Changeling (Blu-ray) (2008)

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Released 16-Jun-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Partners in Crime: Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie
Featurette-The Common Thread: Angelina Jolie Becomes Christine Collins
Subtitle Commentary-Archives
Storyboard Comparisons-Los Angeles: Then and Now
Audio Commentary-Picture-in-picture video commentary
Web Links-BD-Live
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 141:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Clint Eastwood
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Angelina Jolie
Gattlin Griffith
Michelle Gunn
Jan Devereaux
Erica Grant
Michael Kelly
Antonia Bennett
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $42.95 Music Clint Eastwood


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Italian dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Japanese dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Spanish dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Mandarin
Norwegian
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† In traditional western folklore a changeling is the offspring of a fairy, troll or elf that has been swapped for a human child. This traditional folklore stemmed from medieval times when such things were thought to happen when children had disorders or were disabled. The subtitle of Clint Eastwood's 2008 film, Changeling is 'A True Story', which is on this Blu-ray cover is significantly larger writing than Eastwood's directorial credit and Angelina Jolie's and John Malkovich's screen credits.

†††† The story is based on the Wineville Chicken Coop kidnapping and murder case of 1928. Gordon Stewart Northcott was hanged for the murder of four boys, among them Walter Collins. The evidence used to convict Northcott was based on his nephew Sanford Clark's testimony, who Northcott abused into helping him with his crimes. When investigators stumbles upon Northcott's chicken ranch, Northcott dug up and moved the bodies of his victims. His main accomplice in his paedophilia-motivated crimes was his mother, Sarah Louise Northcott. Loyal C. Kelley, the assistant District Attorney, believed strongly in Sanford Clark's innocence in these matters; he had Clark placed in a school for delinquent youths and he exhorted Clark to live out the rest of his life with good deeds, which Clark did, right up to his death in 1991.

†††† Changeling focuses on Christine Collins' story, the mother of Walter. She never gave up hope of finding Walter after a boy came forward in 1937 and stated to police that some boys, including Walter, had escaped from the chicken-coop. This version of events contradicted the most reliable witness in these matters, Sanford Clark, who never mentioned an escape attempt. Still, the film uses this story to impact the ending.

†††† We also never hear about Walter Collins Snr., who died in 1932 a convicted felon, guilty of eight armed robberies. Initially, police thought that Collins Snr.'s enemies were responsible for the abduction. After Walter had gone missing, Arthur J. Hutchins Jr. came forward and identified himself as Walter Collins. Initially, Christine was adamant that the boy was an impostor but she took him after police convinced her that Walter may have changed in five months. When she came forward later with evidence about his height, his circumcision, his dental records and the testimony of Walter's schoolteacher that he was an impostor, the police were adamant that Mrs Collins was delusional and since she was a single mother (due to Collins Snr.ís imprisonment) her motivation for her claims was based on her desire to forego her responsibility to raise the child. Rev. Dr. Gustav A. Briegleb, a Presbyterian minister and radio evangelist, took up Christine Collins' case when she was put into a mental institution. With his help she was freed and this led to the event of Collins being given rare access to a convicted felon on death-row, Northcott, who still would not divulge to her information on what happened to Walter. In the film, we are told that Captain J. J. Jones was demoted for his part in conspiring to conceal the truth of Walter's replacement. In reality, Jones was later promoted in the Los Angeles Police Department despite two lawsuits against him from Christine Collins, the second which order him to pay her $US10800 which Jones never did (this is equal to about $US135000 today). The last media reference to Christine Collins was her Superior Court application to collect $US15562 from Jones in 1941 ($US220000 in today's value terms).

†††† J. Michael Straczynski wrote the screenplay after a year of research from 6000 pages of documents on the case. Director Ron Howard optioned the story, but soon realised that he could not direct due to scheduling conflicts with Frost/Nixon and Angels & Demons. He instead served as an executive producer on the project, passing the reigns onto Clint Eastwood. This was Eastwood's first production for a studio other than Warner Bros. since Absolute Power in 1997. Shot in 43 days, two days ahead of schedule and within the film's $US55 million budget, Changeling has made almost $US113 million in gross revenue, mainly from foreign distributors. Lead actors Angelina Jolie (Christine Collins), John Malkovich (Rev. Dr. Gustav Briegleb) and Jeffrey Donovan (Captain J.J. Jones) play against type here, and their performances in the film have secured a strong critical reception for Changeling since it's release, more so in European markets. Changeling came within two votes of winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival in 2009.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† CIS Vancouver and Pac Title were responsible for the digital effects in the film to reproduce the late 1920s era of Los Angeles. Rotoscoping, the effect of drawing onto live-action scenes was favoured in preference to bluescreen digital effects, which is not as expensive. The reason for this was due to Clint Eastwood's request to film on schedule. Matte paintings for city landscapes were also added into the film for backgrounds.

†††† Changeling uses a 1080p/VC-1 codec in a 2:40:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced. The average bitrate is 22.57 m/b per sec. Because this is a period film, it was shot intentionally with a 'slightly soft' feel to evoke the look of late-1920s Los Angeles.

†††† Cinematographer Tom Stern used colours that were slightly desaturated and muted in keeping with the period-look of the film. There is a stronger emphasis on browns and reds in the video transfer.

†††† There are no film artefacts to list with this Blu-ray transfer.

†††† Subtitles are available in English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish in optional standard or Hard of Hearing subtitling.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
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Audio

†††† Clint Eastwood composed the score, influenced by jazz. The main soundtrack is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track encoded at 3440 kbps. There are also dub tracks in French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish in DTS 5.1, encoded at 768 kbps each.

†††† Dialogue is clear and synchronised, although it is a tad on the low side in terms of volume.

†††† Clint Eastwood's musical score is understated in this mainly dialogue-driven film.

†††† Surround channel usage supports an ambient background feel which is subtle and spare. The subwoofer is mainly reserved for the dramatic tension of the courtroom scenes at the end of the film.

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

Extras

Partners in Crime: Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie (13:33)

†††† Director Clint Eastwood, actress Angelina Jolie, screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski and producer Brian Grazer talk about creating the film. Accolades are paid to Eastwood's understated directing style (he tends to allow his actors to portray their roles as they see fit, for example Donovan's Captain Jones was given a slight Irish accent by the actor, not Eastwood) and the production design work in recreating the look of the film.

The Common Thread: Angelina Jolie Becomes Christine Collins (4:58)

†††† Again we look at the production design of the film, specifically focusing on Angelina Jolie's character, Christine Collins. Jolie also gives her opinions on the role. Reese Witherspoon and Hilary Swank both lobbied for the role. Eastwood cast Jolie because she portrayed the late-1920s period look the best, despite not looking like the real Christine Collins at all.

Archives subtitle track

†††† With Universal's U-Control you can choose to view this featurette and the two listed below interactively while watching the film. The first interactive feature is a pop-up track with archival images and documents of real individuals.

Los Angeles: Then and Now

†††† The second interactive feature available through U-Control shows a visual comparison of the two time periods of 1920s Los Angeles and the Los Angeles of today.

Picture-in-Picture video commentary

†††† The last interactive feature available through U-Control is a picture-in-picture video commentary which appears on 16 of the 20 scenes in the film. Various cast and crew discuss how they filmed using trams, how photographs from the era (such as the telecommunications exchange) were used to design sets and we are shown behind-the-scenes footage of how scenes were digitally enhanced. Although footage from the two brief featurettes is re-used here, there are some useful insights added by cast and crew in this interesting video commentary.

Web Links-BD-Live

†††† You can use BD-Live to share your favourite scenes online with friends (through the My Scenes feature) or access Universal trailers.

R4 vs R1

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

††††Changeling has been released in Region Free versions in the United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Australia and in Region B formats in Scandinavia and Spain. The extras on these releases are identical with variations in language and subtitle options only.

Summary

†††† Although not as successful as Gran Torino at the box-office, 2008 still proved to be a bumper year for Clint Eastwood. Changeling is a dramatic film that has been wonderfully shot and well-acted and is deserving of its accolades.

†††† Although extras are not extensive for this Blu-ray release, the Picture-in-Picture video commentary is interesting and well worth checking out after you've watched the movie the first time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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