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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Ambassador [Blu-ray]


(J. Lee Thompson, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Northbrook Films

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:35:52.955

Disc Size: 24,375,885,644 bytes

Feature Size: 23,322,255,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.73 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 3rd, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1876 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1876 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB






Commentary with editor Mark Goldblatt with Film Historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson
Trailer (4:47 - 1.85 Domestic + 1.85 International)





Description: An American ambassador, his wife, and her Arab lover are caught up in a dangerous game of intrigue, extortion, and murder, in this action-packed thriller set in the explosive Middle East. U.S. Ambassador Peter Hacker (Robert Mitchum, Out of the Past) has traveled to Israel on a vital mission to initiate peace talks between young Israelis and the P.L.O., but his burning idealism is largely unwelcomed in the region. He s stalked by assassins of unknown allegiance and blackmailers photograph his wife (Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist) in bed with her lover (Fabio Testi, What Have You Done to Solange?), who proves to be a Palestinian leader. Aided by a security officer (Rock Hudson, Magnificent Obsession) and by the Israel Defense Minister (Donald Pleasence, Wake in Fright), Hacker seeks to save his marriage, his career and the region before his many foes succeed in eliminating him. Filmed in Israel, The Ambassador is tautly directed by J. Lee Thompson (The White Buffalo) and features Rock Hudson in his final screen performance. Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard (52 Pick-Up).



The Film:

The American ambassador to Israel (Mitchum) is placed in a compromising position when his wife (Burstyn) is filmed in flagrante delicto with a PLO leader (Testi). Resisting attempts at blackmail, Mitchum instead uses his wife's lover's influence to set up a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli students. But the success of Mitchum's personal peace initiative is threatened by the fanatical terrorist faction SEIKA, who are determined to frustrate all attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Thompson handles the cumbersome mechanics of this Cannon-financed political pot-boiler ('suggested' by Elmore Leonard's novel 52 Pick-Up) with a singular lack of style, displacing the violence on to the mad terrorists and fudging all the major political issues. Rock Hudson plays Mitchum's sidekick in what was to be his last feature film.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Carried by incisive dialogue and a fast-paced script, rather than action and multiple events, this political drama by Fadil Hadzic focuses on a few crucial events in the life of an ambassador to a Western nation (Miodrag Radonovic). Caught up in his own political career, the ambassador is a stranger to his grown children, and when his wife dies, they are even more alienated from him, especially since he was partially to blame for her death. As the annual date of the mother's death approaches, the daughter in the family continues to be overwhelmed by depression and is pushed over the edge when her father brings a new female companion home. Her brother handles his own grief by devoting himself to women and sex. The family dynamics and the political context of the ambassador's job are the fodder for analysis and commentary when various people come into the picture as canny, sometimes neutral, sometimes amoral observers -- these are primarily a repairman and dinner guests. It is their dialogue that forms the substance of the film.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Ambassador looks decent and consistent in 1080P. The desert-scapes are impressive. It has that mid-80s, less effectual film stock, look - soft, heavy but, presumably, accurate. The source is clean, and I noticed no noise - not even in the few dark sequences. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable viewing in regards to the picture quality - better than I expected.




















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1876 kbps in the original English language (24-bit). There are aggressive effects in the film - explosions etc. . Dov Seltzer's score sounds reasonable ins supporting the film. The dialogue was fairly clear and audible although some Middle Eastern accents were heavy but there are optional English subtitles (not a menu option, though). My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Kino provide a good commentary with the film's editor Mark Goldblatt talking with Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson. It discusses plenty including Rock Hudson's appearance 8-months prior to his death at age 59 of AIDS, the cast, director J. Lee Thompson with Goldblatt providing details of the production. Enjoyable and educational There are also two trailers - a domestic and an international.



I wasn't very keen on The Ambassador - I love Robert Mitchum, Rock Hudson (his last film!) - they reportedly did not get along - Ellen Burstyn, and Donald Pleasence is great... but I felt it was pretty contrived exporting a ham-fisted political agenda. I appreciated the commentary details but I just wasn't into this.. perhaps if I revisit one day. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray is adept in 1080P - and the commentary is a valuable addition. Perhaps others will like it more than I did.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 37% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

September 27th, 2017



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