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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Delbert Mann, 1955)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hecht-Lancaster Productions
Video: Kino Lorber / Eureka
Region: 'A' / 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:33:50.833 / 1:29:39.707
Disc Size: 21,813,361,391 bytes / 47,488,781,178 bytes
Feature Size: 21,173,041,152 bytes / 26,289,567,744 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.96 Mbps / 34.99 Mbps
Chapters: 8 / 9
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Case
Release date: July 29th, 2014 / April 30th, 2018
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1 (Bob Furmanek says should have been 1.85:1!)
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1574 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1574 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), none
• Trailer (2:59)
A new video interview with film
scholar Neil Sinyard (19:06)
Description: "I've been looking for a girl every Saturday night of my life," says Marty Piletti (Ernest Borgnine, The Wild Bunch). Yet, despite all his efforts, this 34-year old Bronx butcher remains as shy and uncomfortable around women today as on the day he was born. So when he meets Clara (Betsy Blair), a lonely schoolteacher who's just as smitten with him as he is with her, Marty's on top of the world. But not everyone around him shares Marty's joy. And when his friends and family continually find fault with Clara, even Marty begins to question his newfound love - until he discovers, in an extraordinary way, the strength and courage to follow his heart. Winner of 4 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director (Delbert Mann, Separate Tables), Best Actor (Borgnine) and Best Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky, Network).
A beloved classic of American cinema,
Delbert Mann's Marty was the first ever recipient of
the Palme d Or at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, as well as
the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, one of
only two films to ever win both organisations grand prizes
(the second being Billy Wilder's
The Lost Weekend).
Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-winning slice-of-life drama is a heartwarming story about Marty Pilletti (Ernest Borgnine), a lonely Bronx butcher. Marty is a burly but gentle man, easing into middle age without much hope for romance or a career. He lives at home with his mother (Esther Minciotti), a kind but life-smothering woman, and a small circle of dead-end friends. Marty has no self-confidence and feels he's dumpy and unattractive. While it takes some doing, Marty's mother finally convinces him to go to the Stardust Ballroom in Manhattan, where he meets a plain-looking schoolteacher named Clara (Betsy Blair), whose life appears to mirror his own. He asks Clara to dance and soon they are smitten with one another. But to Marty's surprise and frustration, his friends put her down and his mother is hostile to her. Swayed by his friends and his mother, he doesn't call Clara back. But sitting at the bar with his friends the next night, Marty decides he has had enough, and defying his enclosed little world, he rushes to a phone booth to call Clara. As Marty shouts to his friends, "You don't like her. My mother don't like her. She's a dog. And I'm a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a good time last night ... You don't like her? That's too bad!"
Sentimental tale of a butcher from the Bronx, afraid he is too ugly to attract girls, who takes pity on a plain jane schoolteacher at a dance, then finds love sidling up crabwise. Overrated at the time, largely because its teleplay origins (by Paddy Chayefsky) brought a veneer of naturalism and close-up intimacy to the Hollywood of the day. But it does have doggy charm and a certain perceptiveness (the butcher's continuing doubts as to what his mates will think; his mother's jealousy despite constant nagging about marriage).
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, Marty should have been transferred widescreen (1.85:1). Bob Furmanek of the 3-D Film Archive sent me an email stating "By the time MARTY hit theaters in early 1956, 1.37:1 was a dead format" and you can see proof HERE (Thanks Bob!)
Marty on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber remains quite thick and film-like in the incorrect 1.37:1 aspect ratio. There is some softness but I don't believe this is the fault of the single-layered transfer. It is most-likely inherent in the film. The bitrate is supportive and the transfer has sequences that look quite good with notable depth and the contrast layering appearing pleasing. But it's a shade underwhelming visually but I am pleased it is progressive and has reached Blu-ray. There are a few light scratches and occasional speckles but nothing intrusive.
The Eureka is still in the 1.37:1 format (see Bob Furmanek's comment above) but while it looks the same in still captures it is a more robust transfer (dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate) and is superior in-motion. The improvement will be dependant on your discerning eye and the system you have... but the UK transfer is better.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
The audio is transferred in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1574 kbps. Dialogue is consistent and clean and certainly benefits from the lossless rendering - as does the soundtrack. Nothing is robust but the film itself doesn't export anything dynamic. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Eureka go linear PCM (24-bit) and it's a boost notable in the score by veteran Roy Webb (Journey Into Fear, I Married a Witch, Crossfire) and the quality is clear and consistent with some minor depth. Eureka offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray disc.
Nothing but a trailer which seems really short-changing this lauded film(the only winner of both Best Picture Oscar and Palme d'Or!).
Eureka add a new 19-minute video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard discussing Marty. Plus we get the 1953, 51-minute, Marty - the original teleplay broadcast on NBC also directed by Delbert Mann and starring Rod Steiger in the title role. There are 5-minutes of archival interviews with Delbert Mann and the cast of the original teleplay (Rod Steiger, Nancy Marchand and Betsy Palmer) and the original trailer presented by Burt Lancaster. The package has a second disc DVD included.
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Eureka's Blu-ray bests the Kino on all fronts. Still a highly impacting, heart-wrenching, film and great to have in the collection!
July 18th, 2014
May 3rd, 2018