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Prime Cut [Blu-ray]
(Michael Ritchie, 1972)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Edward Small Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 19,016,289,781 bytes
Feature Size: 18,666,283,008 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.58 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 28th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.37:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1569 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1569 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Trailer (2:35)
Description:Michael Ritchie, better known for his gentle satires of American social institutions, enters Don Siegel territory in the unusual crime thriller Prime Cut. Lee Marvin is surly collection agent Nick Devlin, who is hired by Chicago racketeer Jake (Eddie Egan) to collect an overdue payment from Kansas cattle baron Mary Ann (yes, Mary Ann!) (Gene Hackman). When Devlin travels west to get Jake's money from Mary Ann, he finds the cattle king mixed up in complex drug deals and pimping wild women -- two of which are Poppy and Violet (Sissy Spacek and Janit Baldwin -- both in their film debuts.)
Hollywood legends Lee Marvin (Monte Walsh) and Gene Hackman (Mississippi Burning) square off in one of the most explosive screen confrontations ever. Marvin is an underworld enforcer sent to Kansas City to collect money from Hackman, a mysterious mobster who has no intention of paying up. A meat packing plant fronts for Hackman's real business dealings: drugs and prostitution. Before it ends, hoods will be ground into sausages and beautiful women will be sold like cattle. Michael Ritchie's breakneck direction propels the action along with the speed of bullets. From a shoot-out at a country fair to the final cataclysmic showdown, Prime Cut is prime excitement! Punctuated with ruthless performances by Marvin and Hackman, and featuring the in-the-flesh screen debut of acting great Sissy Spacek (Carrie), this gangster movie hits hard and cuts deep.
Ritchie's inexplicably underrated second feature is a superb amalgam of pulp gangster thriller and fairytale, in which white knight/Chicago syndicate enforcer (Marvin) visits recalcitrant black knight/Kansas boss (Hackman), rescuing damsel in distress (Spacek, making her debut) while there. Underneath a surface that constantly juxtaposes opposites, Prime Cut concerns a curious, fundamental naiveté underlying America's corruption: that allows Hackman to give the country the dope and flesh it wants; that permits Marvin to attempt to live out his Beauty and the Beast romance; that implies, in the fairground shootout, an America totally oblivious to what is going on in front of its eyes. In his round-trip of bars, hotels, flophouses, ranches, cities and countryside, Ritchie demonstrates a truly fine handling of locations, best realised in two classic Hitchcock-like chases, through the fairground, and across a cornfield pursued by a combine harvester.
Hackman is a degenerate Kansas City cattleman who sells as many girls as he does cows. Chicago gangster Marvin is sent to teach him a lesson on behalf of factory owners who are fed up with Hackman's insolence. Some of the more interesting aspects of this violent film from director Michael Ritchie are an unlikely setting for a gangster film (a country fair), a wheatfield chase scene (a la NORTH BY NORTHWEST), and a switch in casting (Hackman playing the louse and Marvin playing the relatively good guy). Ritchie breaks tradition by portraying the rural population as far more despicable than the city folk, referring to Chicago as being "as peaceful as anyplace anywhere." Sissy Spacek makes her film debut as one of Hackman's commodities.Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Prime Cut has some softness but it is consistent. I didn't pick-up the German Blu-ray but suspect it is similar in appearance (see Monte Walsh). There is some heaviness and thickness to the visuals. I don't suspect digital manipulation although there is a light waxiness. Colors may have a pink-leaning and nothing in the image exports the desirable qualities of 1080P. The many outdoor sequences do raise-the-bar for the overall image. The source is clean, but perhaps a bit faded. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, but unremarkable, viewing in regards to the picture quality.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1569 kbpsin the original English language. There are plenty of effects in the film - cars, farm equipment, meat manufacturing etc. and they come through flat but with a pinch of depth. The score is by Argentinean Lalo Schifrin (famous as the guy behind the Mission: Impossible theme as well as Charley Varrick, Day of the Animals, Hit!, Man on a Swing, Tango and many other films.) It all sounds fine with clear consistent dialogue. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Only a, very poor quality, trailer.
July 2nd, 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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