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Moscow on the Hudson [Blu-ray]
(Paul Mazursky, 1984)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Video: Twilight Time / Indicator (UK)
Region: FREE / 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:57:14.610 / 1:57:14.527
Disc Size: 39,161,506,641 bytes / 39,508,225,487 bytes
Feature Size: 39,110,676,480 bytes / 38,333,488,704 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps / 35.46 Mbps
Chapters: 24 / 12
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case(same)
Release date: November, 2016 / May 25th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3439 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3439 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2075 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2075 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1810 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1810
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1978 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1978 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -9dB
• English (SDH), None
•Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
• Audio Commentary with Director Paul Mazursky
• Isolated Score Track
• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Limited to 3,000 Copies!
• Audio commentary with
director Paul Mazursky (2001)
Description: Writer-director Paul Mazursky’s brilliant comic take on a very contemporary subject – immigration – Moscow on the Hudson (1984) focuses on Vladimir Ivanoff (Robin Williams, in a performance that combines the funny, the poignant, and the purely intelligent to fantastic effect), a Russian musician who defects while on a group tour through Bloomingdale’s. His travails – and those of the many fellow immigrants and new Americans he meets along the way – ultimately constitute a heartfelt tribute to America’s endangered open door policy. Also featuring wonderful turns from Maria Conchita Alonso, Cleavant Derricks, Alejandro Rey, Elya Baskin, and Savely Kramarov.
They're a tip-off to an interesting casting decision by Mazursky, who populates his movie almost entirely with ethnic and racial minorities. In addition to the black and the Italian, there's a Korean taxi driver, a Cuban lawyer, a Chinese anchorwoman, all of them reminders that all of us, except for American Indians, came from somewhere else. Ivanoff moves in with the security guard's family, which greatly resembles the one he left behind in Moscow, right down to the pious grandfather. He gets a job selling hot dogs from a pushcart, he works his way up to driving a limousine, and he falls in love with the salesclerk from Italy. That doesn't go so well. She dreams of marrying a "real American," and Ivanoff, even after he trims his beard, will not quite do.Excerpt from RogerEbert located HERE
When Russian saxophone player Vladimir (Williams) visits NY, his experiences back home lead him to defect, leaving family, friends and a familiar culture for the pursuit of pleasure and freedom. But after the initial delirium, he finds that the Big Apple is rife with poverty, racism, unemployment, and mugging. Mazursky's comedy may not exactly be politically profound, with its suggestion that freedom and happiness are relative concepts. But where it scores so highly is not only in its ability to evoke Vladimir's astonishment at the bizarre, sometimes brutal texture of New York life, but also in the generosity it extends to the musician's sad predicament. Even the absurdity and chaos of his department store defection (treated by the surrounding Americans as yet another media spectacle) becomes in Mazursky's hands a heroic moment of private, victorious self-assertion. Romantic humanism may not be fashionable in these cynical cinematic times, but few directors reveal the tragicomic lives of ordinary people with such sensitivity and humour.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Moscow on the Hudson comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with their usual high bitrate. The visuals are quite strong with some decent layering in the contrast and colors look deep and rich. It looks quite consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles. Grain textures are consistent and support the film-like appearance very well. This Blu-ray gives an excellent HD presentation in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I was impressed with the high resolution video transfer.
The Indicator is cited as a "4K restoration", and while the twilight Time may have been the same without advertising such, the Indicator increases the bitrate producing a slightly warmer, richer image presentation. It seems to support the grain marginally better too. Superior - by a tick.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Twilight Time give the option of either avery robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 3439 kbps (24-bit) or a more modest 2.0 channel stereo (also in lossless.) The surround has a few deft separations but the film doesn't export too many head-turning effects. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
Same two feature audio options from Indicator - although the stereo track is on linear PCM. My ears couldn't detect much difference. The score is credited to David McHugh with numbers performed by Chaka Khan as well as songs by Waylon Jennings like People Up In Texas, The Gap Band's Party Train and a bit of jazz/blues - all sounding solid in the lossless. Indicator also give the option of English (SDH) subtitles but their Blu-ray disc is Region 'B'-locked.
Twilight Time add two audio commentaries - a new one with film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman and a second, older one, with director Paul Mazursky. They both have value especially if you are keen on the film, Robin Williams and the production. There is also the usual Isolated Score Track and an original theatrical trailer. The package has some liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.
Indicator include the same revealing audio commentary with director Paul Mazursky from 2001 - also found on the Twilight Time. They add a 95-minute archival Guardian Interview with Mazursky and Robin Williams conducted by critic Derek Malcolm at the National Film Theatre, London on September 10th, 1984. It has the filmmaker in conversation at London's National Film Theatre and runs to the film. There is an image gallery of on-set and promotional photography, plus two theatrical trailers. The package has a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Monica Castillo, a contemporary account of the making of the film, Paul Mazursky's research visit to Moscow, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits. The Indicator is also limited to 3,000 copies.
Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
The film grows on you, as does William's performance, although I still wouldn't place myself in the 'fan' category. Indicator have produced another complete Blu-ray package with plenty of value for Region 'B'ers who enjoy this brand of politically charged comedy... with some romance thrown in. The Guardian interview should appeal to some and the limited edition booklet. Enjoy!
November 28th, 2016
May 14th, 2020
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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