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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Norman Jewison
USA 1975

 

Rollerball (1975) posits a dystopian future (2018!) in which war has been replaced by the titular game, a gladiatorial spectacle of violence that helps keep the global populace entertained and anesthetized. Director Norman Jewison and writer William Harrison further give us an athletic champion, Jonathan E (the great James Caan), whose individual expertise defeats the worldwide corporate leadership’s design: to emphasize the futility of individual effort. Corporate bigwigs (icily incarnated by John Houseman) need Jonathan to retire, but Jonathan begins to have his own dangerous ideas.

***

In a corporate-controlled future, the world's nations have been disbanded and conflict is a thing of the past. But blood continues to be shed on the tracks of Rollerball a brutal contact sport which pits players in a battle of life and death. James Caan (The Godfather, Thief, Misery) plays Jonathan E., celebrated captain of the Houston Rollerball team whose prowess on the track has earned him renown across the globe. But this fame has also attracted the ire of the games corporate sponsors, who wish to suppress any displays of individual achievement fearing this could encourage the populace to revolt. With the powers-that-be pushing for his retirement, Jonathan is faced with a choice concede to the Corporation s will or take a stand, by continuing to compete in the increasingly deadly games. Shot in Munich to make use of the city s futuristic Olympic architecture, Rollerball is a classic slice of dystopian filmmaking, mixing high-octane action sequences with gripping (and thoroughly prescient) social commentary. The future is now the future is Rollerball!

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 25th, 1975

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Comparison:

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

  

Also available in a 5-disc 4K UHD version (that includes the 2002 version on BD):

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 2:05:03.537         2:05:03.954  2:05:41.617
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,619,573,953 bytes

Feature: 41,618,208,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,651,860,546 bytes

Feature: 42,370,409,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.75:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD
Disc Size:
77,789,729,209 bytes

Feature: 70,844,714,496 bytes
Video Bitrate: 59.20 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

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

Bitrate Twilight Time Blu-ray:

Bitrate Arrow Blu-ray:

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 3465 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3465 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1064 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1064 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:
DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -3dB
DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1712 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1712 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3469 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3469 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Isolated Score:
LPCM Audio 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

DUBs:

LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2330 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2330 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2316 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2316 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English (SDH), None English (SDH), None German, English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Twilight Time

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,619,573,953 bytes

Feature: 41,618,208,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary with director Norman Jewison
• Audio Commentary with writer William Harrison
• Isolated Score
• From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle (7:54)
• Return to the Arena: The Making of Rollerball (25:05)
• TV Spots (1:32)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:58)
• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

D
Blu-ray Release Date: May, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray Case 
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,651,860,546 bytes

Feature: 42,370,409,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary with director Norman Jewison
• Audio Commentary with writer William Harrison
• Blood Sports with James Caan A brand-new interview with the Rollerball star (10:59)
• The Fourth City: Shooting Rollerball in Munich Unit manager Dieter Meyer and others revisit the Audi Dome and other original locations (18:54)
• The Bike Work: Craig R. Baxley on the Motorcycle Stunts in Rollerball Stunt artist Baxley on the challenges and dangers of being one of the Rollerball bikers (17:33)
• Return to the Arena: The Making of Rollerball (25:05)
• From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle original EPK bringing together interviews and on-set footage (7:56)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:56)
• Theatrical Teaser (:58)
• 3 TV Spots (1:33)
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper
• Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film, illustrated with original archive stills and posters


Blu-ray Release Date:
March 24th, 2015
Transparent Blu-ray Case Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio:
Capelight

 

1.75:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD
Disc Size:
77,789,729,209 bytes

Feature: 70,844,714,496 bytes
Video Bitrate: 59.20 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:


4K Ultra HD and included Blu-ray:
•
Making-of: "From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle" (1975) (7:52)
• 13 original trailers & TV spots [partly new restored]
• Audio commentary by director Norman Jewison
• Audio commentary by writer William Harrison

 

Bonus Material Blu-ray:

• "From Rollerball to Rome" - Reverberation of a Sci-Fi Classic (1:25:18)
• Two vintage 8mm reels: "Game On" and "Game Over" (35:49/ 17:55 / 17:55)
• "From Sweden to Stardom" - In conversation with Maud Adams (16:02)
• "Blood Sports" - In conversation with James Caan (10:59)
• Making-of: "Return to the Arena"(25:05)
• Featurette: "The Fourth City" - One Journey back to the Munich original locations of the film (18:55)
• Featurette: "The Bike Work" - Stuntman Craig R. Baxley on the motorcycle stunts (17:33)
Restoration (33:17)


4K Ultra HD Release Date:
December 15th, 2020
Mediabook 4K Ultra HD Case

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Capelight 4K UHD (April 2021): Capelight (out of Germany) have transferred Norman Jewison's Rollerball to 4K UHD. The initial appearance by comparison, to the previous Blu-rays, shows the colors to have gained significant depth by the 4K UHD transfer with aggressive HDR 10. I can't speak to the authenticity of the colors but the image looks just amazing on my system - it felt like I was watching the first run of the film back in 1975. It was extremely vibrant. There is also wonderful heavy grain, it's brighter and frankly, makes the 1080P looks much duller / faded by comparison. Skin tones warm and detail rises notably (skin grain in close-ups.) The Houston Rollerball team's orange uniforms really embolden in this 3840 X 2160 rendering - ditto for the green towels and John Beck's blue eyes. It is in the, opened-up, 1.75:1 aspect ratio and shows more information - notably on the top and bottom of the frame. Black levels become deeper as well. During my screening I never considered the colors to be inordinately vibrant - this only looks pronounced in the comparisons captures. I think most will appreciate this 4K UHD appearance. 

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 98 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: Chernobyl  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Daughters of Darkness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vigilante (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Tremors (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Cinema Paradiso (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Bourne Legacy (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsining (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

On their 4K UHD, Capelight give linear PCM dual-mono options for the original English and German DUBs (24-bit), as well as the choice of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 bump in English. The LPCM are still notable in the aggressive action effects; motorcycles and crowd noises - but even more so in the extensive use of classic pieces in the film, such as Adagio for Strings and Organ in G minor, memorable Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (performed on organ by Simon Preston) as well as some Andrι Previn, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky. It sounds wonderfully rich and deep (especially the organ) carrying some intensity into the matches and peacefulness in the sterile moments away from the violence. I thought I noticed the English dialogue sync to be off slightly, but I didn't find it distracting. Capelight offer optional German or English subtitles on their Region FREE 4K UHD disc.

The Capelight Blu-ray has the same two commentaries by director Norman Jewison and, the second, by writer William Harrison. They are still very relevant by those curious about the production and evolution of the film, Rollerball. These are included on both the 4K UHD disc and the second disc Blu-ray. Supplementary on both are also the 1975 Making-of featurette "From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle" running shy of 8-minutes, and 13 original trailers & TV spots (stated as partly restored.)

There is a third disc in the package, another Blu-ray. It has all of the older extras including Blood Sports with James Caan - an interview with the Rollerball star, The Fourth City: Shooting Rollerball in Munich where Unit manager Dieter Meyer and others revisit the Audi Dome and other original locations, The Bike Work: Craig R. Baxley on the Motorcycle Stunts in Rollerball - stunt artist Baxley on the challenges and dangers of being one of the Rollerball bikers and Return to the Arena: The Making of Rollerball.

The big addition is the 85 minute documentary, From Rollerball to Rome. It was directed in 2020 by Naomi Holwill and produced for this "ultimate edition" 4K UHD of "Rollerball" from Capelight Pictures. It charts the influence of "Rollerball" on contemporary sci-fi cinema, including "Mad Max", "The Warriors" and "Escape from New York", as well as the Italian variant that struck the big time with motion picture successes such as "The Bronx Warriors" franchise, "The New Barbarians" and the wonderfully trashy "Endgame". It has input from Maud Adams, Sergio Martino, Kim Newman, Giuseppe Pinori, John Richardson, Michael Sopkiw, Calum Waddell and others. It's a wonderful new and exclusive addition. There are also two vintage 8mm reels: "Game On" and "Game Over" (18-minutes each) and "From Sweden to Stardom" - a 1/4 hour conversation with Maud Adams. The Mediabook has a 24-page booklet with an essay (In German) and photos.

Norman Jewison's Rollerball can appeal to a varied viewer-ship of both science-fiction aficionados and machismo sports enthusiasts who can both appreciate the director's versatility and excellent storytelling ability. We see a Dystopian world through excellent art direction with an icy pristine atmosphere of corporate fascism, subjugation of women and in Jewison's words "the sickness and insanity of contact sports and their allure." The theme of 'bread and circuses' was never so aptly conveyed in a futuristic film, imo. I loved this 4K UHD package and it was fabulous to revisit the film looking so amazingly bright, detailed, colorful and with healthy grain. New adopters and fans of Rollerball are strongly encouraged to nab this one.

Gary Tooze

 


Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Bonus Blu-ray - Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY  and 4K UHD CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD  BOTTOM

 


1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD  BOTTOM

 


1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD  BOTTOM

 


1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD  BOTTOM

 

 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

  

Also available in a 5-disc 4K UHD version (that includes the 2002 version on BD):

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Capelight - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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