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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Figures in a Landscape [Blu-ray]

 

(Joseph Losey, 1970)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Cinema Center 100 Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:48:53.527

Disc Size: 22,763,690,783 bytes

Feature Size: 22,625,765,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.50 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 12th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1698 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1698 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The bird has come for its prey! Newly re-mastered in HD! Screen legends Robert Shaw (From Russia With Love) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) co-star as desperate fugitives in an unnamed foreign land, wanted for unknown crimes by a nameless, faceless enemy. Against a raw, unforgiving backdrop of parched desert and frozen mountains, MacConnachie (Shaw) and Ansell (McDowell) run for their lives, but even as they cross a seemingly endless expanse of open territory, the walls of their cage begins to close in as a relentless helicopter pilot stalks them in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Legendary blacklisted filmmaker Joseph Losey (Stranger on the Prowl) directed this thrilling adventure yarn with nonstop suspense and exhilarating action photography that is a jolt of pure adrenaline.

 

 

The Film:

Based on a novel by Barry England, Joseph Losey's Figures in a Landscape stars Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell as two escaped prisoners in an unidentified totalitarian country. MacConnachie (Shaw) and Ansell (McDowell) spend most of their time on the run from an omnipresent police helicopter. Along the way, the two men are helped by "the people," who are as contemptuous of the powers that be as MacConnachie and Ansell. Pamela Brown co-stars as an enigmatic widow.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

 

"Figures in a Landscape" is Losey's first film since his two-picture sabbatical as director-in-residence for the Richard Burtons ("Boom," "Secret Ceremony"), during which time it seemed as if his work was evolving into that of a stylish but gloomy interior decorator. With this film, it is apparent that Losey is back in charge of his own career, which is to say he is conceding nothing to the demands of big stars and big properties. He is, instead, pursuing his own metaphysical concerns, which, as in two of his best recent films, "The Servant" and "Accident," are so ambitious that one can admire the concerns even without responding to them.

In this case, Losey's directorial talents are evident, though they never transform the Shaw screenplay with its Pinteresque dialogue, into an especially moving or meaningful experience. "No bloody order! No bloody discipline!," Mac rants at the young Ansell, as if they were a father and son in a London suburb and not fighting for their lives in an alien land. They argue about marriage but never mention where they are going.

Excerpt from The NY Times 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 Losey's Figures in a Landscape looks decent and consistent in 1080P. The mountain-scapes and helicopter vantage point produces some excellent visuals and colors seem true with some richness (greens). Contrast is quite strong but detail a little wanting. The film's almost exclusive outdoor sequences can tend to look quite impressive. The source is clean, and I noticed no noise - not even in the few night sequences. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable, and pleasurable, viewing in regards to the picture quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1698 kbps in the original English language. There are effects in the film - mostly the pursuing helicopter and fire. They sounds quite deep and ominous at times. Richard Rodney Bennett's (Far From the Madding Crowd, The Witches, Equus, Billy Liar, The Man Who Could Cheat Death) score sounds a lot like the original Planet of the Apes to me (and some of the terrain reminds of that film as well) with violent chords and a piercing high end that sounds very penetrating via the lossless. The dialogue was sometimes harder to distinguish - which would probably on-par with the production. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

None.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Figures in a Landscape but knew of its reputation. I was very impressed. Great leads with masterful characterizations and a marvelously unusual realization of the story. Details squeeze out, slowly, over the course of the film. Brilliant. The bare-bones Kino Lorber Blu-ray
seesm the only way to see this gem in 1080P - which is, no doubt the best. A commentary would have been a sweet addition, though but I was thoroughly entertained by the film. Recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 45% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

January 5th, 2016

 

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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