|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
The Connection [Blu-ray]
(Shirley Clarke, 1962)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Films Around the World
Video: Milestone Films
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,798,419,448 bytes
Feature Size: 30,602,570,880 bytes
Video Bitrate: 36.09 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 24th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• English (SDH), None
• The Connection Home Movies (6:27)
Description: THE CONNECTION is one of the most vital,
fascinating films of the American independent world. Created
by a woman director, Shirley Clarke, at a time when they
were in very short supply, the film shattered stereotypes in
just about every conceivable way. And yet, the film remained
unseen for many years.
Experimental director Shirley Clarke's first feature film is a no-compromise look at the dead-end world of drug addiction in Manhattan. Awaiting their next "connection", eight dopers sit in a bleak New York loft. The addicts agree to allow filmmaker William Redfield to shoot a documentary of their lifestyle--for a price. When their connection arrives, he suspects the filmmaker of being a narc and abruptly runs away. The film ends with Redfield agreeing to try some heroin himself in order to more thoroughly understand his "actors". While it appears totally improvised (especially a supposedly impromptu jam session with four musician junkies,) The Connection was adapted from a play by Jack Gelber. Roscoe Lee Browne appears in the cast in one of his earliest movie roles.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The gimmicky premise of Jack Gelber's play - that those were real junkies up on the stage waiting for their fix, killing time by improvising jazz and making with street-jive monologues - probably makes more sense as a movie than it ever did in the theatre. Clarke films it as if it were documentary (so that when the cameraman himself takes a fix, the camera-work goes to pieces), and the Living Theatre actors are convincing enough to sustain this close a scrutiny. Some creaky business with a Salvation Army sister recalls the piece's stage origins, but the music and the sense of 'dead time' retain a 'beat' authenticity.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Connection was preserved from the original 35mm picture and soundtrack negatives which were edited by Shirley Clarke to the film's 103-minute release version and from a 35mm fine grain master positive. The preservation was completed in 2004. It looks very satisfying on Blu-ray from Milestone Films. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and contrast looks pristine from the restored source. The black levels are impressive throughout and there is a smattering of grain texture visible with the high level of detail. There is occasional depth and I would think this is a very close approximation of how The Connection looked more than 1/2 a century ago. The Blu-ray provides a very worthy HD presentation. All good here.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Milestone use a linear PCM 2.0 channel mono track at 1536 kbps. The transfer is definitely keeping within the spirit of the film's realism. The wonderful Jazz music in The Connection is by Freddie Redd - the American hard-bop (subgenre of jazz that is an extension of bebop) pianist and composer. Moments are surprisingly crisp at times. There are optional English subtitles available and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The Connection Home Movies are 16mm, 6.5 minute, footage courtesy of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. an interesting vintage inclusion. We also get a lot more - 5 minutes in a conversation with Albert Brenner - in charge of art direction in The Connection. Connecting with Freddie Redd spends almost a 1/2 hour with the pianist and composer reflecting on his work in The Connection. There is six minutes of The Connection-Behind The Scenes which features Jack Gelber and his son Jed, said to have been shot on the last day of filming. There is a trailer, Carl and Max at the Chelsea and two, audio-only, 45 rpm songs: Who Killed Cock Robin (2:10) and I’m in Love (1:55). NOTE: one of the bonus features listed on the box cover was a 29-minute radio interview. Due to the poor quality of the sound (and the fact that it didn't really pertain to The Connection), it was left off at the last minute. It is, however, available on Milestone's Vimeo site HERE.
February 13th, 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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