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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Devil in a Blue Dress [Blu-ray]

 

(Carl Franklin, 1995)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: TriStar Pictures

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:41:17.905 

Disc Size: 30,561,451,516 bytes

Feature Size: 28,941,096,960 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3581 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3581 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2100 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2100 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2769 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2769 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1989 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1989 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Carl Franklin
Isolated Score Track
Don Cheadle Screen Test (14:51)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:30)

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 Copies!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), writer-director Carl Franklin’s moody, neo-noir adaptation of Walter Mosley’s acclaimed novel, stars the superb Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins, a laid-off factory worker-turned-private investigator in post-World War II Los Angeles. Easy finds himself in a world of trouble after accepting an apparently simple assignment: find a missing white woman (Jennifer Beals) apparently hiding out in the black juke joints along L.A.’s Central Avenue. Pretty soon, as Easy uncovers a tar pit of corruption, people are turning up dead. The terrific supporting cast includes Tom Sizemore, Don Cheadle (in a career-making performance), Maury Chaykin, Terry Kinney, and Albert Hall.

 

 

The Film:

Denzel Washington stars in this adaptation of the novel by African-American crime author Walter Mosley, the first of his stories to reach the screen. Ezekiel Rawlins (Washington), known to his friends as "Easy," has just lost his job at an aircraft plant in post-WW II Los Angeles, a time when good-paying jobs for black men are hard to come by. He's wondering how to make his mortgage payment when he's approached by De Witt Albright (Tom Sizemore), who describes his job as "doing favors for friends." It seems that a woman named Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals) has gone missing; Daphne is the former girlfriend of wealthy mayoral candidate Todd Carter (Terry Kinney) and a known habit.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Recently fired and desperate to keep up the payments on his beloved home, WWII veteran Easy Rawlins (Washington) is offered a job by the shady Dewitt Albright (Sizemore): to discover the whereabouts of one Daphne Monet (Beals), a politician's fiancée scandalously rumoured to hang out in black bars. Assured that there's nothing illegal involved, Easy accepts. Pretty soon, however, he finds himself suspected of murdering a friend's girl (Carson) and under threat from both the cops and Albright's thuggish henchmen. Reluctantly, he puts in a call to Mouse (Cheadle), an old friend from his native Texas - reluctantly, because while Mouse has guts and loyalty to spare, he's also a volatile psychopath. Franklin's follow-up to One False Move is an impressively complex, polished and intelligent adaptation of Walter Mosley's thriller. It not only shows us an immaculately recreated world hitherto ignored by the movies (the black neighbourhoods of late '40s LA), but locates race, alongside more familiar elements like money and power, as a central motivating force for the various characters' actions. Mercifully, however, Franklin never preaches but allows the racial theme to emerge naturally from story and situation. Everything - the performances, Tak Fujimoto's elegant camerawork, the jazz and blues soundtrack, the snappy script - slots neatly into his overall design. Sheer pleasure.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Devil in a Blue Dress comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with a supportive bitrate. The 1080P visuals look excellent supporting the film's darker edge without digital noise. Contrast has some decent layering and colors look true and fairly tight in the HD transfer. It looks quite consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles and the texture is fine.  I see no evidence of manipulation. This Blu-ray gives a very solid HD presentation in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio - I can't imagine it looking any better.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Twilight Time give the option of two DTS-HD Master tracks - a 5.1 surround at 3581 kbps at 1636 kbps or a 2.0 channel stereo at 2100 kbps (both in 24-bit). There are aggressive effects including punctuating gunfire that separate tightly - with a wonderful jazzy score (listen for T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Witherspoon, Duke Ellington, Pee Wee Crayton, Bull Moose Jackson, Thelonious Monk and more) by the iconic Elmer Bernstein's (Hud, To Kill a Mockingbird, Summer and Smoke, The Man With the Golden Arm) score gains benefit from the uncompressed transfer and adds significantly to the film's mysterious atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Twilight Time add a intelligent audio commentary with writer-director Carl Franklin who discusses many aspects of the production, story and praise for the performers. It's a very good follow-up to the film. We also get Don Cheadle's screen test footage with an intro by Franklin. There the usual Isolated Score Track and an original theatrical trailer. The package has some liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Devil in a Blue Dress is a well above average noir-leaning mystery/thriller. I loved it - such great art-direction capturing the period and smokey aura. Solid performances and a great story. I wish there were more modern films like this - I frequently thought of L.A. Confidential.  The Twilight Time Blu-ray provides a solid a/v transfer of the film and further value with the commentary, and other supplements. It's a rewarding film experience especially for those who crave more Noir in their digital library - strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

October 31st, 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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