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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Harry and Son [Blu-ray]


(Paul Newman, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Orion Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:56:45.164

Disc Size: 22,809,930,251 bytes

Feature Size: 22,730,059,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 28th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1561 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1561 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Harry, Paul Newman, a middle-aged hardhat, has trouble communicating with his teenaged son Howard Robby Benson. While Harry wants Howard to find a bread-and-butter job, the sensitive boy would rather pursue a writing career. Howard tries his best to please his dad, but ultimately realizes that he must march to his own beat if he's to find lasting happiness. The best scenes in this by-the-numbers domestic drama are those between Howard and his pregnant girlfriend Ellen Barkin. Adapted from The Lost King, a novel by Don Capite, Harry and Son represents one of the rare occasions that star Paul Newman directed himself at least officially!



The Film:

Harry & Son director Paul Newman (The Verdict) stars as Harry Keach, a widowed, blue collar, by-the-book construction worker whose less-than-ideal relationship with his sensitive, daydreaming son, Howard (Robby Benson, Running Brave) sets the story in motion. Frustrated by Howard’s inability to take life seriously, Harry is soon confronted with his own mortality when an on-the-job accident offers him an opportunity to re-evaluate his life and shortcomings. Harry & Son co-stars Joanne Woodward (The Three Faces of Eve), Ellen Barkin (Diner), Wilfred Brimley (The Natural). Judith Ivey (The Devil’s Advocate), Ossie Davis (Do The Right Thing), and Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption).


Taken sequence by sequence, this is a well acted and elegantly photographed social drama, with Newman as a depressed widower who loses his job and quarrels with his kids. The plot is a little thin, but Big Acting Scene follows Big Acting Scene quite pleasantly for a while, until you begin to realise that Newman (who co-scripted as well as directed) has decided to compose his entire film out of them. It is nothing more than a constant succession of the kind of emotional peaks actors love to do on screen. Humbler scenes involving background or narrative, which may be immensely tedious to act but help the plot unfold, have in general been left out altogether.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE


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

Harry & Son has a, predictably, modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but looks quite acceptable in 1080P. Textures are apparent and colors are bright and appealing. The outdoor sequences, naturally, looked the best. Detail is quite good in close-ups with some depth present throughout. The Blu-ray easily improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing. I was pleased, enough.



















Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1561 kbps. Aside from some construction noises there aren't an abundance of effect noises.  The great Henry Mancini (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Experiment in Terror, Charade) scored the film which has a gentle track suitable to the narrative. It sounds quite adept via the lossless. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.



I've always liked Harry & Son - and more than ever watching it in 1080P. I have probably seen it a half a dozen times. The critical response was middling. I could watch Newman interact with Benson all day - great characters and great scenes although Timeout does have a point about the cohesiveness. Strong performances and characters tend to make me forgiving though.  The Blu-ray (crappy cover) does its job in the presentation department with adept video and audio. I'd have loved some extras and without them value is lessoned. I rate it - many do not. Go figure. 

Gary Tooze

April 24th, 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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