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directed by Robert Altman
USA 1993

The work of two great American artists merge in Short Cuts, maverick director Robert Altman’s kaleidoscopic adaptation of the stories of renowned author Raymond Carver. Epic in scale yet meticulously observed, the film interweaves the stories of twenty-two characters struggling to find solace and meaning in contemporary Los Angeles. The extraordinary ensemble cast includes Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Lemmon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh—all giving fearless performances in one of Altman’s most compassionate creations.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 1st, 1993 - USA (New York City)

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Comparison:

Criterion (2 disc) - Region 1- NTSC vs. Criterion (2 Blu-rays) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

 

DVD Package - CLICK to ENLARGE

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 265 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 265 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 3:07:48 3:08:11.738
Video 2.39:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,766,501,263 bytes

Feature: 48,564,240,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.27 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2120 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2120 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3739 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3739 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection - Spine # 265

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.39:1

Edition Details:

• Reflections on Short Cuts, a new 25-minute videotaped conversation with Robert Altman and Tim Robbins
• Luck, Trust, and Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, a 90-minute documentary on the making of Short Cuts
• Segment from BBC television’s Moving Pictures tracing the development of Raymond Carver’s short story “Jerry and Molly and Sam” for the film
• A 50-minute audio interview with Raymond Carver
• Deleted scenes
• A look inside the marketing of Short Cuts, featuring trailers and more than sixty print advertising campaigns
• Special reprint of Short Cuts, the Vintage Books companion collection of Raymond Carver short stories
• An essay by film critic Michael Wilmington and a guide to the music

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 2004

Packaging - See above image
Chapters: 37

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,766,501,263 bytes

Feature: 48,564,240,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.27 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

On the second Blu-ray
• Conversation between director Robert Altman and actor Tim Robbins from 2004 (28:56)
Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, a feature-length 1993 documentary on the making of Short Cuts (1:30:02)
To Write and Keep Kind, a 1992 PBS documentary on the life of author Raymond Carver  (56:48)
One-hour 1983 audio interview with Carver, conducted for the American Audio Prose Library (51:47)
Four original demo recordings of the film’s Doc Pomus–Mac Rebennack songs, performed by Rebennack (Dr. John)
Deleted scenes (Smoking - 1:08, Hey Clown  -0:38, I Threw it Away - 2:24)
• A look inside the marketing of Short Cuts, featuring trailers and more than sixty print advertising campaigns
PLUS: An essay by film critic Michael Wilmington

Blu-ray Release Date:
October 18th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 27

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - September 2016: Firstly, I should clear up a misconception. The DVD captures are not mine and I can see now, not derived by our current methodology. This has happened, rarely, throughout the years. I can tell by looking at the bitrate graph that this contributor was using a Mac. I suspect his settings dampened the image's colors and contrast. It is not captured so as to obtain 960 pixel resolution captures. So you may ask, why are you comparing to this DVD? I  think it, comparatively, still has value in this case for things like the extras and the framing, bitrate etc. . If I can, easily, get an original Criterion DVD, I may redo the captures to make that part of this review more relevant. More so than simply Blu-ray captures alone. So, if you feel the DVD captures are irrelevant - ignore them. The Blu-ray captures were derived from the same method we have been using for HD - prominently on the site (over 4,000 reviews/comparisons.)

So let's talk about the Blu-ray transfer. It is house on it's own dual-layered disc (extras on a separate Blu-ray) for the 3 hour films with a supportive bitrate. It looks to be max'ed out for the film's running length and a, almost totally, filled dual-layered disc (over 48.5 Gig.) So, colors, flesh tones look brighter and far more realistic. There is softness but the same type of gritty, grassroots, texturizing we have seen from almost all of Altman's films. None are pristinely tight and glossy - that is contrary to the intended style. But most can see from the 1080p captures that the Blu-ray is sharper and  more balanced. More like the theatrical film? That is how I would, certainly, wager.

Criterion give the option of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2120 kbps or a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3739 kbps (both 24-bit) - and, like the 2004 DVD, as well as the option of the isolated score. The surround helps with the dialogue but it is not as discretely separated as more modern films. Effects and aggression export depth and the score by Mark Isham (Little Man Tate, Of Mice and Men, Crossing Over, In the Valley of Elah, A River Runs Through It) supports the film as well as you might anticipate. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

Criterion include extras from their previous DVD including the 1/2 hour conversation between director Robert Altman and actor Tim Robbins from 2004 as well as Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, the 1.5 hour 1993 documentary, directed by John Dorr, Mike Kaplan, on the making of Short Cuts with input from much of the cast including Altman, Tim Robbins, Fred Ward, Matthew Modine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore etc. Also duplicated is the 50-minute, 1983 audio interview with Carver conducted by Kay Bonetti, for the American Audio Prose Library, the two deleted and one alternate scene (Smoking - 1:08, Hey Clown -0:38, I Threw it Away - 2:24) and a look inside the marketing of Short Cuts, featuring trailers and more than sixty print advertising campaigns. To Write and Keep Kind is a 56-minute, 1992, PBS documentary on the life of author Raymond Carver. It features interviews with the writer's family and friends providing and insightful look as his short stories and poems. There are also four original demo recordings of the film’s Doc Pomus–Mac Rebennack songs, performed by Rebennack (Dr. John) plus the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by film critic Michael Wilmington (as found on the 2004 DVD.)

Another incredible Blu-ray package of an Altman film - by the folks at Criterion. Two Blu-ray - the film in a wonderful new 1080P transfer and an entire second BD of supplements. Brilliant cinema that you would love to go on forever. This is another Blu-ray that has out highest recommendation! 

***

ON THE DVD (2004):  There are some very vibrant colors in this 'director approved' Criterion DVD. Although they appear extravagant at times I suspect it was as theatrically shown. This may not be as crisp as other Criterion offerings but it comes in a stupendous 2-disc package with a host of extra features. The erratic image quality is absolutely a function of Altman's shooting methods. Contrast is good, aspect ratio is maintained, subtitles are perfect - nothing for Altman fans to complain about. Another gem from Criterion.

Gary W. Tooze



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Disc 1 Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 

Disc 2 Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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Screen Captures

 

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Box Covers

   

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 265 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 265 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze