touted as a new Richard Burton. Hopkins was succeeded by Anthony Perkins (then sixteen years out from his career-defining turn as wigged out motelier Norman Bates in Psycho, 1960) as a proposed film version was announced. Both Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando were instant contenders for the choice role of Dysart; coming up a poor third for consideration was Richard Burton himself, who had by this time in his career become a caricature of himself as he walked through such dire fare as The Klansman (1974) and a needless remake of Brief Encounter (1974).

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

This Twilight Time Blu-ray package is solid. The disc is dual-layered but shares the file space with an extensive documentary (see extras) and the bitrate is modest for the 2 1/4 hour film. I think it looks quite good - lines are tight, I see no manipulation and frequent scenes export depth. The image quality is consistent and there is no noise. Detail shows crispness in the close-ups. Flesh tones are true, Miss Agutter. The Blu-ray has good contrast and is decent with no major flaws - it gave me a solid 1080P presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Twilight Time transfer via a DTS-HD Master 1.0 mono track at 1089 kbps. It sounded predictably (and authentically) flat but there is some depth notable in the effects and score. Twilight Time offer an isolated score in a lossless track (see below). There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras:

Twilight Time offer quite a lot in terms of supplements with a new audio commentary by film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman who discuss the production at length focusing on many production detail specifics. We also get Tony Palmer's 2-hour documentary Richard Burton: In from the Cold made in 1988. It is described as "Few great actors have been so unfairly represented in the public image. Drunk, a wastrel, uncontrollable, unprofessional, besotted with glamour and wealth - just a few epithets dumped on Richard Burton. This documentary, made at Richard Burton's widow's request, is a small celebration of an extraordinary man whose public image may have been seen as much different. Tony Palmer's portrait of actor Richard Burton, featuring Sally Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Kate Burton, Philip Burton, Lauren Bacall, Joe Mankiewicz, Mike Nichols, Robert Hardy, Sir John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Emlyn Williams and John Neville." There is also a theatrical trailer, the ability to access Richard Rodney Bennett's (Billy Liar, The Man Who Could Cheat Death) score (isolated) and the package contains liner notes by Julie Kirgo.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had seen Equus a couple of decades ago, but this 1080P viewing was far more impacting.  I also credit the extensive supplements with my bolstered appreciation. The, stacked, Blu-ray gives the film some due respect and strong film-fan value. I appreciated that I could see it in 1080P and I definitely feel it will be a film that I revisit. This production has a lot going for it and we certainly recommend. NOTE: Like other Twilight Time releases this is limited to 3,000 copies - only saying that if you want this, better not to gamble - meaning get it sooner rather than later (at a potentially escalated auction price). 

Gary Tooze

April 4th, 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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