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Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street aka Tote Taube in der Beethovenstraße [Blu-ray]
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 48,967,734,198 bytes
Feature Size: 27,169,050,624 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 19th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.44:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1786 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1786 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• English (SDH), None
• Return to Beethoven Street: Samuel Fuller in Germany (1:50:02 with optional English subtitles)
• Essay by Lisa Dombrowski (11:01)
Set in present day Germany (and by present day we re talking
1972), Sandy (Glenn Corbett, Homicidal, Chisum)
is an American private eye searching for the person who
killed his partner.
Made in West Germany, Samuel Fuller's international espionage thriller stars Glenn Corbett (who also starred in Fuller's The Crimson Kimono 13 years earlier) as Sandy, a secret agent on the trail of a gang of blackmailers with incriminating photographs of an American senator. The film suffers a bit from a convoluted plot that bounces Sandy from city to city, chasing after Christa (Christa Lang, Fuller's wife), a mysterious femme fatale employed by the gang to get politicians into compromising positions. While the script is chock-full of great one-liners ("The last time a man opened the door for me, we were going 60 miles an hour," Christa informs Sandy at one point), they tend to get lost in the lackluster performances of many of the actors. And unlike more durable Fuller classics like Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss, Dead Pigeon feels trapped in its inescapably '70s low-budget aesthetic (music that sounds like it came from a cop show, way too many zooms, Corbett's ridiculous mustache and hairstyle). In a way, these flaws are natural by-products of Fuller's exuberant style, which always threatens to pitch over the edge into full-blown kitsch, but they also give his films a personal stamp. With Fuller, excess just comes with the territory, and fans of his movies develop an affection for their imperfections. There may be more flaws than usual in Dead Pigeon, but they give it a goofy charm that's nearly impossible not to like.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
Fuller was offered the opportunity to direct an episode of the popular
German crime drama by film critic (and later writer/director) Hans-Christoph
Blumenberg, in appreciation for the director's help in securing
interviews with filmmakers Howard Hawks and John Ford for a documentary
project. Upon meeting with the program's producers and feeling initial
doubts about being able to conform to the show's standard template, he
suggested a storyline inspired by the then-recent Profumo affair in
England, which the producers approved to Fuller's surprise.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Dead Pigeon On Beethoven Street arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is dual-layered and looks about as good as I was hoping for in 1080P. The original digital restoration and preservation was funded by UCLA Film and Television Archive with additional restoration by Olive Films. It has been a much-desired title, by Fuller fans, to have on digital disc for years. It was shot on 35mm and there is some pleasing textures to the HD visuals. There remain a few, less-noticeable, speckles but the resulting image has stable color, reasonable detail and some minor depth. The aspect ratio is around 1.44:1 (I don't know why) but I'd say this transfer is extremely watchable producing a solid presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1786 kbps (24-bit). It is consistent and audible reflecting well the original production's limitations in the effects. The score is credited to 'Can' or 'The Can' (notable for music in PTA's Inherent Vice performing "Vitamin C" and "Soup" and in Morvern Callar performing "I Want More", "Fragrance" and "Spoon"). Dialogue is always audible and the lossless exports a fairly clean sound. There are optional English subtitles (but not for the film's infrequent German dialogue) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Olive include another excellent documentary from Robert Fischer's Fiction Factory; described on their website as "Return to Beethoven Street: Samuel Fuller in Germany covers the making of Fuller’s 1972 pulpy, neo-noirish thriller DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET from script to screen. The recently rediscovered, hardly-ever-seen original director’s cut of DEAD PIGEON, running 25 minutes longer than other versions and more, prompted the production of this in-depth documentary, which features new interviews with star Christa Lang, supporting actors Eric P. Caspar and Hans C. Blumenberg, executive producer Günter Rohrbach, fellow directors Wim Wenders and Dominik Graf (both ardent DEAD PIGEON fans), composer Irmin Schmidt (of legendary krautrock group CAN), Fuller’s daughter Samantha, and film scholars Janet Bergstrom and Bill Krohn. Many of these participants share their first-hand recollections of Samuel Fuller at work, while others offer a more analytical approach. The resulting insights and theories combine to turn this documentary into both a fascinating lesson in filmmaking and a very pleasurable look back at a rare moment in film history, a period when Hollywood genre movies and European art films, big screen and small screen, mainstream and avant-garde converged." There are also two text essays (click-thru) - one by by Lisa Dombrowski and another by Samuel B. Prime and I thought they both had good value - although I might have preferred them in a liner notes booklet. There is also a trailer.
The Olive Blu-ray has our highest recommendation.
April 17th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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