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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Osterman Weekend [Blu-ray]

 

(Sam Peckinpah, 1983)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Anchor Bay

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:42:28.142

Disc Size: 29,657,573,038 bytes

Feature Size: 25,385,705,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.80 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 19th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3079 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3079 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle, and Nick Redman

Alpha to Omega (1:18:05)

Theatrical Trailer (2:57)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: What would you do if a total stranger proved to you that your three closest friends are enemy agents? For investigative TV host John Tanner (Rutger Hauer), the news comes on the eve of a reunion weekend at his home where the traitors (Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper and Chris Sarandon) are all placed under intense surveillance by a mysterious CIA operative (John Hurt). But as the get-together turns deadly, are Tanner and his family being set up for the most shocking betrayal of all? From its stinging look at media manipulation to its stunning final twist, the ultimate conspiracy will be uncovered by whoever survives THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND.

 

 

The Film:

A man discovers that his best friends are actually spies -- or are they? -- in this thriller based on Robert Ludlum's best-selling novel. John Tanner Rutger Hauer is the host of a television news show who once a year spends a long weekend with three of his best friends from college, Bernard Osterman Craig T. Nelson, Joseph Cardone Chris Sarandon, and Richard Tremayne Dennis Hopper. Tanner is approached by Lawrence Fassett John Hurt, a CIA agent who has evidence proving that his three pals are actually agents working with the Soviet Union. With Tanner's reluctant approval, his house is wired with video surveillance equipment so that the CIA can monitor what Osterman, Cardone, and Tremayne say and do over their weekend together in hopes of putting the traitors behind bars. However, Tanner soon realizes that Fassett's agenda is not all that it appears to be. The Osterman Weekend was directed by Sam Peckinpah; it proved to be his last film, as he died a year after its release.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Adapted from Robert Ludlum's thriller, this trails a McGuffin about an un-American spy ring, but really revolves around a top brass CIA man with his eye on dictatorship (Lancaster), a disgruntled agent whom the aforesaid bastard has doublecrossed (Hurt), and a flag-waving investigative reporter (Hauer) whom Hurt manipulates into a game of unmask the spy from three candidates (Hopper, Nelson, Sarandon) that has a much more sinister purpose. It all raises the question: who needs another mess of espionage and post-Watergate paranoia? Not Peckinpah, certainly, since he shows scant interest in the convolutions of the plot (neatly enough set out in Alan Sharp's script). Instead, he toys with the agent's name (Fassett) as an excuse to explore facets of reality, fascinatingly turning the screen into a multi-purpose surveillance device. There's a neat trick involving a prerecorded 'live' TV show, a precision-timed shootout round a swimming-pool, some flickers of dark humour.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

The Osterman Weekend arrives on Blu-ray from Anchor Bay.  The image quality seemed a shade brittle and fragile to me (not much) and in zooming-in I could see some slight edge-enhancement (see below.) I suspect that my picayune tendencies are less relevant here to the majority of viewers. There is also a strange purple/blue cast over the image that doesn't look authentic. The image in-motion, on my system, was decent enough. It is 1080P, tight, true, bright colors, some sharpness not present on the SDs (compared HERE) and even instances of depth.  This is dual-layered with a decent bitrate and while the image is imperfect, I wasn't distracted by the EE. Those ultra-sensitive to the practice - may find it more problematic.  Contrast is adept and there are plenty of video-representations (including the opening sex/violence scene) and I had no issue with that appearance displaying artifacts beyond what was intentional. Hopefully, the screen captures below give you an idea of the visual presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence of low-frequency edge-enhancement (click for larger version)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Anchor Bay utilize a Dolby TrueHD in a 5.1 surround bump at a lofty 3079 kbps. So no original mono but the bump does seem to augment the action (over-produced car chase, pool fire, camper explosion and more subtle aggressions) with deep, affecting, bass. The dialogue sync may be ever-so-slightly off - hard to be sure. 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 tight and even with scintillating dramatic depth. There are optional English (SDH) and Spanish subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

Included is the 'author's' audio commentary as found on Anchor Bay's 2004 MGM DVD with film historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle, and Nick Redman all experts on Peckinpah and who enjoy extolling the director with specifics and anecdotal stories. There are some interesting comparison with Straw Dogs.  It significantly adds to the appreciation of this, the director's last, film. Also on that 2 disc DVD set, and included here, is Jonathan Gaines' 2004, 78-minutes, documentary Alpha to Omega: Exposing 'The Osterman Weekend' which has interviews with the cast, the producers and other participants regarding the shooting of "The Osterman Weekend". There is also a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Pretty much a 1080P and lossless audio updating of Anchor Bay's strong double DVD set from more than a decade ago. Despite the minor edge-enhancement (which for most viewers will be a moot point), I will still endorse this release - adding excellent value with the commentary and lengthy documentary.  The Osterman Weekend continues to grow on me over the years of seeing it (this might be my fifth time?) The Blu-ray easily replaces the DVD as the more bona-fide way to enjoy the film in your home theater. Those keen on this claustrophobic and voyeuristic Peckinpah effort should be encouraged to indulge. 

Gary Tooze

May 12th, 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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