The Whistle Blower (Umbrella) (1986)

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Released 6-Feb-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio-Michael Caine
Trailer-Year Of The Gun, Without A Clue, The Professionals
Trailer-Farewell To The King
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 99:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Simon Langton

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Michael Caine
James Fox
Nigel Havers
John Gielgud
Felicity Dean
Barry Foster
Gordon Jackson
Kenneth Colley
David Langton
Dinah Stabb
James Simmons
Katherine Reeve
Bill Wallis
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music John Scott

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This 1980s espionage thriller has previously been released in Region 4 by a different distributor in a vastly inferior previous release. A direct comparison of the two releases reveals the following differences:


Original Release

New Version

Aspect Ratio

Pan & Scan

1.78:1 16x9 enhanced (close to OAR of 1.66:1)

Video Quality

Very Ordinary

Good quality for the age

Audio Quality




A few Bits & Pieces


    Despite the extras going missing (which were crap anyway), the new version is a significant improvement and is definitely recommended over the previous one. If you are a fan of this film, it is certainly worth an upgrade.

    There is an excellent plot summary in the previous review linked above.

    My opinion on this film is that it is an effective and intriguing espionage/conspiracy movie with an excellent cast, featuring Michael Caine, John Gielgud, James Fox, Gordon Jackson and Nigel Havers. It relies upon characterization and plot rather than action, so don't go into it expecting big stunts and you will come away feeling quite well entertained.

    Well worth a look if you enjoy films from this era and genre.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 as reported by IMDB.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout although some long shots seemed a bit soft. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was reasonable. There was a little light grain in some scenes.

    The colour was pretty vibrant however there was some chroma noise, a little cross colourization and some areas where backgrounds showed colour variation such as parts of the beige wall at 51:36 showing as slightly pink.

    Artefacts are significantly improved over the previous version with most of the problems mentioned in the previous review being cleaned up. There are still some occasional white and black specks and some mild aliasing such as at 14:35 on blinds, 29:48 on a car grille and 39:05 on a jacket, but that is all.

    There are no subtitles which is the same as the previous version.

    The layer change occurs at 63:06 between scenes, but caused a slight pause.

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


    The audio quality is good but mastered at a very low volume.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand once I turned the volume up quite significantly and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by John Scott is quite good without being exceptional.

    The surround speakers added some mild atmosphere when played using Dolby ProLogic II.

    The subwoofer was not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    None of any note.


    The menu included music and the ability to select scenes.

Umbrella Trailers

    Trailers are included for 4 other Umbrella releases.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 and 2 current releases of this movie are very similar to this one except that the region 1 release does include subtitles. If you need subtitles Region 1 is your only option..


    An intriguing and entertaining espionage thriller that relies on plot and acting rather than action.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has only non-related trailers as extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R1 subtitles - penguin (there is no bio) REPLY POSTED