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Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles [Blu-ray]
(Chuck Workman, 2014)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Cohen Welles Project
Video: Cohen Media Group
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,329,763,483 bytes
Feature Size: 19,544,389,632 bytes
Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: May 26th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3552 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3552 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
English (SDH), none
•A Conversation with Chuck Workman (8:59)
• Trailer (2:06)
Description:Chuck Workman's documentary Magician: The Astounding Life and Work of Orson Welles surveys the influential career of the celebrated superstar by including clips from just about all of his movies. The filmmakers also reveal how he became one of the biggest stars in the world before the age of 25, battled his entire career to raise money to make movies the way he wanted to, and lived an outsized life until his death in 1985.
Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles
looks at the remarkable genius of Orson Welles on the eve of
his centenary - the enigma of his career as a Hollywood
star, a Hollywood director (for some a Hollywood failure),
and a crucially important independent filmmaker.
Following his subject from child prodigy to complicated legend, the
director, Chuck Workman, touches down so lightly on the mile markers of
Welles’s life that he barely leaves an imprint. Artistic triumphs and
financial flops, often one and the same, roll by in spotless slices, as
do the voices of luminaries, living and dead (John Houseman, how you are
missed), who sing Welles’s praises. Choosing breadth over depth — most
maddeningly in a section dealing with the butchered ending of “The
Magnificent Ambersons” — Mr. Workman faithfully records a career
plagued by projects still unfinished or undone by legal disputes or lack
No single feature-length documentary on the director of "Citizen
is ever going to fully portray the scope of Orson Welles' triumphs,
deflations and career eccentricities. Even Welles biographer Simon
Callow is taking three volumes with it.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The documentary Magician: The Astounding Life and Work of Orson Welles on Blu-ray from Cohen Media looks, for the most part, wonderful. Obviously we have many clips of different quality but the modern sequences are pristine in the original 1.78:1. Nice to see the plentiful footage from Chimes at Midnight looking so brilliant in 1080P (as we all keep our finger's crossed). The contrast in some of the black and white footage looks imperfect as if taken from a lesser and sometimes interlaced source. This Blu-ray video is what it is and for the most part is impressive - enough so that I would state that most will be very pleased with what they see in viewing this documentary on BD.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio gives the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 3552 kbps and a simple Dolby Surround. There are a few separations but the film clips are mostly flat and narration from the centre channel. There is some music beyond those used in the film clips - classical and played beyond the clips into the narration (ex. Bacharach via Herb Alpert's 'Casino Royale') and the score adds to the gaps in the dialogue. It all sounds as parallel to the vintage clips used as could be expected - often superior in the robust lossless.There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
Supplements include a 9-minute conversation with Chuck Workman hosted by Annette Insdorf plus a trailer for the documentary. The package contains an 8-page leaflet with photos, chapter titles etc.
May 23rd, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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