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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Stephen Frears
US 1990

Director Stephen Frears' tense adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel The Grifters was one of a number of revival film noirs in the first half of the '90s. Updating the setting to contemporary Los Angeles, the film follows a trio of con artists who are intent on out-foxing each other. Roy Dillon (John Cusack) is a simple, two-bit con, whose life is thrown into turmoil when his estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston) returns home in an attempt to evade the law. Lilly doesn't warm to Roy's girlfriend Myra Langtry (Annette Bening), who is too similar to herself. Soon, the two women are competing for Roy in a battle that is more of a power struggle than a pursuit of affection, and the battle quickly turns dangerous. Huston was nominated for an Academy Award for her work.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 14th, 1990 (Toronto Film Festival)

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Comparison:

Optimum -  Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. 101 Films "Black Label" - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT

2) Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

   

   

Distribution Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 101 Films "Black Label" - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:41.635  1:50:27.245   1:50:27.245   1:50:39.090   
Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,523,462,772 bytes

Feature: 22,317,099,456 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,296,400,724 bytes

Feature: 19,198,746,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,194,629,009 bytes

Feature: 18,960,168,960 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 31,357,410,330 bytes

Feature: 18,940,606,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.04 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

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

Bitrate: Optimum Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Miramax Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: LionsGate Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: LionsGate Blu-ray

 

Audio LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2210 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2210 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit) 
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1843 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1843 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1843 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1843 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB) LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles  None None None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,523,462,772 bytes

Feature: 22,317,099,456 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• None

Blu-ray Release Date: July 20th, 2009
Standard (thick) UK Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,296,400,724 bytes

Feature: 19,198,746,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by Frears
• The Making of Grifters (16:24)
• The Jim Thompson Story (7:59)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,194,629,009 bytes

Feature: 18,960,168,960 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• None

Blu-ray Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 11

Release Information:
Studio:
101 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 31,357,410,330 bytes

Feature: 18,940,606,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.04 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Seduction. Betrayal. Murder: The Making of The Grifters: A brand new feature length documentary on the film's production, including new interviews with director Stephen Frears, cinematographer Oliver Stapleton, editor Mick Audsley, executive producer Barbara De Fina and co-producer Peggy Rajski. (1:11:35)
•  Limited edition booklet: Includes 'Jim Thompson, Noir, and the Popular Front', an essay on the American author’s societal influences by David Cochran, and 'Elmer Bernstein: Grit not Grift', a review of the legendary composer’s career by Charlie Brigden.

Blu-ray Release Date: May 21st, 2018
Custom slipcase
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 8

 

 

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (May 2018): This is the very first title in 101 Films 'Black Label' range, and this Limited Edition version is limited to 3000 copies and includes a slipcase and a booklet with newly-written content.

 

Short story - there is no appreciable difference in the video transfer. It is the same as the Miramax/Lionsgate - in 1.78:1 but a bit of variance in the frame of the US Blu-rays. It looks fine in-motion. Could it look significantly superior with a max'ed out bitrate? Possibly not.

 

The audio is linear PCM 2.0 channel - only 16-bit, so technically it loses a notch on the 24-bit US Blu-rays, but that may be very negligible in the score by Elmer Bernstein (The Hallelujah Trail, Birdman of Alcatraz, Love With the Proper Stranger, The Bride at Remagen, The Comancheros, The World of Henry Orient, Kings of the Sun, Hud, To Kill a Mockingbird, Summer and Smoke) which still sounds quite clear and compelling to my ears via the uncompressed. The 101 Films release does include optional English (SDH) subtitles (see below) on their Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

While there is no commentary 101 Films add some significant supplements in their initial 'Black Range' release. Seduction. Betrayal. Murder: The Making of The Grifters is a 2018 1 1/4 hour documentary on the film's production directed by Phillip Escott. It includes new interviews with director Stephen Frears, cinematographer Oliver Stapleton, editor Mick Audsley, executive producer Barbara De Fina and co-producer Peggy Rajski. Plus the package itself contains a limited edition booklet that has 'Jim Thompson, Noir, and the Popular Front', an essay on the American author’s societal influences by David Cochran, and 'Elmer Bernstein: Grit not Grift', a review of the legendary composer’s career by Charlie Brigden.

 

The Grifters remains such an impressive Neo-Noir - one of the best of that genre. And 101 Films "Black Label' Blu-ray release is the definitive with the extensive extras including the feature-length documentary and the enclosed booklet. Strongly recommended! 

 

***

 

ADDITION: LionsGate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (March 2015): This is a let-down. It has the exact same a/v transfer as the Miramax but zero extras - we lose the commentary and the 2 featurettes. This new Lions Gate only has one menu screen to boot. I suspect this is some sort of contractual screw-up with the Miramax is now out-of-print and fetching big bucks in third party sales and auctions. Anyway, a true bare-bones disc for those who missed the US Blu-ray from less than 2-years ago. It is, at least, priced right at under $10 USD.

***

 

ADDITION: Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (April 2013): Short story - close in most respects, divergent in a few others. The UK edition is 1.85:1 with warmer skin tones- he US is 1.78 (opened) and brighter. Technically they are not far off but certain captures can have notably different image quality. Some noise in the US transfer - not much. Both look good but never stellar.

 

Audio is lossless on both with a linear PCM track in original stereo on the Optimum and DTS-HD master on the Miramax. The UK also offers an untested 5.1 bump. The score by Elmer Bernstein is kind of bland without much character, Neither Blu-ray disc offer subtitles.

The US edition vaults ahead with the, old, Frear commentary, a generic 'Making of...' and an interesting piece on the author Jim Thompson. That's all we need - a modern Noir complete with anti-heroes and femme fatales - wonderfully pieced together - the film is strongly recommended and the Blu-ray is the best way to see it!

Gary W. Tooze

Package - 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


Menus

Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT


 
 
 

 

Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



 

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

 

Subtitle Sample - 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

2) Miramax/Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

 

   

   

Distribution Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 101 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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