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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Silkwood [Blu-ray]


(Mike Nichols, 1983)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: ABC Motion Pictures

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 2:11:05.858

Disc Size: 31,937,362,816 bytes

Feature Size: 27,574,824,960 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.95 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 25th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (SDH), None



• Interview with Producer Michael Hausman (16:03)
Trailers (2:18 + 2:06) & 6 TV Spots





Description: The controversial true story that inflamed a nation! Meryl Streep (Still of the Night) stars in this stunning, provocative and daring drama about one woman s struggle against a huge corporation. Karen Silkwood (Streep) lives a free-spirited existence with two friends, Drew Stephens (Kurt Russell, Death Proof) and Dolly Pelliker (Cher, Moonstruck), who work with her at an Oklahoma nuclear facility. It's only when she discovers she's been exposed to radiation that Karen's conscience awakens, and soon she is digging for evidence of wrongdoing at her company. But her sudden zeal for safer working conditions may come at a high price as she alienates friends and possibly even puts her own life in peril. Excellent direction by Mike Nichols (The Graduate) with a screenplay by Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle) and Alice Arlen (Alamo Bay) and a stellar supporting cast that includes Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist), Diana Scarwid (Mommie Dearest), Fred Ward (Tremors), Ron Silver (Blue Steel), Charles Hallahan (The Thing), Josef Sommer (Witness), David Strathairn (Limbo), M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple), Tess Harper (Tender Mercies) and Will Patton (No Way Out). Nominated for 5 Academy Awards: Actress (Streep), Supporting Actress (Cher), Director (Nichols), Original Screenplay (Ephron, Arlen) and Editing (Sam O Steen).



The Film:

The taut Mike Nichols drama Silkwood (1983) was based on the real life case of a plutonium processing plant metallurgy worker, Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), who discovered corporate powers were covering up radiation leaks at Oklahoma's Kerr-McGee plant. Karen's whistle blower efforts as a union activist to reveal Kerr- McGee's possible radiation poisoning of its employees ended tragically. Karen had been a union activist with the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers' Union who was a vocal advocate for plant safety. Reportedly on her way to meet with New York Times reporter David Burnham, Karen died in a suspicious one-car accident in November 1974. Some believed the accident was actually an intentional murder for Karen's outspoken critique of Kerr-McGee plant safety. Others blamed Karen's abuse of alcohol and drugs, found in small quantities in her blood.

Excerpt fromTCM located HERE

The entire cast is exceptional, especially Sudie Bond, as one of Karen's older co-workers; Craig T. Nelson, as a man who may be doctoring negatives for the company's protection; Josef Sommer and Ron Silver, as union executives; Bruce McGill, who must represent virtually the entire Kerr-McGee management team, and Graham Jarvis, as one of the specialists who alerts the union members to the dangers they face.

As the screenplay catches the Texas-Oklahoma speech rhythms, and as these rhythms are re-created by the members of the cast, the work of Miroslav Ondricek, the cameraman, is equally successful. It captures the essence of the contradictions that exist in the petrochemical- nuclear landscapes of Oklahoma and Texas, where huge, sophisticated industrial facilities are set upon vast plains, otherwise occupied only by isolated farms, small towns and the sorts of roadhouses that haven't changed since the repeal of Prohibition.

Excerpt from theNYTimes located HERE



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

The dual-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Silkwood has the early 80's stock softness we have seen so often. The visuals are consistent and thick in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This seems how the film looked theatrically, not ant weakness in the transfer, digitization or source. Colors have a richness and there are moments exporting depth but generally the visuals are, authentically, flat and heavy. Certainly not 'demo' but true. It looks fine in-motion. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable viewing in regards to the picture quality.





















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1555 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film - prominently the warning alarm has intensity. Georges Delerue (Mister Johnson, Jules et Jim, The Woman Next Door, The Last Metro, Day For Night) did the score and it benefits from the uncompressed rendering creating both a folksy and ominous atmosphere depending on the scene. And, of course, Streep sings Amazing Grace. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Kino include a 16-minute interview with producer Michael Hausman who sheds some light on the production side of Silkwood. Plus there are two trailers (domestic and foreign) and 6, 30-second, TV Spots.



It had been decades since I had seen Silkwood. I was impressed by the performances - notably Russell, who I've always thought has fantastic screen presence. I think the strength in Silkwood lies in the characterizations and interest in the plant dangers and workings. Nichols does a great job establishing the small town feel with an underlying current of mystery. It's still an entertaining, film.  The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray does its job with the 1080P. A commentary would have been an appreciated addition updating findings of Karen Silkwood's life. Certainly recommended - to both those who have not seen it and those who wish to revisit.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 33% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

July 27th, 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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