Anderson Tapes (The) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (8th February 2017).
The Film

***This is an A/V and Extras review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE***

Someone is listening...

Someone is watching...

As the crime of the century unreels!

When Duke Anderson (Connery) is released from prison after serving ten years for taking the rap for a Mafia family, he cashes in a debt of honour and gets the funds he needs to bankroll an ambitious robbery. Planning to ransack a exclusive East Side New York Apartment building, he rounds up a gang of top-flight thieves, and proceeds to carry out his caper unaware that he is being taped.

Video

The Anderson Tapes was last released in the UK on an almost barebones DVD from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment way back in 2003. This Blu-ray from Powerhouse is the first time it has been available in the UK in a HD format, and although there is room for improvement, it's certainly a decent upgrade on that old DVD.

Receiving a 1080p transfer using an AVC MPEG-4 encode, The Anderson Tapes is released in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. After being spoiled with recent 4K remasters, it is clear from the start that this transfer does unfortunately come from a dated master from Sony's vaults (supervised by James Owsley), but don't let that put you off. The feature has quite a muted palette, and this transfer encapsulates that really well with muted colours throughout (though certainly not dull). The occasional splashes of colour in some external scenes fare well, and skin tones are natural. I do feel that blacks could have been better at times, but crush is minimal and shadow details rarely an issue. Other details are slightly above average for a film of this age on the format, occasionally lacking a little sharpness in some of the smaller details in items such as decor and clothing. Facial close-ups look great, especially in lighter shots. A consistent layer of film grain is present throughout and there is no digital noise reduction to speak of. There is the occasional speck here and there, but overall this is a clean print with no obtrusive signs of damage and no compression issues. This presentation may not be reference quality, but it is a dependable and pleasant experience - and by far the best I have ever seen it look.

The feature is uncut and runs 98:52.

Audio

Powerhouse Films have provided a single audio option for this release, but as they are all about presenting the film as originally intended, it is of course an original single channel mono track (LPCM). This track is solid throughout, and despite the limitations of a mono track, there is still depth where required. I will admit to finding the score by Quincy Jones to be rather lacklustre and perhaps uneven in tone with the computer surveillance noises mixed into the jazz a bad idea, but it plays here without issue and volume levels are consistent. Dialogue is clear at all times, and never overpowered by the score or by effects. There are no problems with any sort of damage to the audio. I noticed no drop outs, scratches, pops, or background hiss.

Optional subtitles are available in English for the hard-of-hearing.

Extras

We start off the extras with a brand new commissioned audio commentary with film critic Glenn Kenny, recorded in early 2017 in New York City. Kenny is a very informative solo commentator, mixing up information about the film with lots of tidbits about various cast and crew members (particularly about Christopher Walken). I sometimes find critic commentaries to lack a personal touch, but Kenny's time as editor of Premiere magazine has allowed him to interview many people involved here at various times throughout his career. This inevitably gives him some fascinating insights when it comes to talking about the actors involved here. There are occasional dead spots, but these are few and far between. I'd happily listen to another Kenny commentary in the future.

The release also has a Super 8 Version (16:06) of the film. Presented in 1.33:1, and with English Dolby Digital 1.0 audio, this is a nice addition to have. The quality of the colours is quite washed out, but overall it is in reasonable nick. I know some of our readers enjoyed the super 8 version of The New Centurions, and will no doubt get a kick out of this too.

The on-disc extras finish with an image gallery (56 pages) an a theatrical trailer (3:02).

The first 3000 copies also come with a DVD copy and a 24-page booklet with a new essay by Thirza Wakefield, an archive review, Sidney Lumet on The Anderson Tapes, and a new look at the source novel. Having read the booklet (review booklet was in .pdf format), fans of the film will not want to miss out.

Overall

The Anderson Tapes is an enjoyable film and was one of the first to concentrate on hidden audio and surveillance before it became a relevant theme a few years later thanks to the Watergate scandal. The A/V is of a solid and consistent quality throughout though a new master could prove fruitful. Unlike the only other Blu-ray at time of writing (a double feature from Mill Creek in America), Powerhouse also provide a nice selection of interesting extra features. Fans of the film should certainly pick up this release.

The Film: B- Video: B- Audio: B Extras: B Overall: B-

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.