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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Last Seduction [Blu-ray]

 

(John Dahl, 1994)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

Video: Network

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:49:54.916 / Director's Cut DVD: 2:08:48

Disc Size: 23,581,745,501 bytes

Feature Size: 21,126,844,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 26th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (only on the BD), none

 

Extras:

Blu-ray Disc:

Original theatrical trailer (1:46 in HD)
The Art of Seduction making-of documentary (29:01)
Behind-the-scenes footage (8:31)
50 Images gallery (2:30 in HD)
 

Second Disc DVD (dual-layered, anamorphic, Region 2, PAL):
Deleted scenes (57:16)
Director's Cut with commentary (2:08:48)
Alternate ending with optional commentary (10:11)
Tomorrow I Die an episode of Fallen Angels  (28:11)
12-page liner notes booklet with essay and photos

 

Bitrates:

 

1) Network (Theatrical Cut)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Network (Director's Cut DVD) - Region 2 - PAL  BOTTOM

 

 

 

Description: A critically acclaimed neo-noir, The Last Seduction stars Linda Fiorentino as the ultimate screen bitch: Bridget Gregory, wife of Clay Gregory, an unscrupulous doctor who has just made almost a million dollars from a drug deal. Stealing the money and hiding out in 'cow country' to avoid her husband and his private investigator, she begins a passionate affair with local man Mike. Mike has never met anyone like Bridget. She's intelligent, classy, beautiful, dangerous a master of emotional and sexual manipulation. Passion, greed and revenge forge a desperate triangle as Bridget controls events that can only have a tragic outcome.

Directed by John Dahl and superbly scripted by Steve Barancik, this classy, erotic thriller remains a timeless, exceptionally stylish movie that effortlessly raised the benchmark in sociopathic cool.
 

 

 

The Film:

Director John Dahl's The Last Seduction is an updated film noir centering around a seductive, cheerfully lethal femme fatale. Bridget Gregory (Linda Fiorentino) talks her gullible, easily manipulated, doctor-husband Clay (Bill Pullman) into pulling off a $700,000 drug deal to pay off his gambling debts. But while Clay is in the shower, Bridget quietly leaves with the money. She ends up in a bar in a small town where she meets Mike (Peter Berg) and uses him to further her scheme to keep the money and get rid of her inconvenient husband. Linda Fiorentino was championed by many critics for a Best Actress Academy Award nomination, but neither she nor the movie could be nominated since the film had made its debut on cable television.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

When Wendy (Fiorentino) arrives out of the blue in a small, cow-country town near Buffalo, New York, the locals - notably Mike (Berg) - don't know what's hit them. She's smart, sexy, refuses to use the customary verbal niceties, and can twist the male population round her little finger. More importantly, unknown to Mike, who soon falls in love with her, she's not Wendy but Bridget, in hiding from husband Clay (Pullman), ever since she ran out on him, taking the entire proceeds of a drug deal he'd almost died perpetrating. And that's just the start of this tortuous, well-acted, witty, crisply photographed and immensely enjoyable thriller.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The Last Seduction unfortunately, has a few issues on Blu-ray from Network in the UK.  I'd prefer to compare this to another source (preferably HD - not only the included SD Director's Cut) before laying blame. Certain very intentionally grainy, modern films, don't always come across well in 1080P. The grain is there but so is some rather clunky background noise. I've included a zoomed-in capture at the bottom that shows digitization, edge-enhancement, some color bleeding and blocky noise. The PAL DVD is similar - it is also cropped (see comparative captures below). Generally the film, in-motion, didn't highlight these flaws - it, instead, just looks quite flat and textured.  This is single-layered with a modest bitrate and perhaps a more robust technical transfer could have improved this aspect of the video presentation. Also, it is described as a 'High Definition transfer made from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio,' and I doubt the latter as this is in the bastardized 1.78:1 (not 1.85:1.) This Blu-ray is certainly imperfect but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the film. It just doesn't look anywhere near what we have become accustomed to with this new home theater format.

 

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

 

 

1) Network (Theatrical Cut)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Network (Director's Cut DVD) - Region 2 - PAL  BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network (Theatrical Cut)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Network (Director's Cut DVD) - Region 2 - PAL  BOTTOM

 

 

1) Network (Theatrical Cut)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Network (Director's Cut DVD) - Region 2 - PAL  BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zoomed -in Blu-ray capture

 

 

Audio :

We are given the option of a linear PCM in a smart, tight 2.0 channel or a standard, compressed, Dolby 5.1 surround. I only sampled the latter and I wouldn't say the film was dominated by separations - although there are a few. The score was composed by Joseph Vitarelli, who predominantly, seems to have done a lot of TV work. It has an expressive ambient jazz-noir edge that sounds excellent. The acoustic bass and horns are very stylish and atmospheric. Perfect for this film. There are optional English subtitles on the BD (not the DVD) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

The Blu-ray disc has a 1/2 making-of documentary entitled The Art of Seduction with director John Dahl and writer Steve Barancik giving input. There is 8.5 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, an image gallery and the original theatrical trailer in HD.

 

Included is a PAL DVD  of the, more than 18-minute longer, Director's Cut of The Last Seduction (in SD). It comes with an optional commentary by Dahl. There are deleted scenes that run close to an hour, but they have been inserted within footage taken from the finished film in order that the footage be viewed in its original context. There is a 10-minute alternate ending with optional commentary by Dahl, and a a 1/2 hour episode from November 1995, of Fallen Angels entitled Tomorrow I Die. This episode was directed by John Dahl and Phil Joanou and stars Bill Pullman. The package contains a 12-page liner notes booklet with essay by Linda Ruth Williams entitled 'Linda Fiorentino as Screen Bitch' and photos.

 

Network (Theatrical Cut)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Network (Director's Cut DVD) - Region 2 - PAL

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Despite my negative comments about the image, I like this package - because I loved this film so much. As I have said, the film, most likely has an intentionally grainy style, and this may not transfer well to a single-layered Blu-ray. That would be my guess.  Fiorentino (Jade) delivers the best femme-fatale role of the 90's that I can think of - okay, maybe Gina Gershon and Jen Tilly (Bound) deserves mention. She is class with an enigmatic edge. She is over-the-top bad in The Last Seduction, bordering on pure evil. Of course, the men involved with her suffer their own delusions. The Network Blu-ray is imperfect, but the package is stacked. I'd have fully appreciated a dual-layered Blu-ray with the Director's Cut in 1080P, a second dual-layered Blu-ray with the Theatrical. Both with high bitrates and full lossless sound. The extras here are wonderful and many Noir lovers should nab this, solely, for the two film versions. 

Gary Tooze

February 19th, 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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