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directed by Joel & Ethan Coen
U.S.A. 1984

A Texas bar owner hires a private detective to kill his wife and her lover, but things don't go as planned when double-crossing... and betrayal abound.

***

Black humor, abundant originality and a brilliant visual style make Joel Coen's ''Blood Simple'' a directorial debut of extraordinary promise. Mr. Coen, who co-wrote the film with his brother Ethan, works in a film noir style that in no way inhibits his wit, which turns out to be considerable. This is a film in which a dying man, mistakenly shot by a woman who cannot see him (and who meant to kill someone else), can hear her shout one more insult at the intended victim - and answer her, ''Well, ma'am, if I see him I'll sure give him the message.''

A lot of dying is done in ''Blood Simple,'' and almost none of it is done right. The plot concerns four people - a bar owner (Dan Hedaya), his wife (Frances McDormand), the bartender whom the wife runs off with (John Getz), and the private detective hired to kill the runaway couple (M. Emmet Walsh, the veteran character actor, who plays him with a mischievousness that is perfect for the role).

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 7 September 1984 - Canada (Toronto Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                       More Reviews                                                                   DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed and Pavel Borodin and Gregory Meshman for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

  

  

Distribution

Manga Films (Spain)

Region 0 - PAL

Universal (US)
Region 1 - NTSC
Cine Korea (Korea)
Region 0 - NTSC
MGM
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine #834 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:31:31 (4% PAL speedup) 1:35:45 1:35:42 1:35:38.399 1:35:55.791
Video

1.87:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.52 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,082,121,221 bytes

Feature: 30,943,156,224 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 38.90 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,681,275,665 bytes

Feature: 26,383,663,104 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 30.92 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut)

 

Bitrate:

Universal (US) (Director's Cut)

 

Bitrate:

Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut)

 

Bitrate MGM

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Criterion

Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dub DD5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1799 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1799 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3889 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3889 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles Spanish or none (with some work) English, Spanish, French, none English, Korean, Spanish, French, none English (SDH), Spanish, none English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Manga Films (Spain)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.87:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer
• Filmographies of cast & crew

DVD Release Date: 2000
Keep case

Chapters 10
 

Release Information:
Studio: Universal (US)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer
• Audio Commentary by Kenneth Loring of Forever Young Films

• Cast and filmmakers
• Production notes
• Story line

 

DVD Release Date: September 4, 2001
Keep case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Cine Korea (Korea)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Feature commentary with Kenneth Loring of Forever Young Films
• Theatrical trailer
• Cast and filmmakers
• Production notes
• Story line

 

DVD Release Date: September 9, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,082,121,221 bytes

Feature: 30,943,156,224 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 38.90 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer
• Audio Commentary by Kenneth Loring of Forever Young Films

 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,681,275,665 bytes

Feature: 26,383,663,104 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 30.92 Mbps

Edition Details:

• New conversation between Sonnenfeld and the Coens about the film’s look, featuring Telestrator video illustrations (1:10:29)
• New conversation between author Dave Eggers and the Coens about the film’s production, from inception to release (35:00)
• New interviews with composer Carter Burwell (23:45), sound mixer Skip Lievsay, and actors Frances McDormand (25:05) and M. Emmet Walsh (16:33)
• Trailers (Fund Raising - 2:08, Original - 1:34, Re-Release - 1:50)
• PLUS: An essay by novelist and critic Nathaniel Rich

Blu-ray Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 15

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 16': The Criterion is cited as a "New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen" and colors looks much richer on their new 1080P transfer. The MGM BD is 5 years old (to the month!) and in side-by-side comparisons - it is significantly weaker than the Criterion which is darker, still showing abundant grain textures. Really, it's no contest.

Criterion use a robust DTS-HD Master in 5.1 surround (24-bit) and it also advances upon the flatter 2.0 channel MGM with some notable, and sneaky, separations and a very deep audio notable in the film's score from frequent Coen collaborator, Carter Burwell (A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski etc.) and it sounds pristine, tight and very pleasing. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on Criterion's region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion add extensive self-produced extras for this Blood Simple release. There is a new, 1-hour 10-minute, conversation between Sonnenfeld and the Coens about the film’s look, featuring Telestrator video illustrations. Joel and Ethan Coen tapped Barry Sonnenfeld to photograph their debut feature - which represented a first for the cinematographer as well, as he had neve4r shot on 35mm before. In this selected-scene discussion, filmed in May 2016, the three sat down, with Telestrators in hand, to discuss and illustrate the film's lighting and design and talk about some mistakes they felt they had made along the way. There is also a new, 35-minute, conversation between author Dave Eggers and the Coens about the film’s production, from inception to release and new interviews with composer Carter Burwell for almost 24-minutes with sound mixer Skip Lievsay, and actors Frances McDormand, her first feature role - she auditioned on the recommendation of her friend Holly Hunter, for 25-minutes and M. Emmet Walsh for 16-minutes - the film was written with actor Walsh in mind for the rold of detective Loren Visser - as well as three trailers (Fund Raising - 2:08, Original - 1:34, Re-Release - 1:50) and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by novelist and critic Nathaniel Rich.

Coen's Blood Simple is a brilliant American neo-noir psychological crime thriller film written, edited, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and it would expose themes that they would revisit in later films - especially Fargo. The Criterion Blu-ray  has immense value and is a very easy recommendation! The absolute best way top watch this masterpiece in your home theater.

***

ADDITION: MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 11': The DVDs of Blood Simple never attained any impressive appearance via the SD standard. Noise and artifacts abound, and while the Blu-ray transfer seems adept with a very high bitrate nothing has been done to make this film pristinely crisp or glossy - and it wouldn't suit the experience regardless. This may be as good as it gets and this is still the 'director's cut' not the slightly longer 'theatrical' version that some fans were hoping. The 1080P is thick, not very crisp but tighter than the SDs. It looks good - but the film will never look dynamic with extensive depth although it does have some scope-like grandeur in 1.85:1 as compared to the DVDs. The Blu-ray offers the best presentation that I have seen despite the sometimes problematic 80's film stock utilized.

Audio goes lossless with a DTS-HD Master in original 2,0 channel stereo - not surround bump. Subtle effects like crickets, footsteps etc. all sound more notable. There is some perceived depth (echoing gunshots) and the Blu-ray offers optional subtitles and the, occasionally pulsating, original score by Carter Burwell, a Coen mainstay, never overtakes the film and sounds adept via the uncompressed transfer. The disc is region 'A'-locked.

Same Kenneth Loring (of Forever Young) film commentary which is rumored to be Ethan Coen putting on an English accent - and same intro plus a theatrical trailer. So nothing new in the supplements.

Like much of the Coen's worth Blood Simple continues to grow on me and it was 'refreshing' to see it in the new format with far less artifacts. Great thing is the price is right and we endorse.

***

ON THE DVDs: The anamorphic video of the Korean disc is completely identical to the US version (the same transfer with the same compression). What the bitrate chart demonstrates is that on Cine Korea disk it is shifted up slightly because of addition of a 5.1 bump track.

NOTE: The "Kenneth Loring" commentary, on both the Universal and Korean, may in fact be Ethan Coen putting on an English accent. He mocks the film and this is perhaps a provocation to their fans who would dearly love to see a Coen commentary on all (or any) of their films on DVD. I suppose this can't be considered a 'real commentary' but it is nonetheless humorous and entertaining. The Korean DVD looks like a bootleg, but we may never know.

To remove the "forced" subtitles on the Spanish release: Start the movie, goto set-up menu and select "No subtitles", go to main menu and continue the movie.

 - Gary Tooze

 


DVD Menus

(Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample from MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Manga Films (Spain) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Universal (US) (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Cine Korea (Korea) (Director's Cut) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Criterion Blu-ray

Extras:

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

  

  

  

Distribution

Manga Films (Spain)

Region 0 - PAL

Universal (US)
Region 1 - NTSC
Cine Korea (Korea)
Region 0 - NTSC
MGM
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine #834 - Region 'A' Blu-ray

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...