Pulp (1972)

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Released 18-Jan-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Scene Selection Animation
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 91:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Hodges
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Michael Caine
Mickey Rooney
Lionel Stander
Lizabeth Scott
Nadia Cassini
Dennis Price
Al Lettieri
Leopoldo Trieste
Amerigo Tot
Robert Sacchi
Giulio Donnini
Joe Zammit Cordina
Luciano Pigozzi
Case ?
RPI ? Music George Martin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Dutch
Danish
Greek
Italian Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    I am sure that if this film were released today, it would get advertising something along the lines of 'From the Writer/Director and star that brought you the hard hitting gangster drama of Get Carter comes...Pulp'. Following up on the success of Get Carter, Mike Hodges (Director/Writer) and Michael Caine got together again a year later in 1972 to make this film. Unfortunately, this film is nowhere near as good as that one, which is a classic English gangster film.

    Pulp is a strange film, a weird mixture of violent thriller and campy comedy which does not gel. Michael Caine plays a completely different character to the one he plays in Get Carter. This time he is a foppish English writer who has run away to live in the Mediterranean, escaping from his wife, children and responsibilities. He is the author of many pulp fiction crime novels, hence the title. He is quietly publishing books through a local publisher and offending the typing pool ladies with his vivid descriptions of murders and sex. His name is Chester Thomas King, but everyone calls him Mickey. His books, however, are published under many different names. Anyway, he is approached by Ben Dinnuccio (Lionel Stander), who seems to be from the mafia, with a request that he ghost write the life story of 'the boss' (Mickey Rooney), whom we don't meet until sometime later in the film. He is not really given a choice and to maintain secrecy they send him on a bus trip with a group of tourists, telling him that he will be contacted along the way. Also on the bus trip are Jack Miller (Al Lettieri, shortly after making The Godfather), an American professor, and Liz (Nadia Cassini), an attractive young woman. All is not as simple as it seems and soon Mickey is involved in a situation he would probably have preferred to avoid.

    There are things to like about this film, but not too many, and generally I found it tedious. The funny bits were not particularly funny and the violent bits didn't fit with the funny bits. I can see where this could have been a quite reasonable scenario for a thriller but the way this film has been made doesn't work for me at all. I did like the opening where the loud noise of a typing pool was interspersed with the voice of Michael Caine dictating lurid passages describing murder and sex. The facial expressions on the girls in the typing pool range from offended to excited. The role and acting of Mickey Rooney were completely overdone and made the film difficult to like. His character was just not believable. The film was made on location in Malta.

    So, despite the pedigree of the Director/Writer and star, this is not a film I can particularly recommend.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but nothing spectacular.

    The feature is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was ordinary. The sharpness was affected by some very light grain throughout which was worse in some scenes.

    The colour was generally reasonable, but a bit dull as films of this vintage tend to be.

    There were quite a few artefacts, including regular aliasing such as on the stairs at 3:34, shutters at 3:50, 70:17, 84:41 & 90:54, a grille at 81:33 and a scarf at 61:11.There were also reel change markers every 18 minutes or so. Specks and flecks were only occasional although some lines showed up at 64:05. There were also some black spots which did not move from about 57:45 for a minute or so.

    There are subtitles in 7 languages including English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read although somewhat different to the spoken word.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good but mono.

    This DVD contains four audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s, and the same in German, Italian & Spanish.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, although the subtitles occasionally came in handy.

    The score of this film is by George Martin who, of course, is more famous as the Beatles long-time producer. This music is of a high standard and adds extra whimsicality to the film.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu includes stills, and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles. There is no writing on the menu, only symbols, which may be slightly confusing.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 2 release of this film is exactly the same and the film does not seem to have been released in Region 1.

Summary

    A weird and unsatisfying follow-up to Get Carter from Mike Hodges and Michael Caine.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good but mono.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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