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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Duel of Death")

directed by Steven Spielberg
USA 1971

A simple premise, and a keen variation on a horror film. Its one of the films I remember watching on television some 25 years ago. Dennis Weaver is excellent and although I noticed a couple of continuity errors the production is magnificent considering it took 13 days to shoot. Glimpses of creativity are evident, but nothing overpowering. The plot involves such a common theme - road rage and universally all drivers can associate with similar, if less threatening, situations. Really, even after over 30 years this is still remarkably impressive and purposely simple.

Posters

TV Premiere:  November 10th, 1971 - Canada

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Comparison:

UMVD -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal (part of Steven Spielberg Director's Collection) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

Also available in the Steven Spielberg Blu-ray Collection

   

   

   

 

Distribution UMVD - Region 1- NTSC Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:29:09  1:29:18.353 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 31,754,526,037 bytes
Feature: 29,091,969,024 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 34.03 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (DTS), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 4144 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4144 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2054 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2054 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English (SDH), Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Umvd

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (original) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Steven Spielberg on the making of "Duel" (35:17)
• "Steven Spielberg and the Small Screen" (9:25)
• "Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel" (9:21)
• Photo Gallery (14 stills - 7 posters - see above)

• Trailer (:58)

• Cast and Crew

• Production Notes

DVD Release Date: August 17, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 31,754,526,037 bytes
Feature: 29,091,969,024 bytes
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Total Video Bitrate: 34.03 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• 
A Conversation With Steven Spielberg (35:44)

• "Steven Spielberg and the Small Screen" (9:27)
• "Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel" (9:24)

• Photo+ Poster Gallery (3:20)

• Trailer (1:01)

Blu-ray Release Date:
October 14th, 201
4
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 20

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Universal Blu-ray - October 14': Firstly, this is the title in the new Steven Spielberg Director's Collection I was most interested in (along with The Sugarland Express and, as a curiosity, 1941 and Always) - as I suspect that the previously released titles - like Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park etc. would be the same, or very similar, 1080P transfers as the earlier ones. I've always been keen on Duel - a highly memorable TV movie. It doesn't surprise me that Universal have gone to widescreen for this - specifically 1.85:1. You can see what the results are below. We lose information off the top, some from the bottom and gain a bit on the sides. Along with the imbedded timeline feature - the aspect ratio differences made it quite hard for me to get exact frame matches - but I did my best (that 3rd capture was giving me fits). Overall, the image improves in  all the usual areas - skin tones, detail, sharpness, depth - all significantly advance and make the presentation far more film-like than the SD rendering.

The lossless audio also advances and we are given the option (again) or surround or stereo. The truck engines noise, the train sequence and obnoxious horn are quite rich carrying some deep bass. There is a subtle, but bracing, score by iconic TV composer Billy Goldenberg. A Dolby Spanish DUB is included and there are optional subtitles. The Universal Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

Extras mimic the 2004 DVD - which, to be fair, were substantial. Nice to have Spielberg and Matheson talk about the film. I will, probably, cover more of this box set. It has a lot of appeal. I know there will be some purists who are aggravated by the aspect ratio change - and they have a valid case - although it did have a theatrical release in Japan and some European countries a couple of years later.

Anyway, I still love the film and enjoyed the new HD presentation.

***

ON THE DVD (July 2004): Being Spielberg's first film, they didn't hold back too much from this DVD. The image is quite tight and probably even better than it looked on TV those many years ago. Of course, its not the same as an anamorphic modern production would be, but it is more than acceptable. Colors are strong, contrast is very good. Subtitles are excellent as is the audio channels with 3 different options offered. Extras go on with three interesting featurettes (2 with Spielberg). This DVD has everything short of a commentary. Its hard not to give it high marks.  

Gary W. Tooze





Menus

 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) UMVD - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

   

Also available in the Steven Spielberg Blu-ray Collection

   

   

   

 

Distribution UMVD - Region 1- NTSC Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...