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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Paris Blues [Blu-ray]


(Martin Ritt, 1961)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Pennebaker Productions

Video: Kino Lorber / BFI



Region: 'A' / Region 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:00.935 / 1:39:282.325

Disc Size: 23,049,851,125 bytes / 35,255,280,003 bytes

Feature Size: 22,446,231,552 bytes / 28,211,202,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps / 26.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9 / 11

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 22nd, 2014 / October 24th, 2016


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1641 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1641 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

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit


Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), None



• Trailer (2:47)


Commentary by Adrian Martin


Stills Gallery

Second disc DVD included




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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



Description: The second film of director Martin Ritt with both Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier, it's set in a city that has long been a haven for black musicians eager to escape the racism of the U.S. Newman is Ram Bowen, a trombone player who makes his living in a jazz group, which also includes tenor man Eddie Cook Sidney Poitier, while studying music and aspiring to a career as a "serious" composer. Eddie stays in Paris to bask in the respect that its people feel for his music, a respect rarely accorded him in the States. A pair of tourists, Connie Lampson Diahann Carroll and Lillian Corning Joanne Woodward arrive in the city for a two-week vacation, and the two musicians lose no time in hooking up. Soon both relationships take a serious turn and the musicians are forced to make some important decisions about the possibility of returning to their native soil.



The Film:

Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate American jazzmen working in a Left Bank nightclub in Paris. Ram is there hoping to attain stature as a musician, and Eddie has come to escape the racism a Negro encounters in the United States. Among their friends are Wild Man Moore, a trumpeter helping Ram with his concerto; Marie Seoul, who owns the club and is having a casual affair with Ram; and Michel Duvigne, a Gypsy guitarist addicted to drugs. One day Ram and Eddie meet two American tourists, Lillian Corning and Connie Lampson, who are on a 2-week vacation in Paris. Eventually the two couples pair off, and Eddie decides to marry Connie and return to the United States, despite the discrimination he will face. Though Ram falls in love with Lillian, he is reluctant to give up his independence and become a second-rate trombone player in the States. When an impresario rejects his concerto, Ram at first decides to leave Paris and marry Lillian; but ultimately he realizes that he must stay until he can determine whether he has a real talent for composing. Sadly he says goodby to Lillian and returns to his music.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier as two jazz musicians romancing their way through Paris. An early (1961) black-and-white alignment from Martin Ritt (Sounder, Murphy's Romance), whose liberal social consciousness was generally more at home with southern regional grit than cosmopolitan mood. With Joanne Woodward, Louis Armstrong, Diahann Carroll, and an Oscar-nominated jazz score by Duke Ellington.

Excerpt from Chicago Reader located HERE


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

Nice image on the Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.  Contrast is wonderfully layered and it helps export depth. There is texture visible on the single-layered, bare-bones disc. The image is very clean - almost pristine - and the 1080P is frequently impressive. This is transferred at 1.66:1, with a supportive bitrate, and looks surprisingly strong on this Blu-ray.


BFI gets the slight edge with a darker presentation on their dual-layered disc. Their black levels are richer and, despite the similar bitrates, the BFI is the better image - however slight.





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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



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

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT



More Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures






Audio :

Obviously the sound is a key element to the Paris Blues and the audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1641 kbps. The music (Take The 'A' Train, Mood Indigo, Autumnal Suite, Wild Man Moore, The Duke, Louis Armstrong etc.) is great. The Jazz sounds sweet - aficionados will definitely appreciate the uncompressed quality. There are English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Audio, too, goes BFI's way - and this may be the most important facet of the presentation for some. The UK distributor uses a linear PCM but at 24-bit as opposed to 16-bit as transferred on the Kino. The music has a superior buoyancy and sounds both richer and with a tighter high-end. It sounds amazing. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.


Extras :

Nothing but a trailer.


BFI add another excellent commentary by, Australian film and arts critic, Adrian Martin who provides a wonderful backdrop to the production. There is also a trailer and stills gallery. Being 'Dual Format' a second disc DVD is included with all the content of the BD.


Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



I'm a big Paul Newman fan - and he is great in this. Actually, everyone is great. I was quite pleased with this Kino Lorber Blu-ray. Solid a/v - vastly ahead of SD. This was far better than I was anticipating, and we can heartily endorse!


Well, the BFI wins out in every category - looking slight better, sounding superior and having more extras including a commentary. Great film to play on a Sunday morning... such beautiful jazz. A very strong recommendation!  

Gary Tooze

July 22nd, 2014

October 4th, 2016



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
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Gary W. Tooze






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