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directed by Richard Brooks
USA 1967

How can a perfectly sane man commit an absolutely crazy act?

On the night of November 15th, 1959, Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock quietly entered the house of Herbert Clutter, with the hope of a little fortune hidden away in Clutter’s safe. The next morning, the Clutter family, Richard Clutter, his wife and their two children, were found viciously killed. So began the case of the Clutter massacre.

Investigating the case, Truman Capote studied case files, newspaper clipping and interviewed both the investigators, KBI agents Alvin Dewey and Harold Nye, and the killers, Smith and Hickock. First serialised in the New Yorker in, later publishes as the book “In Cold Blood”, Capote created a new form of literature: The non-fiction novel. An amazing success, Richard Brooks wrote and directed the film version. This was a perfect Richard Brooks film, who always sought to examine the underbelly of American society: Here he took a look at crime and punishment, and raised an important question: If the crime makes no sense, how can the punishment then?

In Cold Blood” is impeccable directed. Brooks wisely avoids showing the killings until the very end of the film, structuring the film into four chapters: Smith and Hickcock up until the crime, the investigation and Smith and Hickcock after the crime, the interrogations, Sentence and Execution. Instead of showing us minute details of the investigation, Brooks instead focus on the minds and personages of Smith and Hickcock, allowing us to get to know them, until we finally, get to see what really happened. The film may be almost 40 years old and while it only lasts a minute, this is amongst the most gruesome depictions of murder ever put on film. Brooks shows little interest in the court case, reducing it to the summation of the prosecutor: “Thou Shalt not Kill” (Exodus 20, verse 13) and “Who so shedeth man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed” (Genesis 9, verse 12). What he is interested in is the execution of Smith and Hickcock. Here, in minute detail, place and event are shown. Brooks shows us each element of the hanging, even adding the heart beat of the executee, so that we can follow his death – after all, this is what we want – after all, this is justice – or is it?

Brooks originally hoped for Paul Newman Steve McQueen, but unavailable he chose two relative unknown newcommers: Scott Wilson and Robert Blake, who acted their heart out. Truth is, with the luxury of hindsight, that if anyone but two unknown actors had played the leads, the film would not have been as gritty and realistic as it is. Stars draw attention away from the story. But Brooks got a star, as the film was shot by Conrad Hall, who arguable is one of the greatest cinematographers ever. “In Cold Blood” is a study in scope composition, not only in use of width and space, but also in the use of light, from his use of telelense to give it a documentary feel to his underexposing scenes, to make better use of shadows. Finally, the score was done by newcommer Quincy Jones, whos career was launched by this film.

In Cold Blood” became a massive hit and was nominated for four academy awards (direction, script, cinematography and score), but lost in the race to the strong contenders: “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Graduate”. Sadly the film slipped into oblivion for many years, until it, equally sadly, was brought to attention again, with the arrest of Robert Blake for the alleged murder of his wife in 2002. Nevertheless it is back and more so, it has been digitally remastered to stunning glory. “In Cold Blood” is a rare masterpiece of the cinema.
out of

Henrik Sylow

Poster

Theatrical Release: December 14, 1967

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Comparison:

Columbia Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion Collection  Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the DVD screen captures!

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

    

  

Distribution

Columbia Tristar

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine #781 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 2:14:20 2:14:29.061 2:14:40.906
Video

2.35:1 Panavision Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.96 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,244,259,524 bytes

Feature: 33,480,862,673 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,790,606,280 bytes

Feature: 30,126,551,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.50 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Bitrate: Sony Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 3.0 Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1335 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1335 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUB: Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1251 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1251 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
 DTS-HD Master Audio English 3731 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3731 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai and None  English, Arabic, Dutch, French, none  English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tristar

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1 Panavision

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: September 23, 2003
Amaray

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,655,552,843 bytes

Feature: 32,311,068,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• None

Blu-ray Release Date: February 17th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,790,606,280 bytes

Feature: 30,126,551,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.50 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about director of photography Conrad Hall’s work in the film (27:04)
• New interview with film historian Bobbie O’Steen on the film’s editing (14:36)
• New interview with film critic and jazz historian Gary Giddins about Quincy Jones’s music for the film (21:09)
• New interview with writer Douglass K. Daniel on director Richard Brooks (16:59)
• Interview with Brooks from a 1988 episode of the French television series Cinéma cinemas (18:25)
• With Love from Truman, a short 1966 documentary featuring novelist Truman Capote, directed by Albert and David Maysles (29:06)
• Two archival NBC interviews with Capote: one following the author on a 1966 visit to Holcomb, Kansas (4:32), and the other conducted by Barbara Walters in 1967 (9:46)
• Trailer (2:56)
• PLUS: An essay by critic Chris Fujiwara

Blu-ray Release Date: November 17th, 2015
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 15

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray September 15': Firstly, In Cold Blood came out from Sony on Blu-ray in a 2-disc package with the 2005 film Capote and as an individual release (exact same disc.) We compared them HERE.  The Criterion is superior - the image is darker and smoother in-motion, the audio is significantly more robust (3731 kbps as opposed to1335 Kbps and 24-bit rather than 16). Criterion also offers optional (English only though) subtitles. There are negligible differences in the framing but I'd suspect that only those who project will base a decision solely on the video and audio. But if they do - they would lean to the Criterion - it has richer black levels as well.

But the big 'package' advancement' comes in Criterion's massive supplements (there were none on the lone Sony BD.) There are a couple of hours of extras. Criterion offer many new interviews; a 1/2 hour with cinematographer John Bailey about director of photography Conrad Hall’s work in the film, 1/4 hour with film historian Bobbie O’Steen on the film’s editing, 20-minutes with film critic and jazz historian Gary Giddins about Quincy Jones’s music for the film and 17-minutes with writer Douglass K. Daniel on director Richard Brooks. There is a vintage 20-minute interview with Brooks from a 1988 episode of the French television series Cinéma cinemas and With Love from Truman, a 1/2 hour 1966 documentary featuring novelist Truman Capote, directed by Albert and David Maysles. Also included are two archival NBC interviews with Capote: one following the author on a 1966 visit to Holcomb, Kansas and the other conducted by Barbara Walters, for 10-minutes, in 1967. Lastly, we get a trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Chris Fujiwara.

The Criterion supplements can give a very important perspective on the production that definitely encourages even further appreciation. A masterful, impacting and unforgettable film experience. The Criterion Blu-ray has our highest recommendation!  

***

ON THE DVD: This is a great DVD. The picture is crisp in sharpness and contrast, doing Hall's black and white compositions justice, and sound is, even though its forty year old mono, without noise or any other signs of age. Nothing but high marks on the quality.

The downside is, that it lacks any additional material. No documentary, no audio commentary. The only extra we get are a bunch of trailers: In Cold Blood, Identity, 8mm and In a Lonely Place. This is certainly a film that deserves additional material offering reference and insight, as few have heard of the film to begin with.

Henrik Sylow

 


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Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
 

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Criterion Blu-ray Captures

 


Box Covers

    

  

Distribution

Columbia Tristar

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony - Region 'A' Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine #781 - Region 'A' Blu-ray



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