Tin Men: Special Edition (1987)

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Released 30-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew Commentary
Deleted Scenes-The Unplaced Bet
Featurette-Little Castles
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 107:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (86:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Barry Levinson

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Richard Dreyfuss
Danny DeVito
Barbara Hershey
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Fine Young Cannibals

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Tin Men is a dark comedy about an out-and-out feud between two men and the consequences on their personal and professional lives, set in Baltimore in the 1960s.

    Bill 'BB' Babowsky (Richard Dreyfuss) is a successful aluminium siding salesman who decide to reward himself by buying a new Cadillac. Just as he reverses his brand new car out onto the street, he is hit by another Cadillac, driven by another aluminium siding salesman called Ernest Tilley (Danny DeVito). Their argument about who was at fault soon escalates into a gigantic feud where each of them tries their best to hurt the other.

    The stakes reach a new high when BB decides to seduce Ernest's wife Nora (Barbara Hershey), but things don't quite work out as he planned ...

    In the meantime, nothing seems to be going right for Ernest. Not only is his car (and ego) damaged, he loses his wife to BB, the government is threatening to confiscate his house if he doesn't pay his overdue taxes, the Home Improvement Commission inquiry is investigating his shonky sales practices, he loses his boss' money at the horse races, and he just can't seem to close enough deals to make his quota.

    Whilst a lot of the froth in the film is about the outrageous antics that the two men employ to exact their revenge on each other, there is a very serious undercurrent in the film. The actions of the two men in trying to hurt each other parallel the scams that they pull on their customers to try and close a sale. At the end of the day, they hurt not only themselves but innocent bystanders. Will they realise that before it's too late?

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Transfer Quality


    We are presented with a widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer, based on a 35mm film source, in the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    This is quite a pleasant transfer, with high levels of detail and acceptable, though not striking, colour saturation.

    The film source is fairly clean. Grain is present though minimal.

    Transfer artefacts include telecine wobble around the opening titles, and a tiny hint of edge enhancement. Compression artefacts are limited to minor occurrences of Gibbs effect.

    There are a number of subtitle tracks available, including both English and English for the Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Finnish. In addition, Spanish Audio Commentary, Norwegian Audio Commentary, Danish Audio Commentary, Swedish Audio Commentary, Finnish Audio Commentary, and Spanish Titling are also available. I turned on both English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle tracks. The latter seemed to be slightly more accurate than the former, and included transcriptions of non-verbal utterances as well as Foley effects. Both tracks translate lyrics to background songs and neither has dialogue attribution.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in Chapter 11 at 86:24. This is at a blank screen in between scenes, so hopefully the pause does not cause a distraction.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three audio tracks available: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    This is a very dialogue centric film, so the majority of the sound comes from the front centre speaker. I did not really detect any significant usage of surround channels, and the front soundstage is mainly used for the occasional Foley effect and stereo separation of background music. The subwoofer channel does not appear to be significantly utilized.

    Dialogue was clear throughout, and I did not notice any issues with audio synchronization.

    The background music is by Fine Young Cannibals, plus some period music. The group even feature in one or two cameo roles as the band performing at the night club.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The main menu is 16x9 enhanced, and includes animation and background audio.

Audio Commentary- Cast And Crew Commentary

    This audio commentary features contributions from the following cast and crew members:

    I'm not sure whether these people were all recorded together, but I doubt it, since there's very little overlap or interaction between the contributors (except for one instance where Barbara responds to someone else's comments). The commentary is useful, and is vaguely related to the scene but I suspect the comments have been edited to fit into the film rather than the contributors talking to each scene. Bruno Kirby introduces the commentary as well as each contributor.

    There is a lot of talk about the script, the casting, and some of the locations used. There are some comparisons with Barry Levinson's previous film Diner and also the camaraderie shared by the actors during the making of the film. There are also some specific comments on the costumes and the music score.

Deleted Scenes- The Unplaced Bet (6:07)

    Director Barry Levinson gives an introduction to a deleted scene over an excerpt from the scene as actually shown in the film (where the guys are betting at a horse race). The film excerpt is shown in 1.85:1 letterboxed. Then we get the actual deleted scene itself, taken from the director's VHS copy of a rough cut of the film, presented in full frame. The audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

Featurette- Little Castles (28:50)

    This is a documentary about the rise and fall of the use of "formstone" to treat the exteriors of buildings in Baltimore, which was a practice prevalent in the 1940s and 1950s. I'm not sure what this documentary has to do with the film, since formstone is not really featured in the film, and had pretty much gone out of style in the 1960s, which was when the film was set. Anyway, it's an interesting documentary to watch. The documentary must have been shot in Super 8, for the transfer is fairly soft and grainy. This documentary is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) although I suspect the audio is actually in mono.

Theatrical Trailer (2:30)

    This is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    R4 wins because of the remastered 5.1 audio track and the additional featurette.


    Tin Men is a dark comedy about an out-and-out feud between two men, both aluminium siding salesmen, after their cars collide into each other, set against a backdrop of a Home Improvement Commission inquiry into their shonky sales practices that may threaten their careers.

    The video transfer quality is good.

    The audio transfer quality is average.

    Extras include a commentary track, a trailer and a featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDLinn Unidisk 2.1, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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