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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Dillinger" [Blu-ray]

 

(John Milius, 1973)

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:47:19.808 

Disc Size: 46,302,744,343 bytes

Feature Size: 35,321,075,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 26th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Audio commentary by Stephen Prince, author of Screening Violence and Savage Cinema
Newly-filmed interview with producer Lawrence Gordon (10:08)
Newly-filmed interview with director of photography Jules Brenner (12:01)
Newly-filmed interview with composer Barry De Vorzon (12:00)
Stills gallery
Theatrical trailer (2:23)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
Collector's booklet containing new writing by Kim Newman on fictional portrayals of John Dillinger, plus an on-set report containing interviews with writer-director John Milius and others, illustrated with original production stills

Dual-Format DVD included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The runaway success of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967 proved massively influential: it made stars of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beauty, introduced a new form of violence to the movies, and inspired a stream of imitators, including Bloody Mama, Martin Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha and the directorial debut of John Milius, Dillinger.

Milius presents John Dillinger as an almost mythical figure, tracing the rise and fall of the Depression era's Public Enemy Number One as he takes on the banks and the G-men, led by the infamous Melvin Purvis.

Starring Sam Peckinpah favorites Warren Oates and Ben Johnson as Dillinger and Purvis, and with a supporting cast including Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Dreyfuss and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, Dillinger is a top drawer gangster picture: explosive, stylish and hugely entertaining.

 

 

The Film:

John Milius's first directorial effort in its own small way set the stage in the 1970s for a subgenre of action films that depict a nostalgia for historical figures tinged with a hard-edged skepticism. Warren Oates stars as John Dillinger, whose short-lived career as Public Enemy No.1 was, at least according to Milius, promoted by Dillinger with a self-absorbed boosterism, comforting his victims by telling them, "Someday you'll tell your grandchildren about this." The film captures the highlights of Dillinger's criminal career, as seen through the eyes of Melvin Purvis (Ben Johnson), the FBI agent whose obsession with capturing Dillinger led to Dillinger's death in the back alley of Chicago's Biograph Theater.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

Against a background of Depression America, where legendary status is bestowed on anyone who can beat the System, Dillinger and his gang rob banks with one eye already on posterity. Milius rightly makes no apology for endorsing the mythic qualities of his characters and setting his film firmly in the roots of American folklore. Bonnie and Clyde are dismissed as two-bit hoodlums, while the film's style condemns the knowing chic of Penn's film. Rather, it's closer in spirit to standard Western myths, or as if Corman had got his hands on Peckinpah's 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid'. Milius filters his story through countless B movies and detective stories, indirectly paying homage to all the different media that have contributed to the Dillinger legend, but keeps things the right side of nostalgia. Good to see AIP delivering the goods and producing movies like this.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Dillinger gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Video.  It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. I believe this may be their third effort, after, "Rage of Honor" and "Pray for Death", solely in the US for 1080P (without a corresponding release in the UK.) The 1.85:1 aspect ratio image has rich colors and plenty of texture looking very film-like while exporting the film's period era art-direction and atmosphere.  It's very clean showcasing solid, but never glossy or tight, visuals shot with low-level lighting to achieve the 'look'. This Blu-ray supports the film's original appearance extremely well.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost going on here - basically we have the original audio via a linear PCM mono track at a reasonable 1152 kbps. Barry De Vorzon's (Rolling Thunder, Hard Times, Looker) score is well balanced and sounds tight but flat. The gunplay packs some healthy punches of depth but dialogue can be a bit scattered - I expect this is a function of the original - sounding a vérité. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

It's Arrow so they don't scrimp on the, self-produced, supplements. Firstly, we get an audio commentary by Stephen Prince, author of Screening Violence and Savage Cinema and it is well worth the listen. Even outside that vast array of knowledge imparted by the commentary are 3 newly-filmed interviews. First "Original Gangster" with producer Lawrence Gordon running just over 10-minutes discussing the production, a dozen minutes with director of photography Jules Brenner entitled "Shooting Dillinger" and also a similar length of time with composer Barry De Vorzon (Bullets and Ballads) and his challenges at writing the score. Included are a stills gallery and theatrical trailer plus the package as a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips and a collector's booklet containing new writing by Kim Newman on fictional portrayals of John Dillinger, plus an on-set report containing interviews with writer-director John Milius and others, illustrated with original production stills. There is a second disc DVD included!

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Once again Arrow elevate appreciation in a film with their stellar a/v transfer and abundant extras. I wouldn't have said it before watching it but Dillinger is a must-see.  The US Blu-ray provides extensive value including in the commentary, interviews and package itself. Don't go by pre-conceived notions of what you think the film is like - just get it - you won't be disappointed!

Gary Tooze

April 18th, 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
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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