Presumed Innocent

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1990 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 121:44 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Alan J. Pakula

Warner Home Video
Starring Harrison Ford 
Brian Dennehy 
Raul Julia 
Bonnie Bedalia 
Paul Winfield
Greta Scacchi
RRP $34.95 Music John Williams

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Deputy Prosecutor Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford) has a secret: an affair with colleague Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi) - and she has now been murdered. His boss, Prosecuting Attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) assigns Rusty to handle the case, unaware of the secret liaison with the deceased (nor initially divulging his own - did anyone in that office not partake of this woman?). Complicating the situation is the upcoming vote for the office of Prosecuting Attorney in which Raymond is a participant. This is a case that requires rapid resolution - but it is not going to be so simple (otherwise how long would the film last?). Fast forward a few weeks and Raymond has lost the election and the first order of business for the new regime is to charge Rusty with the murder, based upon some fairly circumstantial evidence - especially after the one crucial piece of physical evidence mysteriously disappears. Naturally Rusty hires a gun lawyer in Sandy Stern (Raul Julia) to defend him, and lo and behold he gets off on a technicality - incompetence. But did he really do it? Did he commit the murder and get away with it?

    Can't spoil that for you can I?

    To be honest, this is not a great film and seems as if the story could do with bit of fleshing out to give it some meat. Harrison Ford looks like he was going through the motions and hardly seemed interested (mind you, with the haircut they gave him, I don't blame him!). Brian Dennehy did his usual competent job as the almost bad guy, whilst as almost seems usual Greta Scacchi gets it all off. Raul Julia was adequate as the hot shot lawyer, and the rest were fairly forgettable. Alan J. Pakula seems to have a reputation for this sort of film, but whilst it is a bit of a twist ending, this hardly keeps you guessing all the way through.

Transfer Quality


    I would have to say that problematic is the key word on the video transfer, which is not a great advert for DVD. That however may not necessarily be a fault of the mastering but rather an inherent film fault.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, this is not 16x9 enhanced and to some extent it shows.

    This is quite a soft transfer, lacking any distinctive definition at all. This may be a problem with the original film and not a mastering fault. Shadow detail was quite poor which definitely did not help the film at all.

    This is a dark transfer and that is compounded by the lack of bright colours. There is no vibrancy to the picture at all, and it really is very dark and drab. Since I have never seen the film before, I am guessing that this is the way it was intended but it does not translate to DVD at all well.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts, but film-to-video artefacts were very prevalent throughout the film. Whilst there was nothing major, there always seemed to be something shimmering slightly all the way through the film and after a while it got to be a little annoying: however, I was looking for these things so they may not be quite so noticeable in normal viewing. To some extent the fact that the artefacts were so noticeable is probably due to the dark transfer - every time the brightness came up a little, a sharp edge somewhere in the picture seemed to shimmer. Film artefacts were also very prevalent during the film, and at times were a little distracting.


    Warners obviously did not go to too much trouble with this disc as we only have a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack available, and not an especially remarkable one either.

    There are three Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks on the DVD: the default English, French and Italian. I listened to the default English soundtrack, but also briefly sampled the two others.

    The dialogue was clear and reasonably easy to understand at all times, although some parts were very much prone to the "mumbling in the beard" syndrome. You may want to turn your normal volume up a little for this one.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem at all..

    The score was provided by arguably the best in the business at the moment - John Williams. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, this is not one of his more memorable efforts, although it did contribute nicely to the drama unfolding in the film.

    The fact that I could sit through two hours of film and not make a single note about the sound indicates how unremarkable the sound is. The surround channels hardly seemed to be used, with almost everything seeming to come out of the centre speaker. The rear channels did not seem to get too much use at all. This was not really a problem, as the film does not require an enveloping sound picture, since most of it involves one on one dialogue.

    Subwoofer? Do not recall it being used at all.


    Warners have gone down with that dreaded disease, Buena Vistitis. Symptoms? Inability to utilize the DVD to its full capability, general failure to recognize consumer demand for trailers, production notes, cast and crew biographies and so on. Nasty disease this one and apparently very contagious.


    It has got one if you are really interested.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     Well, I suppose that makes the decision fairly easy if you really want the most out of a DVD.


    Presumed Innocent is a so-so film presented on a very average DVD, with little to commend you to rush out and buy it.

    Overall video quality is very average, amongst the poorest yet from Warners - at least amongst the DVDs I have seen.

    Overall audio quality is similarly very unremarkable.

    If you can find an extra, please let Warners know.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Ian Morris
13th September 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL