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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street aka Tote Taube in der Beethovenstraße [Blu-ray]

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/fuller.htm, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:07:55.376 

Disc Size: 48,967,734,198 bytes

Feature Size: 27,169,050,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 19th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.44:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Return to Beethoven Street: Samuel Fuller in Germany (1:50:02 with optional English subtitles)

Essay by Lisa Dombrowski (11:01)
Essay by Samuel B. Prime (5:01)
Trailer (3:49)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: 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.

A fish-out-of-water detective story, Fuller's Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street navigates the shadows of the great crime dramas, filling the viewer s imagination with memories of the classic private dick stories bringing to life the likes of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and Peter Gunn.

In a film filled with double-crosses, several red herrings, and the quintessential femme fatale, Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street is a treat for any Samuel Fuller fan, as well as the uninitiated.

Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, written and directed by Samuel Fuller (The Naked Kiss, Pick Up On South Street), stars Glenn Corbett (Homicidal, Chisum), Christa Lang (Thieves After Dark, White Dog), Sieghardt Rupp (A Fistful of Dollars, The Last Ride To Santa Cruz), Anton Diffring (The Blue Max, Where Eagles Dare) and Stephane Audran (Babette's Feast, Le Boucher).

 

 

The Film:

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.

Fuller's screenplay took liberties with the established style of the show by eliminating a primary series protagonist early in the episode in order to introduce a one-time American character to helm the investigation, by conducting the majority of the program in English rather than German (though subtitles were provided in the German broadcast), and by ultimately treating the story with a satirical and often broadly comic tone.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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 :

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.

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
It was so cool watching Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street after desiring a viewing for decades. I don't think it is a matter of re-watching it - but rather, how many times we I re-watch it. I can't shake my recollection of Glenn Corbett as Zefram Cochrane in the Star Trek (TOS) episode Metamorphosis (1967). My FB friend Christa Lang Fuller is so marvelous too. What a pleasure! I leave you with this:

The Olive Blu-ray has our highest recommendation.

Gary Tooze

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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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