|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Charley Varrick [Blu-ray]
(Don Siegel, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Universal Pictures
Video:Koch Media / Indicator (Powerhouse)
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:50:32.876 / 1:50:35.837
Disc Size: 46,678,602,467 bytes / 46,807,459,498 bytes
Feature Size: 31,345,551,360 bytes / 32,835,804,096 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.54 Mbps / 35.02 Mbps
Chapters: 16 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: March 19th, 2015 / January 22nd, 2018
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1585 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1585 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1571 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1571 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
The Guardian Lectures:
German, none / English (SDH), none
• Last of the Independents: Don Siegel and The Making of
Charley Varrick (1:12:14)
Last of the Independents: Don
Siegel and the Making of ‘Charley Varrick’ (2015, 72 mins):
a feature-length documentary on the making of the film
Description: Don Siegel directed this offbeat crime thriller which stars Walter Matthau as the titular Charley Varrick. Varrick is a small-time stick-up man who, in tandem with his partner Harman Sullivan (Andrew Robinson), makes plans to rob a small bank in New Mexico. Varrick and Sullivan are expecting a modest payday for a simple heist, but to their surprise they walk away with $750,000 in cash. But it turns out this isn't entirely good news; the bank was flush with cash because a number of well-connected Mafia chieftains have been using the bank to launder their ill-gotten gains, and they're determined to get their money back. Before Varrick can figure out a way to return the money, sadistic hired killer Molly (Joe Don Baker) is on his trail, forcing Varrick to outwit both the cops and the robbers if he is to stay alive.
Charley Varrick (Walter Matthau) is a
former stunt-pilot who makes his living robbing small banks
in the American Southwest. His latest heist sees him
unwittingly steal from the local mafia, setting a psychotic
hit-man on his trail and unleashing a maelstrom of violence
Marvellous, toughly eccentric thriller which confirmed that Siegel had more responses to '70s paranoia than a mere Magnum blast, and decisively removed Matthau from the wasteland of Neil Simon wit. Varrick, 'the last of the independents', unwittingly hits a Mafia payroll; staying alive means outwitting Molly (Baker), the Mafia's freak-killer hitman. The defensive odyssey is through sunlit noir territory, populated exclusively with cherishably individuated oddballs. Clever, but never cold.
Matthau plays the title character, a small-time bank robber who mostly
flies crop dusters for a living. When Charley and his partners,
including Harman (Andrew Robinson), a wild-eyed, much younger man, rob a
bank in the desert town of Tre Cruces, New Mexico, they end up with more
than they bargained for: $750,000 in mob money. Charley is familiar
enough with the territory to know that he's in major trouble if he keeps
the cash, but Harman isn't about to fork it over. So a methodical and
sadistic hit man named, of all things, Molly (Joe Don Baker, in chilling
form), is dispatched to kill Charley and Harman.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Anexcellent action-crime-drama from the 70's, Charley Varrick, looks great on Blu-ray from Koch Media in Germany. The image quality is sharp with some nice depth and it looks very film-like without undue gloss. It is from a very clean source - no speckles or damage - and is transferred on a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate. I appreciated the depth and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance some 40-years hence. This Blu-ray provides a solid video presentation. Visually this gets high marks.
Short story is that the Indicator has slightly warmer skin tones and a shade less gloss - but most systems would show very little difference between the two Blu-ray images. The Indicator has a high bitrate and may also be marginally better in-motion. If forced to choose - the Indicator wins.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray captures
Kochuse a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1585 kbps in the original English language and a similarly robust German DUB option. There are plenty of effects in the film - car chases, airplanes, explosions etc. and they come through flat but with depth. The score is by Argentinean Lalo Schifrin (famous as the guy behind the Mission: Impossible theme as well as Day of the Animals, Hit!, Man on a Swing, Tango and many other films.) It all sounds excellent, crisp and even with clear dialogue and buoyancy in the effects. There are optional German subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Indicator wins with a linear PCM track - in 24-bit and advances in depth (helicopter etc.) as well as in the Lalo Schifrin score. The Indicator has optional English (SDH) subtitles and their Blu-ray disc is also Region 'B' but limited to 3,000 copies.
We get a great supplement here on the Blu-ray: Fiction Factory's 1 1/4 hour documentary Last of the Independents: Don Siegel and The Making of Charley Varrick described HERE as "Don Siegel’s classic crime thriller CHARLEY VARRICK, made in 1972 in the wake of the immensely successful DIRTY HARRY, stars Walter Matthau in what is probably the actor’s finest dramatic role, airshow pilot turned crop duster turned bank robber turned mob target Charley Varrick. This feature-length documentary takes the viewer back to the time of the shooting of this cult item and features original interviews with Siegel’s son, Kristoffer Tabori, actors Andy Robinson and Jacqueline Scott, stunt driver and actor Craig R. Baxley, composer Lalo Schifrin, and Howard A. Rodman, whose father co-wrote the screenplay. LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS, directed by Robert Fischer, was shot in August 2014 in Los Angeles." There is also 15-minutes of Super8 excerpt footage, trailer in both English and German and a photo gallery. Excellent!
Indicator duplicate the 2005 Fiction Factory's 1 1/4 hour documentary Last of the Independents: Don Siegel and The Making of Charley Varrick also found on the Koch Media but add an 1 1/4 hour Guardian Lecture with Don Siegel (1973): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Tony Sloman at London's National Film Theatre that plays to the film and a second Guardian Lecture with Walther Matthau (1988): archival audio recording of an interview at London's National Film Theatre running 1.5 hours. The latter is especially appealing to fans of the actor. We get another (but slightly longer) Super 8 version - original cut-down home cinema presentation of the film, an original theatrical trailer with the optional of a Trailers From Hell commentary and there is an image gallery: on-set and promotional photography. The indicator has a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by author and critic Richard Combs, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film.
Koch Media (DE) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Indicator (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
With superiority in a/v and extensive extras the Indicator is the definitive home theater Blu-ray edition of the film. It gets better each time I watch it - strongly recommended!
May 21st, 2015
January 25th, 2018