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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Karel Reisz
USA 1974

 

James Toback made his screenwriting debut with this taut drama, loosely adapted from the story by Dostoevsky. Axel Freed (James Caan) is an intelligent and well-respected professor of literature at a noted New York university, who uses great writing as a springboard for examining moral and philosophical issues in his class. But when he’s not in front of the chalkboard, Axel has a serious problem — he’s hopelessly addicted to gambling.

***

James Caan portrays a compulsive gambler who can't quit or win. He falls into debt to the mob for $40,000 but seems to relish the thrill of gamb ling against the long shot. As a professor of literature at a New York U niversity, he is in over his head, until his mother gives him some money which he quickly tries to increase in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the odd s never allow him to win or fully recover, so his future is in the mob's hands. Caan and girlfriend Lauren Hutton are a sexy duo, and Caan aptly plays the risk-taker as a man with no future..

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 2nd, 1974

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Comparison:

Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

  

   

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:48         1:50:58.026 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,914,041,024 bytes

Feature: 32,814,053,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 channel),

DUB: French  (Dolby Digital 2.0 channel)

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

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

Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date:
May 14th, 2002
Keep Case 
Chapters: 13

Release Information:
Studio:
Imprint

 

1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,914,041,024 bytes

Feature: 32,814,053,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio commentary from cinema author & critic Matthew Asprey Gear (2021)
NEW “After the Game” Video essay by Chris O’Neill (2021) (14:07)
NEW “On The Morning After: Composing The Gambler” – A new interview about Jerry Fielding’s legendary score with author/film music historian Jon Burlingame. (10:21)
In On The Cut – Interview with assistant editor Sue Kingsley (19:44)
1991 archival audio interview with Karel Reisz about his life & career from the British Entertainment History Project (2:02:47)
Theatrical trailer (3:35)


Blu-ray Release Date:
May 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside cardboard sleeve (see below)

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Imprint Blu-ray (June 2021): Imprint have transferred Karel Reisz's brilliant Neo-Noir The Gambler to Blu-ray. It appears to be from the same source as the DVD with the same marks (see below.) It is finally in 1080P and has 6 X the bitrate. Flesh tones warm and lose their orange-ness, detail rises and grain support is substantially more consistent. Like the 2002 DVD, it is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This was a substantial increase from the 19-year old, single-layered, DVD.

NOTE: We have added 72 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Imprint use a linear PCM 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is another advancement in the film's audio and especially the unique score credited to Jerry Fielding (Farewell My Lovely, Straw Dogs, Scorpio, The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Killer Elite, The Mechanic, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Getaway) but the significant and impacting music is The Gambler is by Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D performed by Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest and conducted by Bernard Haitink sounding absolutely wonderful in supporting the film with a contemplative mood as we envision what Axel is thinking. Also is Donizetti's Una furtiva lagrima from the opera' L'elisir d'amore'. This music is a large part of the film experience adding essential moods to the deeply layered film. I was reminded of Tangerine Dream at times. It sounds great in the uncompressed transfer - another huge advancement over the old DVD. Imprint offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Imprint Blu-ray has a new commentary by Matthew Asprey Gear (author of Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and the Rise of Neo-Noir.) He informs us how Robert De Niro was a potential for the lead - but it was decided he wasn't a good fit and subsequently not even offered an audition. He discuses the films as a Neo-Noir, talks about the Free Cinema and New Hollywood movements, plenty on Karel Reisz, James Toback and many of the supporting players. He states that the Professor Axel Freed's dialogue while teaching in class is telegraphing the film's themes, info on Dostoevsky and he briefly discusses similarities with Toback's film Fingers starring Harvey Keitel. He talks about much more and it is well worth the indulgence. There is a new excellent 1/4 hour video essay by Chris O’Neill entitled “After the Game” exploring Axel's dark character. Also new is "On The Morning After: Composing The Gambler” - a new 10-minute interview about Jerry Fielding’s legendary score with author/film music historian Jon Burlingame. "On The Cut" is a 20-minute interview with assistant editor Sue Kingsley and we also get a 2-hour 1991 archival audio interview with Karel Reisz about his life & career from the British Entertainment History Project. Lastly is a theatrical trailer and the Imprint package has a limited edition slipcase (se below.)  

The Gambler has been a favorite film for decades - and I have seen it multiple times. Karel Reisz (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Isadora etc.) has crafted a pure example of the flourishing new expression of Hollywood cinema of the 70s. It's one of James Cann's best roles. It sports and exceptional supporting cast of Paul Sorvino, Lauren Hutton, Burt Young, Vic Tayback, M. Emmet Walsh, James Woods, Stuart Margolin etc. The Gambler leaves its audience so much to digest. I am extremely pleased that someone put it out on Blu-ray and the Imprint package shines with the erudite commentary, and multitude of other supplements. They keep adding essential films, previously unreleased on Blu-ray, to their growing 1080P catalogue. This gets our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

Package - Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray


Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray


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

 

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Duplicate damage mark on Lauren Hutton's chin

 

 


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Box Cover

 

  

   

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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