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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Scorpio [Blu-ray]


(Michael Winner, 1973)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: The Mirisch Corporation

Video: Twilight Time



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

Runtime: 1:54:34.951 

Disc Size: 33,020,003,406 bytes

Feature Size: 31,769,149,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1049 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1049 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Audio Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1813 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1813 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1799 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1799 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (SDH), None



Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman
Isolated Score Track
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:23)

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 Copies!





Description: Scorpio (1973), an action-packed tale of espionage, friendship, and betrayal. Lancaster is a CIA agent marked for death by his own boss, with the added wrinkles that the assassin on his trail is a young former protégé (Delon) and the one man who offers him help is his Soviet opposite number (Scofield). Featuring a superb score by Jerry Fielding, available on this Twilight Time release as an isolated track.



The Film:

This spy thriller from future Death Wish (1974) director Michael Winner stars Burt Lancaster as the enigmatic Cross, a CIA agent who has hired a government assassin, Jean Laurier (Alain Delon), to kill an Arab terrorist. Once they return home, Laurier is arrested by his superior, McLeod (John Colicos), who wants to know why Cross is still alive, as Laurier was ordered to kill him as well. Laurier doesn't think that Cross is guilty of the crime, but he relents and agrees to carry out the contract for a higher price. Cross, suspected of selling secrets to the Soviets, learns that his life is in danger and flees to Vienna, where he is aided by a former comrade-in-arms from WWII, the sympathetic KGB agent Sergei Zharkov (Paul Scofield). When Cross learns that his wife (Joanne Linville) has been murdered by McLeod, he returns to the U.S. and kills him, leading to a bloody final confrontation with a reluctant Laurier, who is shocked to discover that his lover (Gayle Hunnicutt) is in league with Cross. Scorpio (1973) was the writing debut of David W. Rintels, who went on to author several critically respected made-for-TV films.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Set in Vienna, Paris suburban Georgetown and other fleshpots of the world, "Scorpio" pits C.I.A. agent Cross (Burt Lancaster) against his boss McLeod (John Colicos), while between them stands Laurier (Alain Delon), hired assassin, the Scorpio of the title, hired by McLeod to kill Cross—who happens to be the closest thing he ever had to a best friend, and who also taught him everything he knows about the hired-assassination business.

What Cross wants to do is go off and relax with his wife Sarah (Joanne Linville), and what Laurier wants to do is go off and relax with his girl Susan (Gayle Hunnicutt—in this movie all the men have only last names and the women have only first names). But there remains the problem of the contract on Cross's life, and why it is there. The situation sounds like elemental anguish, except that in "Scorpio" nobody stops long enough to feel anguish—and so it all becomes merely elemental, or elementary, if your critical facilities are so disposed.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

Scorpio comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with their usual high bitrate. The visuals look fine with both texture and depth. 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.  I see no evidence of manipulation or noise. This Blu-ray gives a good presentation in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio - probably as good as it will get for this film.



















Audio :

Twilight Time go with an authentic DTS-HD Master 1.0 mono track. It sounds flat but, the fairly limited, aggression has a punch. Jerry Fielding's (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Killer Elite, The Mechanic, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Getaway) score is available in an isolated track - also in lossless. There are optional English subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region FREE.


Extras :

Twilight Time add a new, impressive, audio commentary with film historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman who discuss Winner's direction, the performances etc. It's quite interesting and adds a lot of value. There is also 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.



Scorpio is a above average politically-underpinned thriller. The performances are not stellar but it's mildly entertaining if not memorable. I found it dragged a bit - and I was hoping for something a bit more exciting.  The Twilight Time Blu-ray provides as good an a/v transfer for the film and further value with the commentary, isolated score and liner notes. There is some decent suspense and Burt Lancaster fans will probably get the most out of it. 

Gary Tooze

November 25th, 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.

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Gary W. Tooze





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