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post #1 of 5 Old 11-26-2015, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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In Cold Blood (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review



Check out Lee Weber's review of The Criterion Collections In Cold Blood. Based on Truman Capote's book, In Cold Blood is the story of a botched robbery that results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.





The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

87



Details:

Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1967
MPAA Rating: 134 minutes
Genre: Crime, Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart
Directed by: Richard Brooks
Music by: Quincy Jones
Written by: Screenplay: Richard Brooks, Book: Truman Capote
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 17th, 2015




"I despise people who can't control themselves."





My Take:

From Criterion's packaging: "Truman Capote’s best seller, a breakthrough narrative account of real-life crime and punishment, became an equally chilling film in the hands of writer-director Richard Brooks. Cast for their unsettling resemblances to the killers they play, Robert Blake and Scott Wilson give authentic, unshowy performances as Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, who in 1959 murdered a family of four in Kansas during a botched robbery. Brooks brings a detached, documentary-like starkness to this uncompromising view of an American tragedy and its aftermath; at the same time, stylistically In Cold Blood is a filmmaking master class, with clinically precise editing, chiaroscuro black-and-white cinematography by the great Conrad Hall, and a menacing jazz score by Quincy Jones."

In Cold Blood was reviewed by Ralph back in 2010 (link to review). I am in agreement with his thoughts as this was also my first time seeing the film. His take is below:

"In Cold Blood is a film based on the 1966 novel by Truman Capote that details the brutal 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a wealthy farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, and his wife and two of their children. The film, written for the screen and directed by Richard Brooks is portrayed in a visual expose that examines the psyche, especially the deeply troubled Perry Smith, of the two killers. This is a dark film both visually and thematically that follows Hickock and Smith both pre/post murders using a staggered narrative style that carefully derives an image (accurate or not) of two men whose lives converge at a single point that seemingly began from two very different beginnings. Brooks takes us to a point just prior to the killers entering the house and abruptly switches to the following day with the discovery of the victims bodies. The story moves on the subsequent investigation, the lawmen who head it, and continue to follow Smith and Hickock as the traverse the country writing a series of bad checks in an attempt to raise the money necessary to go to Mexico. It is during this time that the story portrays these two men in a congenial light that could even derive empathy. Perry has delusions about his relationship with his father, as a child he witnessed unspeakable acts by his alcoholic mother and suffers from bouts where hallucinations, brought on by negative childhood memories, distort reality. Dick, once a promising student/athlete has lost his wife and children, after being caught an illicit fling, and is coping with guilt over his terminally ill father.

While our guard is never completely let down the script subliminally lulls into a softened viewpoint of Smith and Hickock, especially since to that point we never actually see what happened to the Clutters. With the further development of the story, the police close in and Smith and Hickock are apprehended. It is then that we are taken back to that night and the events as they transpired as told by Perry Smith. The chilling aspects of the murders and the wanton nature of their origination and its despicable elements are conveyed with visceral gravity. Smith and Hickock are tried, convicted and hanged for the deaths of the Clutters. The finale proves bittersweet as the realization that six people, four innocent and two guilty are dead and that three broken families are left in their wake. In cold blood was nominated for four Academy Awards and is dark, disturbing and purely visceral in its portrayal of the complex psychological relationship between Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith, two men who together commit a heinous crime, an act that individually they were probably not capable of. This is a well enacted and aptly directed film with superlative production value. By today's standards the murder scene would be considered far from graphic however Conrad Hall's captivating cinematography combined with the haunting portrayal of Perry Smith by Robert Blake and Quincy Jones' eclectic music score prove quite evocative. This is my first time seeing In cold blood but it definitely won't be my last. Wow."


Parental Guide:

Rated R for violence & language


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA



Video: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:




In Cold Blood comes to Blu-ray Disc from Criterion featuring 2.35:1 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23.2 Mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

This is from the release liner notes:

"This new digital transfer was created in 4K resolution on a Oxberry film scanner from the original camera negative at Cineric in New York. The Restoration was performed by Prasad Group in Chennai, India.

The 5.1 surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original LCR magnetic track master at Chase Audio by Deluxe in Burbank, California. Additional restoration was performed by the Criterion Collection using Pro Tools HD and iZotope RX 4"


Criterion's transfer sourced from a new 4k scan is a perfect example of how great black and white can look. Black levels are super inky and stable here with no crush and plenty of shadow details. The image has its share of grain which keeps an authentic look to the films home on digital medium. Fine details are abundant making this dark film a gritty and enjoyable watch. The 5.1 audio track was better than I anticipated having strong dynamics, a wide front sound-stage and more low end then I would have suspected. Surrounds were not that focal in the mix, nor were they in 1967 so I don't fault it here as there was enough activity and ambiance to where it was tasteful and not overly added. I was really impressed by Criterion's transfer and assume fans will enjoy what seems to be a decent upgrade, especially in the audio department, over the 2010 Sony Blu-ray release.


Bonus Features:
  • (HD) New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about director of photography Conrad Hall’s work in the film
  • (HD) New interview with film critic and jazz historian Gary Giddins about Quincy Jones’s music for the film
  • (HD) New interview with writer Douglass K. Daniel on director Richard Brooks
  • (HD) Interview with Brooks from a 1988 episode of the French television series Cinéma cinemas
  • (HD) With Love from Truman, a short 1966 documentary featuring novelist Truman Capote, directed by Albert and David Maysles
  • (HD) Two archival NBC interviews with Capote: one following the author on a 1966 visit to Holcomb, Kansas, and the other conducted by Barbara Walters in 1967
  • (HD) Trailer
  • Booklet - Featuring an essay by critic Chris Fujiwara



Final Thoughts:

Criterion's 2015 release of In Cold Blood seems to be a worth while upgrade considering it's improved audio, newly restored video and nice collection of supplemental features. For first time viewers this is the way to go, but be prepared for a film that is relentless, gritty and depressing...yet captivating and eerily intriguing.










Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Falcon Screens Horizon 138" 2.35:1 Acoustically Transparent Screen
Da-Lite Pro Imager Projector Screen Masking System
Yamaha CX-A5100 AV Processor
Parasound Halo A51 & A21 7x250
Sony BDP-S790 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triad Gold Monitors
Triad Silver Surrounds x4
Triad Bronze Subwoofers x4
Panamorph DC1 Anamorphic Lens
AudioQuest Wires

Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 3D 1080p Plasma
Anthem MRX-310-AV Receiver
Sony BDP-S790 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
MKSound MP-7 LCR's
MKSound SUR-55T Surrounds
Triad Bronze Subwoofer

Last edited by Ralph Potts; 11-26-2015 at 03:56 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-26-2015, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for the Review Lee. Glad you're back in the reviews.

Don't know if it would be a good chaser B/W after the traditional Thanksgiving Day "It's a Wonderful Life". He Haw!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber
Final Thoughts:

Criterion's 2015 release of In Cold Blood seems to be a worth while upgrade considering it's improved audio, newly restored video and nice collection of supplemental features. For first time viewers this is the way to go, but be prepared for a film that is relentless, gritty and depressing...yet captivating and eerily intriguing.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-27-2015, 09:48 AM
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Lee, thanks for the heads up on this one. I remember seeing it years ago and it is certainly one of those movies (for movie addicts) that has a well...rather lingering effect on the audience.

On a side note - I never quite can figure out how Criterion elects which movies they will do their "magic" with and this still remains a question mark for me. One thing I can say for sure, I have not been disappointed with the care they put into remastering films (video in particular and often films remain with a quality mono audio track that is cleaned up and some with added stereo etc.).
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-28-2015, 05:32 PM
 
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Great review Lee; I just saw watched it last night. And your final thoughts are dead on (last sentence).


* In Canada Thanksgivings was last month. So here it was only Black Friday, perfect for a Black & White flick with a very dark story. ...Not for your family gathering @ Thanksgiving night.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-29-2015, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
Great review Lee; I just saw watched it last night. And your final thoughts are dead on (last sentence).

Thanks man!
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