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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Billy Wilder
U.S. 1960

In 1960, following on from the success of their collaboration on Some Like it Hot, director Billy Wilder (Ace in the Hole, Sunset Boulevard) reteamed with actor Jack Lemmon (The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross) for what many consider the pinnacle of their respective careers: The Apartment.

C.C. Bud Baxter (Lemmon) is a lowly Manhattan office drone with a lucrative sideline in renting out his apartment to adulterous company bosses and their mistresses. When Bud enters into a similar arrangement the firm s personnel director, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray, Double Indemnity), his career prospects begin to look up... and up. But when he discovers that Sheldrake s mistress is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine, Irma la Douce), the girl of his dreams, he finds himself forced to choose between his career and the woman he loves...

***

Diamond-sharp satire with a brilliant performance from Lemmon as the insurance clerk who forges ahead in the rat race by lending his apartment out to philandering senior executives, only to outsmart himself when the girl of his dreams is brought there by his boss. Full of sly bits of business (MacLaine admitting to three affairs but betrayed by fingers unconsciously announcing four), and with its jaundiced vision leavened by a tender sympathy for the frailty of human motives. Even the cop-out ending (boy forgives girl and all's well) is rather moving, given the delicate skill with which Lemmon and MacLaine commute between comedy and pathos.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: June 15th, 1960

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Comparison:

MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1- NTSC vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region 2 - PAL vs. MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

MGM (Collector's Edition)

Region 1  - NTSC

MGM

Region 1  - NTSC

MGM 
Region 2 - PAL

MGM (Collector's Edition)

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:05:04 2:05:00 1:59:56 (4% PAL speedup) 2:05:12.463 2:04:59.720
Video 2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.65 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate:5.13 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.86
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,017,128,158 bytes

Feature: 36,033,761,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,080,805,128 bytes

Feature: 36,806,520,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

MGM Collector's Edition

 

Bitrate:

MGM Original NTSC release

 

Bitrate:

MGM Region 2

Bitrate:

MGM Blu-ray

Bitrate:

MGM Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Mono) DUBS: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUBS: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUBS: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) , German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2633 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2633 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB

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

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2224 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2224 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB

Subtitles English, Spanish, and none Spanish, French and none English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and none English, French, Spanish, and none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by film historian Bruce Block

Featurette: 'Inside The Apartment' (29:35)
Featurette: 'Magic Time: the Art of Jack Lemmon' (12:47)

 

DVD Release Date:

February 5th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: MGM/UA Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.32:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer - 4:3 - 2:16

DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: MGM Home Ent. (Europe) Ltd.

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.33:1

Edition Details:
• Original Theatrical Trailer

 

DVD Release Date: 26 November, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,017,128,158 bytes

Feature: 36,033,761,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by film historian Bruce Block

Featurette: 'Inside The Apartment' (29:35)
Featurette: 'Magic Time: the Art of Jack Lemmon' (12:47)

 

Blu-ray Release Date:

January 24th, 2004
Standard Blu-ray
Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow Academy

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,080,805,128 bytes

Feature: 36,806,520,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
Audio commentary with film producer and historian Bruce Block
• New appreciation of the film and select scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp (10:13 + 8:37)
• The Flawed Couple, a new video essay by filmmaker David Cairns on the collaborations between Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon (20:24)
• Billy Wilder ABC, an overview by David Cairns on the life and career of the filmmaker, covering his films, collaborators and more
• New interview with actress Hope Holiday (13:24)
• WGF's Oral History program (23:17)
• Restoration (2:20)
• Inside the Apartment, a half-hour making-of featurette from 2007 including interviews with Shirley MacLaine, executive producer Walter Mirisch, and others (29:36)
• Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon, an archive profile of the actor from 2007 (12:47)
Original screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond (BD-ROM content)
• Theatrical trailer (2:19)
• Special collector s packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
• Collector's 150-page hardcover book featuring new writing by Neil Sinyard, Kat Ellinger, Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche, generously illustrated with rare stills and behind-the-scenes imagery)

LIMITED TO 3,000 UNITS

 

Blu-ray Release Date:

December 18th - 26th, 2017
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 24

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray (January 18'): This is a Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative. The Apartment has been exclusively restored by Arrow Films. The original camera negative was scanned at 4K resolution at Deluxe's EFILM Facility in Burbank. The film was graded and restored at R3Store Studios, London, Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches and damaged frames (see samples below) were repaired using a combination of digital restoration tools and techniques. Instances of picture instability and density fluctuation were also improved. Films tears were present at several points, caused by severe wear on the original splices. Each of thee individual tears had to be carefully repaired. Chemical staining from the original photochemical process had left faint marks on the image at numerous points throughout the film. These marks had to be manually removed frame-by-frame. Dirt, debris and damaged frames were restored using a combination of automated and manual digital processes.

 

So, it's far better - detail especially with the excessive darkness of the original MGM Blu-ray marring that image. Also far better, smoother, in-motion - no contrast fluctuations, damage, marks repaired... fabulous.

 

Audio improves as it includes the original mono via a 24-bit linear PCM as well as the option of the surround bump. The score by Adolph Deutsch (Ramrod, The Maltese Falcon, High Sierra, Across the Pacific) sounds, flat, but effective in the uncompressed mono. It's always important to have the original - and the choice for those who prefer the surround. Arrow include the option of English (SDH) subtitle and their, region FREE, Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 copies.

 

Arrow include the older commentary by film historian Bruce Block as well as the 1/2 hour 'Inside The Apartment' featurette and 'Magic Time: the Art of Jack Lemmon' piece. But they add much more, notably a new 10-minute appreciation of the film with an 8.5-minute select scene commentary, both by film historian Philip Kemp. The Flawed Couple, is a new 20-minute video essay by filmmaker David Cairns on the collaborations between Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon. There is a 13-minute new interview with actress Hope Holiday and the Writer's Guild Federation's Oral History program, a video on the restoration and a trailer. The BD-ROM has the original screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond in a PDF format plus the set itself has a special collector's packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin and a collector's 150-page hardcover book featuring new writing by Neil Sinyard, Kat Ellinger, Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche, generously illustrated with rare stills and behind-the-scenes imagery.

 

If you are keen, I wouldn't wait - this is the definitive release for Wilder's The Apartment  

 

***

ADDITION: MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray (January 12'): This is an upgrade. As detail is a factor of contrast - this immensely improves the visuals via the 1080P transfer. Blacks levels remain at the overly-heightened state as seen on the 2008 Special Edition DVD. It borders on, but doesn't achieve, moiring and can look waxy but there is some pleasing depth to the image quality. Predictably, there is more information in the frame than the DVDs. There is a shade of gloss - but overall this is pleasing in-motion with minor contrast fluctuation. It still has some visible tears and damage. Imperfect, but a solid notch above the DVDs.

 

The audio comes via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2633 kbps but no original mono option. The lossless sounds crisp including the original music by Adolph Deutsch. There aren't an abundance of effects to reach the rear speakers - just some party noises etc.

 

Supplements duplicate the last DVD edition with the commentary and two featurettes (both still in 480i). There are optional subtitles on the region FREE MGM Blu-ray disc.

 

Classic Wilder - supremely enjoyable performances - holding up substantially well over time - The Apartment is over 50-years old now. Absolutely recommend to those who can appreciate this classic in an HD presentation.

***

ADDITION: Collector's Edition - January 08': Funny the things you don't initially notice - both 2001 releases now look vertically compressed to me - especially the shot of Lemmon on the couch. Anyway, the new Collector's Edition has far superior contrast (the old looked somewhat muddy) and with the black levels increased it has brought up the sharpness to a small degree. Grayscale is vastly improved - as is the bitrate. There is definite movement in the frame with the new having shifted somewhat to the left. Bottom line is the Collector's Edition image is significantly improved - I am quite surprised.

Audio offers a useless 5.1 upgrade but the mono is still included and it sounded fine to me. Unlike the old NTSC this new includes optional English subtitles.

What else? Well you get even more for your $14 - a new commentary from historian Bruce Block - he discusses a lot about Wilder and his demands for detail including a brief reading of the script and its meticulous mention of the actions of Lemmon's character. The commentary is full of good information and although not at Criterion level of proficiency - it is still well worth listening to.  Also we have two featurettes - 'Inside The Apartment' has input from Chris Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Walter Mirisch, Drew Casper and others. It has much to share in its 30 minutes. Finally we have 'Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon' - a 12 minute spotlight on the actors craft and skills with input from colleagues.

I am almost shocked that MGM have done such a good job. This is a fabulous film and it never looked better the digital medium. Tack onto that the supplements and you have the best film-to-DVD value of the year at less than $15. Strongly recommended!

ON THE ORIGINAL NTSC VS. THE PAL: The Region 1 MGM DVD is much sharper than the Region 2 PAL. The Region 2 offers more choices for sound and subtitle options and perhaps this is why the bitrate is so much higher but the image quality lower. I don't know.  Both discs are anamorphic and the Region 1 is very slightly cropped along the right vertical edge. Unless you require the Foreign language dubs or sub-titles buy the Region 1. The Region 2 PAL is hazy by comparison.

NOTE: The 1st screen capture is NOT from the exact corresponding frame, but I believe the rest are.

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus

(MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC)

 



(
MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. MGM - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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NOTE: Damage on MGM

 

 

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1) MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

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1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Arrow Blu-ray

Sound:

Arrow Blu-ray

Extras: Arrow Blu-ray

 

 Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

MGM (Collector's Edition)

Region 1  - NTSC

MGM

Region 1  - NTSC

MGM 
Region 2 - PAL

MGM (Collector's Edition)

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

 

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