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Alice's Restaurant [Blu-ray]
(Arthur Penn, 1969)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,367,594,297 bytes
Feature Size: 23,714,144,256 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 31st, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2035 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2035 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• Trailer (3:49)
Description: Intrigued by the counterculture tale of Arlo Guthrie's epic 1968 talking-blues record The Alice's Restaurant Massacre, director Arthur Penn, co-scripting with playwright Venable Herndon, adapted the song into the 1969 feature Alice's Restaurant. Hippie outsider Arlo (Guthrie, playing himself) encounters suspicion from the straight world; visits his dying father, renowned leftist activist/singer Woody Guthrie (Joseph Boley), in the hospital along with friend Pete Seeger; and hangs out in the title converted church/commune created by his friends Alice (Pat Quinn) and her husband Ray (James Broderick). After Alice's "Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat," Arlo is arrested for littering by rule-following Officer "Obie" Obanhein (William Obanhein, playing himself). That littering arrest helps Arlo avoid the Vietnam draft, but the commune is threatened after more personal, old-fashioned conflicts over sex and partnerships permeate Alice and Ray's alternative world.
Singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie stars in Alice’s Restaurant
directed by Arthur Penn (Bonnie
Little Big Man) from a screenplay by Penn and Venable Herndon.
Brilliantly visualised, Arlo Guthrie's very funny 20-minute talking blues - about how, fined $50 for being a litterbug, he was subsequently rejected for service in Vietnam as an unrehabilitated criminal - is retained as the centrepiece of a film which expands into a sort of chronicle of Arlo's hippy wanderings through rural America. The context is different, but the reference point powerfully echoed throughout is his father Woody Guthrie's experience as the troubadour of the dying Dustbowl during the American Depression of the '30s, with the ballad this time asking what went wrong with the dropout dream of the '60s. Criticised at the time for a certain opportunism, Penn's lyrical vision of the end of an era looks increasingly apt in the perspective of passing time.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Alice's Restaurant has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films, but this single-layered, 1080P transfer looks far better than I was anticipating having seen a PAL DVD at some point. SD could not handle this thickness and grain - exporting it more like noise. The textures here are heavy but the detail is quite pleasing in close-ups and many colors (notable reds) show impressive depth. The Blu-ray image seems a fine replication of the film presentation - as good as we are likely to ever get.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Olive use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2035 kbps. The audio quality is reflected in the modest film production. The music is mostly Woody Guthrie stuff (Pastures Of Plenty, Car-Car Song) including Joni Mitchell's Songs To Aging Children performed by Tigger Outlaw. It is generally clear with some, predictable, scattering. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Onlya trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.
March 26th, 2015
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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