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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Blue Collar [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Schrader, 1975)

 

 

 

 

 

Indicator (Powerhouse) initial slate of Blu-rays
Spine #001 Spine #002 Spine #003 Spine #004

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Spine #032 Spine #039 Spine #034 Spine #038 Spine #040 Spine #044

Spine #045 Spine #024 Spine #024 Spine #024 Spine #024

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Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: TAT Communications Company

Video: Cargo / Indicator (Powerhouse)

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:53:40.313 / 1:53:32.096

Disc Size: 34,801,123,372 bytes / 45,904,872,054 bytes

Feature Size: 33,568,739,328 bytes / 33,731,247,552 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.89 Mbps / 35.02 Mbps

Chapters: 9 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray Case

Release date: November 25th, 2016 / January 22nd, 2018

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1574 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1574 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1641 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1641 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

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

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Paul Schrader BFI Masterclass:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, German, none

 

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Gallery

US Trailer (2:37)

 

Audio Commentary with writer/director Paul Schrader and author Maitland McDonagh
A new filmed appreciation by filmmaker and actor Keith Gordon (2017, 12:11)
Interview with Paul Schrader, 1982, Broadcast Version - 20:49 - Full Interview - 57:39: an interview with film expert Tony Rayns

BFI Masterclass with Schrader (plays to the film) - 1:46:44
Original theatrical trailer (2:36) (Trailers' From Hell commentary - 2:53)
Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by author and critic Brad Stevens, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film
UK premiere on Blu-ray
Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Koch Media (DE)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator  (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: After writing Taxi Driver for Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader made his directorial debut with this profane and profound drama about life on the factory floor of a Detroit car manufacturing plant. With explosive performances from the great Richard Pryor (Silver Streak, Stir Crazy), Harvey Keitel (Mean Streets, The Duellists) and Yaphet Kotto (Midnight Run, Report to the Commissioner), Blue Collar presents one of the most authentic portraits of working-class life in all American cinema, and is one of the finest films of the 1970s.

***

When Detroit autoworkers Zeke Brown (Richard Pryor), Jerry Bartowski (Harvey Keitel) and Smokey James (Yaphet Kotto) decide to rob their own union, they are initially disappointed by the relatively small haul. However, upon closer inspection, the three amateur thieves discover that they have made off with something potentially much more valuable than money: the union's ledger, filled with bogus figures and links to organized crime. Should they blackmail the union or go to the authorities.

 

 

The Film:

The performances of Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto match Pryor’s, a unique dynamic which helped each of the actors inject infallible honesty and sympathy, even at their worst moments, to their characters. Pryor, Keitel and Kotto play three friends, Zeke, Jerry and Smokey, toiling away on the line of a Detroit-area car manufacturing plant, each of them barely making a living. When they’re pushing up against the corrupt Union or suffering from the financial pressures of raising a family, or in Smokey’s case trying to make a living as an ex-con trying to go straight, the tension of their lives is thick.

Pryor articulates these frustrations, frustrations of all blue collar workers living in America at the time, emphatically in his dramatic speech during their Union hall meeting. It’s Pryor’s first speech, running about 2 minutes in length, a scene written to play off his notoriety as a stand up comic, but also to establish his credibility as a dramatic actor.

Excerpt from DailyFilmDoselocated HERE

Three guys, two African-American and one Polish, work on the production line in a Detroit automobile factory, and they are fed-up with the conditions. It dawns on them that their workers' union is doing them no greater good than their screwed-up bosses. So the trio pulls off a clumsy robbery at union HQ, in which they only gain access to some suspicious documents that point to union links with organized crime. Suddenly they're out of their league: violence, paranoia, rivalry, and recrimination erupt around them.

Excerpt TCM located HERE

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

Blue Collar is on Blu-ray from Koch in Germany and Indicator out of the UK. The image quality is very similar - both high bitrates and I can see no discernable difference although may give the Indicator a small edge in-motion. Both are relatively clean with plenty of texture. I would guess the 1.85:1 image is accurate in terms of replicating the original theatrical presentation. This Blu-ray has a highly competent HD video transfer from both companies.

 

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

 

1) Koch Media (DE)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator  (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Koch Media (DE)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator  (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Koch Media (DE)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Indicator  (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio leans to the Indicator with a 24-bit transfer (liner PCM) to Koch's 16-bit DTS-HD Master. This seems a flatter representation with more depth for the UK presentation. The film's music is notable for the score by Jack Nitzsche (The Indian Runner, Hardcore, The Crossing Guard, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Personal Best, 9 1/2 Weeks) and some will recognize Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Wills, Howlin' Wolf, Ike & Tina Turner and others. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Indicator, optional English and German on the Koch (plus they add a German DUB option) and my Oppo has identified both as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Indicator dramatically advance in the supplements. The Koch has a Gallery, and US trailer. The UK disc has both plus a lot more. We get an audio commentary with writer/director Paul Schrader and Maitland McDonagh (author of Filmmaking on the Fringe: The Good, the Bad and the Deviant Directors). Plus running with the film is an audio BFI Masterclass with Schrader. It runs almost the full length of the film; 1:46:44 - and is described as "Filmmaker Paul Schrader presents a summary of his screenwriting class, recorded at the National Film Theatre, London in September 1982. The following audio presentation exhibits a range of technical problems which are to be expected from a recording of its age and type. Abrupt dropouts in the source recordings have been left intact. Its importance as a unique archival document makes its inclusion here essential. We hope you agree." There is a new filmed appreciation by filmmaker and actor Keith Gordon running a dozen minutes and a 1982 interview with Paul Schrader, including both the 21-minute broadcast version and it includes the option of the full interview - running shy of an hour - with film expert Tony Rayns. With the original theatrical trailer is the option for a trailers' From Hell commentary. This limited edition package (3,00 units) includes an exclusive booklet with a new essay by author and critic Brad Stevens, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film.

 

Koch Media (DE)  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Indicator  (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Blue Collar is a serious dram and unique in Richard Pryor's career - not being a comedy. This was Schrader's directorial debut and it's brilliant. A working class expose that focuses on race and interaction in the audio industry but seems to avoid overt political preaching. The Indicator Blu-ray is the superior package with a slight advancement in video, better audio, many extras including a book. Great title and we very strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

January 26th, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

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 3500 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

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
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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