Paradise Alley (1978)
|Year Of Production||1978|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Sylvester Stallone|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sylvester Stallone was given a pretty long leash after the runaway success of Rocky, provided studios could put his mug on the poster of whatever he churned out. The result of this creative freedom, and the failure that would push him to Rocky II, was Paradise Alley - a bittersweet period piece set on the streets of Hell's Kitchen immediately after the second world war that tells the tale of three brothers, an ice delivery man (Lee Canalito), a mortician (Armand Assante) and a scallywag (Stallone), who struggle to escape the slum through professional wrestling, written, directed, starring Sylvester Stallone. Even the theme tune is sung by young Sly. As preposterous as the whole thing sounds, only really one thing seems to let the movie down - Sly's inexperience.
Stallone's inexperiece limits pretty much every aspect of the film. The underlying story isn't too bad, but makes awkward leaps all over the place. It lingers on plenty of inconsequential moments and barely touches on significant aspects to the story. The direction is similarly haphazard and the acting is wildly uneven (frequently a sign of an inexperienced director being unable to command his actors). The good actors put in excellent performances (particularly a young Armand Assante, who gets an "introducing" credit here) and the rest are pretty awful (most notably wrestling legend Terry Funk, who could have been replaced with a jittering mannequin without anyone noticing). Much of the cast is padded out by ex-sportsmen, boxers Lee Canalito and James J. Casino, NFL star Frank McRae, with the curious addition of Tom Waits in a small role.
It seems as though Sylvester Stallone wanted to make Paradise Alley into a moody noir character drama, but fell back to the sports formula he had honed with Rocky as soon as he ran short of ideas. Paradise Alley is certainly not an out-and-out train wreck, but was definitely an early stumble for Stallone. Fans of Stallone's dramatic work, rather than his flat-out action stuff, will probably enjoy the movie. There's not much to recommend to a general audience, however - stick with the Rocky series if you want to check out early Stallone.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video looks great for its age. Save for a very mild number of film artefacts, there is nothing to complain about.
The image is neither soft nor particularly sharp. This provides a fairly natural look to the video. There is a good level of shadow detail. Very mild film grain is visible in the image, which gives the video a warm, theatrical appearance.
The colours are slightly more pale than would appear natural, though it suits the period look of the film.
There are no compression-related artefacts visible in the video. A mild level of film artefacts, mostly small white dust flecks, are visible throughout the film but never present in a distracting volume.
Grey English subtitles for the hearing impaired are present for the feature. The subtitles appear to be reasonably accurate to the spoken word and well timed, based on the portion I sampled.
This is not a RSDL disc.
A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio track is present for the film, though it sounds mono (which would be true to the original source).
The audio track sounds decent for its age. The dialogue is reasonably clear and generally easy to understand. There are a number of points at which ADR is obvious, but there are otherwise no problems with audio-visual sync.
The film features a melancholy score from Bill Conti that heaps the saxophone over a bluesy piano. This is a score that both fits the film well and sounds great in its own right. Best to forget the corny Stallone sung theme though!
There is no surround or subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
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The Region 1 and Region 4 editions are identical in terms of content, save for PAL/NTSC formatting.
A all but forgotten misstep in Sylvester Stallone's early career, post-Rocky. Not so much a bad movie as a middling vanity project, that reeks of inexperience.
The video transfer is excellent. The audio is very basic, but sounds clean and clear. There are no extras.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|