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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Coffy [Blu-ray]

 

(Jack Hill, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Arrow Video / Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:02.897 / 1:30:03.272

Disc Size: 35,313,790,810 bytes / 22,901,394,078 bytes

Feature Size: 26,559,230,400 bytes / 22,728,142,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 6th, 2015 / June 9th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1937 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1937 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

None

 

Extras:

Audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill
A Taste of Coffy A brand new interview with Jack Hill (18:49)
The Baddest Chick in Town! A brand new interview with Pam Grier on Coffy and its follow up, Foxy Brown (17:38)
Blaxploitation! A video essay by author Mikel J. Koven (Blaxploitation Film) on the history and development of the genre (28:56)
Original theatrical trailer (2:01)
Image Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher and a profile of Pam Grier by Yvonne D. Sims, author of Women in Blaxploitation, illustrated with archive stills and posters

 

None

 

Bitrate:

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Description: Regarded as one of the best of the Blaxploitation genre along with Shaft and Superfly, Coffy has been described by Quentin Tarantino as "one of the most entertaining films ever made".

With Coffy Pam Grier was catapulted to stardom and iconic status following solid roles in earlier chicks in chains films. Here she plays nurse Coffy Coffin seeking vigilante justice when her little sister is hospitalised by a smack pusher. Coffy uses her body, bullets and blades to get justice, working her way to the top of the criminal ring. But as she nears the top she finds the level of corruption is closer to home than she thinks.

When American International Pictures lost the chance to make Cleopatra Jones the studio looked for another project and turned to up and coming B-movie auteur Jack Hill (Spider Baby, Pit Stop). Coffy was such a success that the studio fast tracked Grier's next movie (Foxy Brown) with Hill straight away.

 

 

The Film:

Writer-director Jack Hill (Spider Baby, Switchblade Sisters) managed to beat Death Wish to the screens by a year with this violent tale of a citizen touched by crime and deciding to fight back. Her little 11-year old sister is a hopeless addict, the police can't help, and poor Nurse "Coffy" Coffin (Pam Grier) has no choice but to take the law into her own hands. Posing as a Jamaican prostitute, Coffy infiltrates the lairs of pimp King George (Robert DoQui) and kingpin pusher Vitroni (Allan Arbus). Eventually, after her childhood sweetheart is beaten into a coma and she finds out her politician-lover (Booker Bradshaw) is involved, Coffy kills everyone with a shotgun. However, by having a black woman named Coffy get injected with a sugar mixture (the crooks think it's heroin), one can only imagine the filmmakers cackling about Coffy with cream and sugar. In fact, the original ad line promised "Coffy...she'll cream you".

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Coffy is distinguished by its unremitting moral blackness. With a yellow press feel to the script and a welcome sexual frankness, the world Coffy inhabits is revealed as one where social, sexual and political exploitation are simply the norms. What makes the film is essentially the character of Coffy as played by Pam Grier with increasing alienation: a nurse out to get the men who are responsible for her little sister's addiction, she makes a conscious decision to manipulate the sexual situations which the men around her force her to engage in. It is a performance that defies and subverts the genre.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

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

Woohoo! Coffy gets an new 1080P transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films.  It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The transfer has retained the film's gritty allure of the original production with plenty of low-level lighting in night sequences. The 1080P supports good contrast, bright colors in the day-lit scenes are details but, predictably, there is very little depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's extremely clean and I saw no noise, artifacts or speckles. This Blu-ray is, most likely, as excellent a representation as we will ever get on digital. Very impressive.

 

The Olive has slightly more dirt and speckles that are not present on the, cleaner, Arrow. It also exhibits a tiny amount of noise in some of the darker sequences. Arrow is superior but many will not be bothered by the differences.

 

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

 

Subtitles only on Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow use a linear PCM monaural audio track at 1152 kbps. There is plenty of action, but the depth of the gunshots is not over-the-top - well within the bounds of its original, flat, soundstage. We do get some music from Roy Ayers, in Coffy Baby, King George and Shining Symbol reminiscent of the early 70's and the songs export some buoyancy to add to the early period aura. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Olive go for a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono at a more robust 1937 kbps. There is a bit of depth notable that we get in the music (Roy Ayers) but overall, certainly the more moderately intense bass may be less authentic and not a deal-breaker for most purchasers. The Olive Blu-ray is region 'A'-locked and offers no subtitle options.

 

 

 

Extras :

Arrow included the audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill that was on previous DVD editions, but there is plenty of new supplements. A Taste of Coffy is a brand new, 19-minute, interview with Jack Hill and the 18-minute The Baddest Chick in Town! - a brand new interview with Pam Grier on Coffy and its follow up, Foxy Brown. With a very histoical look at the development of the genre author Mikel J. Koven (Blaxploitation Film) does an excellent   video essay for almost 1/2 hour entitled, simply, Blaxploitation!. We also get an original theatrical trailer and image gallery and the package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx and a liner notes booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher and a profile of Pam Grier by Yvonne D. Sims, author of Women in Blaxploitation, illustrated with archive stills and posters.

 

None. Olive offer a true bare-bones disc.

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Probably the most quoted and quintessential of the Blaxploitation genre, Coffy, is such a fun, revenge-based film and a lot of the appeal is Pam Grier who embodies 'Coffy' for an unforgettable film experience. I love seeing classics like this come to Blu-ray and Arrow have provided their usual excellent a/v presentation with very appreciated supplements. This is easy to put in the 'don't hesitate' category for digital librarians and film students everywhere.

 

Olive provide the 'bare edition' of Jack Hill's wonderful Blaxploitation keystone. Region 'B'ers surely have the advantage with the stacked Arrow, winning the comparison, but it's good to have to available in 1080P for the US consumer! 

Gary Tooze

March 24th, 2015

May 29th, 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.

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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