|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
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 46,678,602,467 bytes
Feature Size: 31,345,551,360 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.54 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 19th, 2015
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)
• Last of the Independents: Don Siegel and The Making of
Charley Varrick (1:12:14)
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.
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.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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.
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!
May 21st, 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 3500 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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