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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Informer [Blu-ray]

 

(Arthur Robison, 1929)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: British International Pictures (BIP)

Video: BFI

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:39:41.000

Disc Size: 46,763,785,690 bytes

Feature Size: 26,905,558,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 24th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1915 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1915 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Intertitles:

Original English

 

Extras:

The sound version of The Informer (1929, 1:24:08 - 1080P, 15.5 Gig / 21 Mbps)
Restoration Demonstration (2016, 4:52)
Shaping the Silence (2017, 9:41)
A selection of Topical Budget films from newly independent Ireland:
I Want Peace (1921 - 0:43)
Is It The Dawn? (1921 - 0:53)
Historic Unionist Conference At Liverpool (1921 - 0:31)
Irish Peace Imperilled By Extremists (1921 - 1:26)
Further Pictures Of The Irish Peace (1921 - 1:00)
Surrender of Dublin Castle (1922 - 1:22)
British Evacuate Ireland after Hundreds of Years of Occupation (1922 - 1:12)
Dublin's Civil War (1922 - 0:58)
Illustrated booklet with full film credits and essays by Bryony Dixon, Garth Knox and Michael Brookes

DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Based on Liam O'Flaherty's popular novel this gripping thriller is set amongst a group of revolutionaries in the newly independent Ireland of 1922. When one of their number, Francis, kills the chief of police he goes on the run. But when he returns to say goodbye to his mother and former lover he is cruelly betrayed by his one-time friend, Gypo.

Newly restored by the BFI National Archive, with a new score from acclaimed violist/composer Garth Knox and premiered at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival, The Informer is one of the finest British films of the 1920s and deserves a place alongside other silent greats such as Blackmail, A Cottage on Dartmoor and Piccadilly. This Dual Format Edition includes the silent version alongside the rare sound version which was produced at the same time.

 

1) Informer (Silent) - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Informer (Sound) - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

The Film:

“The BFI National Archive is delighted to have restored another major British feature film from the silent period and to be premiering it at the BFI London Film Festival. The quality of the restoration is extraordinary, despite some huge challenges that we had to overcome. The noirish cinematography looks spectacular once again, especially the lustrous quality of the inky, velvety shadows achieved by the restoration team.”

Excerpt from Robin Baker, Head Curator, BFI National Archive located HERE

The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is proud to announce this year’s Archive Gala – the World Premiere of a new BFI National Archive restoration of Arthur Robison’s The Informer (1929). This rare silent adaptation of Liam O’Flaherty’s famous novel is set among Dublin revolutionaries in the early days of the newly independent Irish Free State, formed in 1922. The Archive Gala will take place at BFI Southbank on Friday 14 October, 6.30pm in NFT1 and features a specially commissioned live score by Irish composer Garth Knox with a six piece ensemble.

The new restoration by the BFI will offer a chance to see this powerful and important film in its silent form with newly reinstated atmospheric, lavender tinting. BFI National Archive curator, Bryony Dixon has described it as “one of the finest films produced in a British studio in the 1920s” – 100 Silent Films (2011).

Excerpt from BFI.org located HERE

 

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

The Informer has had an impressive restoration and gets a new transfer to Blu-ray from BFI. It's dual-layered with a high bitrate and includes the sound version with a lower bitrate but also in 1080P (1929, 1:24:08 - 1080P, 15.5 Gig / 21 Mbps). The silent version gets a lavender tinting which imbues a smokey atmosphere and you get used to it very quickly.  It looks very strong in-motion with a few, acceptable, imperfections. The sound version actually looks great - and perhaps a bit sharper with some decent contrast layering. It was a great idea to include it in 1080P. This Blu-ray image can't be faulted as there was some extensive work in the restoration. You can't look any better than the source and I think this lavender tine gives The Informer a rich, very appealing, presentation with some depth visible in the latter half.

 

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

 

 

 

1) Informer (Silent) - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Informer (Sound) - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio, with a new score by violinist composer Garth Knox, comes in the option of a robust linear PCM 2.0 channel (24-bit) or a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (24-bit.) I watched with the former and nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well sounding beautifully tight and clean adding even further to the atmosphere. There are original English intertitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

As well as the addition of the sound version of The Informer we also get a 5-minute restoration demonstration from 2016, and a 10-minute featurette, Shaping the Silence about creating the score. There are also eight 'Topical Budget' films from newly independent Ireland, all running around 1-minute or less plus the package comes with an illustrated booklet with full film credits and essays by Bryony Dixon, Garth Knox and Michael Brookes. The dual-format package includes a DVD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I really enjoyed The Informer. The restoration was like stepping back in time watching the film at its initial showing. It's a fabulous thriller and I appreciated the ability to also watch the sound version and partake of the extras.  The BFI Blu-ray provides the ability to see this film - one of the best out of Britain from the 1920s. 

Gary Tooze

April 7h, 2017


 

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.

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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