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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Radio Days [Blu-ray]

 

(Woody Allen, 1987)

 

Arrow Academy's Woody Allen: Seven Films - 1986-1991 Blu-rays

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Orion Pictures

Video: Twilight Time / Arrow Academy

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:28:31.347 / 1:28:33.391

Disc Size: 27,788,444,132 bytes / 28,143,806,097 bytes

Feature Size: 26,771,988,480 bytes / 27,338,207,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 36.96 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July, 2014 / February 20th, 2017

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1096 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1096 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2052 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2052 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -2dB)

 

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

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Theatrical Trailer (1:28)

Isolated Score

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

 

Theatrical Trailer (2:26)

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Writer-director Woody Allen’s tenderly nostalgic, joyously funny Radio Days (1987) is a vignette-packed memory piece about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s, obsessed with the music, entertainment, and news of the wide world brought into every household via the magic of radio. A young Allen surrogate (played by a teeny red-headed Seth Green) lives with his parents (the wonderful Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker) and extended family in the wind-swept Rockaway neighborhood, their daily routines spiced by the glamour, excitement, thrills, and even occasional doses of grim reality coming to them over the airwaves. Also starring Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, and Josh Mostel.

***

Woody Allen grew up during the golden age of American radio, and this tapestry of heartwarming and hilarious vignettes is one of his most richly nostalgic films, its reconstruction of the late 1930s and early 1940s earning an Oscar nomination for its art direction.

Gripped by wild radio stories about bloody wars and beautiful celebrities, ten-year-old Joe Needleman (Seth Green) longs for adventure and dreams of spotting his first enemy spy, German submarine, or even his sexy substitute teacher as he s always imagined her. Meanwhile, his various family members have their own radio favourites, fantasies fuelled by hard-working actors with lives, careers and concerns of their own, especially about whether the medium has a long-term future.

In his rave review, Roger Ebert described Radio Days as so ambitious and so audacious that it almost defies description. It s a kaleidoscope of dozens of characters, settings and scenes, and it s inexhaustible, spinning out one delight after another. It s also crammed with countless actors familiar from earlier Woody Allen films, piling nostalgia upon nostalgia in one of the loveliest films he ever made.

 

 

The Film:

Woody Allen's gentle and nostalgic tribute to the glory days of radio and coming-of-age during World War II plays like Fellini's Amarcord filtered through Neil Simon. The nominal star is Seth Green as Joe, a teenage Jewish boy, growing up with a house full of relatives in Brooklyn. Allen cuts between Joe's working class neighborhood of Rockaway Beach, Queens, and the glittery and glamorous world of radio in Manhattan.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Woody Allen is always weakest when nostalgic: indulgence leads to caricature and overstatement. Set at the start of World War II, the film follows the fortunes of a family of Jewish underachievers. Against the backdrop of their predictably colourful obsessions, a glimmer of a story charts the progress of Farrow from Manhattan nightclub cigarette-girl to celeb of the airwaves. The real star, however, is radio itself, that pre-TV purveyor of everyday unreality against which wartime America measured its dreams. It's a great idea for a movie, but Allen fatally opts for a Fellini: Amarcord approach of formless narrative, larger-than-life coincidence, and rambling ruminations on what times there used to be.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Twilight Time bring Woody Allen's Radio Days to Blu-ray. It looks perfect - the fantastic art direction shows rich colors, depth and an overall crisp image.  Standard for them - this is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. There are pleasing textures in the darker scenes. The visuals are bright and clean looking like a brand-new film. The Blu-ray is impressive with no major flaws - it gave me a solid 1080P presentation.

 

NOTE: The issues regarding chapter 7 (Thanks David!) - as in seen in very early pressings - has been totally repaired.

 

Predictably the same 1080P image quality - barely a pixel out of place. The max'ed out bitrate Arrow looks equally as impressive. I see, virtually, no differences at all.

 

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

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Twilight Time us a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1096 kbps. Woody includes his usual pastiche of period music from Cole Porter, Xavier Cugat, Harry Warren, Sammy Fain, Johnny Green, Sammy Kaye etc. and performed by the likes of Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo, Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow and Diane Keaton. It is flat but buoyant and sounds wonderful via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Arrow use a linear PCM - more robust than the DTS-HD Master of the twilight Time, but I don't feel capable of distinguishing between the two (I tried). The Arrows doesn't have the isolated score option, but does include optional English (SDH) subtitles and their Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.   

 

Extras :

Only a theatrical trailer, and, of course, as on most Twilight Time releases - you can access the isolated film score track. There are some liner notes by Julie Kirgo.

 

Only a trailer - although I presume the Seven Films package will, again, include a booklet.

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Another way above-average film by Woody. Radio Days blends the director's amusing style of reminiscences, period recreation and a touch of sentimentality to create another masterpiece.  Brilliant and totally re-watchable. The, essentially, bare-bones Blu-ray is a must-own and another from this company that may eventually go out-of-print fetching exorbitant prices. We can strongly endorse!

 

Radio Days has beautiful art direction - great pastels - and the film is filled with nostalgic joys. The Arrow is yet another bona-fide reason to indulge in the Seven Films package.   

Gary Tooze

July 31st, 2014

January 26th, 2017

Arrow Academy's Woody Allen: Seven Films - 1986-1991 Blu-rays

 

 


 

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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