Overall | The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973) | Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) | The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) (1976)

French Screen Icons-Jean-Paul Belmondo-Volume 2 (1972)

French Screen Icons-Jean-Paul Belmondo-Volume 2 (1972)

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Released 21-Oct-2009

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Overall Package

     This three disc set from Madman includes Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972), The Inheritor (1973) and The Body My Enemy (1976). These are three lesser known Belmondo films, showcasing less of his physical stunt persona, and more his acting abilities. They are a good, strong set of films from Belmondo at the height of his popularity that have never before been available on DVD in Australia. The set is great value for fans of Belmondo or French cinema.

     Scoumoune is a remake of A Man Called Rocca (1961). This version plays better and is more bloody and violent than the earlier film. It also has considerable star power in Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale. The video is fine, the audio is acceptable, except for the absence of the original French language track.

     The Inheritor is an intriguing, stylish thriller with something to say about the nature of power, politics and society. It looks good, includes some nice action and features a Jean-Paul Belmondo Character with more depth than usual. The video and audio are acceptable.

     The Body of My Enemy is an intelligent mystery that eschews the stunts of many Belmondo films in favour of something more compelling. Belmondo acquits himself well and is supported by a strong cast of believable, if oddball characters. The flashback structure of the film is well handled by director Henri Verneuil and the film looks great. Intriguing and well worth a look. The video and audio are fine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, February 10, 2012
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973) | Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) | The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) (1976)

The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973)

The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973)

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Due Out for Sale 18-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 107:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Philippe Labro
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Carla Gravina
Jean Rochefort
Charles Denner
Jean Desailly
Jean Martin
Maurice Garrel
Pierre Grasset
Maureen Kerwin
François Chaumette
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Michel Colombier


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, an airline
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

     Bart Cordell (Jean-Paul Belmondo) inherits his family’s millions and interests in steel making plants, shipyards and the media when his father and mother are killed in a plane crash. Bart had been estranged from his father since he married Giovanella (Anna Orsa), the daughter of right wing Italian industrialist Luigi Galazzi (Fosco Giachetti), against his father’s wishes. As a result, Bart has since been living in America with his wife and young son Hugo. On the flight back to France to take up his inheritance, Bart makes love to high class call-girl Lauren (Maureen Kerwin). She has been paid to set up Bart with drugs that are discovered on arrival in Paris; however thanks to high connections he escapes arrest.

     Bart suspects that the air crash which killed his father was no accident and hires private investigator Brayen (Maurice Garrel) to investigate. In the meantime he starts to revamp and rearrange his father’s industrial empire, including the Globe magazine, and attempts to seduce Globe editor Liza Rocquencourt (Carla Gravina). With the help of his close friend and confidant David (Charles Denner), they track down Lauren; Bart pays her to obtain information about who set him up and they resume their affair. Soon Bart’s suspicion that his father was murdered is confirmed by a couple of attempts upon his own life. And as Bart digs deeper into the past he discovers that his father had been resisting a take-over bid from a non-French consortium, that there is evidence of collaboration with the Nazis in WW2 and the internment of Jews that people are prepared to kill to keep secret, and that the enemy is closer to home than he could imagine.

     The Inheritor (L’heritier) is a stylish thriller from director Philippe Labro that avoids pointless action and stunts although the set piece action sequences are well executed. Instead the film focuses upon a mystery while also saying something about politics, French society and the press. The key to the film is Jean-Paul Belmondo who was at the height of his popularity and whose Bart Cordell is a more complex character than is usual for Belmondo. Bart is established as a bit of a firebrand with a social conscience; as a young lieutenant in Algeria he was court marshalled for assaulting a superior officer who tortured Algerian prisoners. Bart also cares about the underpaid workers in his family’s factories. On the other hand, he is arrogant and utilises his own press, being followed around by a camera crew who film his sayings and movements for a TV documentary. As well, his treatment of women is appalling: despite his wife and child he thinks nothing of making love to Lauren on the plane, and taking up his relationship with her later as well as strongly pursuing Liza. Indeed, in one interesting scene he takes both Liza and Lauren to dinner at once, treating both off-handedly. However, some justice later prevails.

     The Inheritor is an intriguing, stylish thriller with something to say about the nature of power (power over women as well as the power of the press and industrial conglomerations), politics and society. It uses limited flashbacks, plus some interesting camera moves and scene juxtapositions to tell its story. The Inheritor looks good, includes some nice action and features a Jean-Paul Belmondo character with more depth than is usual.

     The Inheritor is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) and The Body of My Enemy (1976).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The Inheritor is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print looks pretty good. It is mostly a sharp print, with only a few scenes appearing softer, with good detail, nice blacks and good shadow detail. Colours are deep, rich but natural and there is normal film grain. There are occasional very minor artefacts, glare when the light source was beyond the actor (see 16:48) and occasional ghosting with movement (51:41, 60:12) but nothing much to worry about.

     English subtitles are available. They are in a yellow font and have the occasional spelling and grammatical error but nothing serious. They are easy to read, except in one section where the characters speak Italian and white burnt in French subtitles occur under the yellow English subtitles.

     The layer change at 65:30 resulted in a slight pause.

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

Audio

     The audio is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps that does an acceptable job.

     Dialogue is easy to understand and the effects, such as the explosions or gunshots, come across with some depth and are pretty good. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     The mainly electronic score is by Michel Colombier. At times it was effective but at other times it seemed strident and intrusive.

     Lip synchronisation varied. Mostly it was fine, but on a couple of occasions the audio seemed slightly out of synchronisation with the visuals.

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

Extras

     None

R4 vs R1

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

     There does not appear to be another English friendly release of The Inheritor in either Region1 US or Region 2 UK. The only other versions of the film I can find are a couple of Region 2 French releases. They have French language audio but no English subtitles. Our Region 4 is the one for English speakers.

     I cannot find an equivalent Belmondo collection listed on sales sites. The only thing close is a Region 2 UK collection that includes Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Le Professional, Stavisky and A Double Tour.

Summary

     The Inheritor is an intriguing, stylish thriller with something to say about the nature of power, politics and society. It looks good, includes some nice action and features a Jean-Paul Belmondo character with more depth than usual. Interesting and very enjoyable.

     The video and audio are acceptable. There are no extras but the film is presented in a box set with two other films, which is great value for fans of Belmondo or French cinema.

     The Inheritor is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) and The Body of My Enemy (1976).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, February 06, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973) | Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) | The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) (1976)

Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972)

Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972)

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Due Out for Sale 18-Nov-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 101:15
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By José Giovanni
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Claudia Cardinale
Michel Constantin
Enrique Lucero
Alain Mottet
Michel Peyrelon
Philippe Brizard
Marie-Claude Mestral
Aldo Bufi Landi
Luciano Catenacci
Lucie Arnold
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music François de Roubaix


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
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

     It is 1934 and hit man Roberto (Jean-Paul Belmondo) has a problem. His friend Xavier (Michel Constantin) has been framed for murder by his partner Villanova (Aldo Bufi Landi) and is awaiting trial. Roberto intervenes, shoots Villanova dead and takes over the gambling clubs and brothels previously run by Villanova, using the money to help to pay for Xavier’s defence. Roberto also installs Xavier’s beautiful sister Georgia (Claudia Cardinale) as brothel madam, and they renew a past acquaintance. Despite being innocent (at least of that crime) Xavier is found guilty and sentenced to 20 years hard labour. When a rival gang threatens Georgia’s brothel, Roberto shoots a number of them dead in a gun battle. His plea of self-defence rejected, he also gets 20 years hard labour and ends up in the same prison as Xavier, where they remain during the German invasion and the liberation. After a number of escape plans fail, they volunteer to help clear mines and bombs left behind after WW2 in exchange for a remission of their sentences. Xavier loses an arm in an explosion and the pair is released. However Roberto is not a reformed man, and his attempts to muscle in on the post war gambling club trade results in tragic consequences.

     Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (aka La scoumoune or Hit Man) is directed by Jose Giovanni based upon his own novel L’excommunie. The book had been filmed over ten years previously by Jean Becker as A Man Called Rocca (1961) (that film is available in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 1 from Madman and was reviewed on this site here), but Giovanni was unhappy with that screen adaption so remade it himself, using the same leading man. So ten years on Belmondo plays the same character in the remake.

    This version of L’excommunie does play better. While the narrative is still stretched over too many plotlines, there being three distinct acts (the initial pre-prison crime drama section, the prison, and the short after prison scenes) here at least it hangs together better, mainly because Scoumoune is more grounded in the political events of the period, including the war, the occupation of France by the Germans, the French partisans and collaborators. While none of this is overdone, or really intrudes into the main plot, it provides for an explanation of time passing and makes more sense of the mine-clearing through which Roberto and Xavier gain their release from prison. This remake is also more bloody and violent, as well as less sanitised, making Xavier’s sister not only a married woman but a brothel madam, things omitted from the earlier film.

    By this time Jean-Paul Belmondo was a genuine screen icon, a star. There are none of the stunts in this film that he was famous for, and in truth there is little development of his character over the years this film was set, but it is still Belmondo; he is suitably laid-back and handsome and his screen charisma is evident. Indeed, this film had considerable star power with the inclusion of Italian Claudia Cardinale. She does not have a lot to do except sport a range of hair styles and look beautiful, which indeed she does. But this is clearly Belmondo’s film, and he does not disappoint.

    Scoumoune plays better and is more bloody and violent than A Man Called Rocca. It is more grounded in the period of the 1930s and 1940s and has considerable star power in Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale and so is well worth a look.

     Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes The Inheritor (1973) and The Body of My Enemy (1976).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Scoumoune is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a nice print. Detail is very sharp in close-ups (look at Belmondo’s eyes in the opening sequence) and medium shots although slightly softer in wide-angles. Colours are deep, rich and natural. There was nice film grain, occasional small artefacts, slight ghosting (for example 33:56, 69:25) and brightness turned glary in some later scenes, but nothing too distracting. Blacks and shadow detail were very good.

     There are no subtitles.

     The layer change at 84:19 resulted in a slight pause.

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

Audio

     The audio is disappointing because the original French audio track is not offered. Instead, the only audio available is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps. This really is a pity.

     Dialogue is easy to understand, but of course is an English dub, and not a particularly good one. The effects come across with some depth and are pretty good. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     The score by Francois de Roubaix was low key and fitted the film well, coming over clearly in the audio.

     This was the English dub of original French language and lip synchronisation was poor.

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

Extras

     None

R4 vs R1

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

     There does not seem to be a Region 1 US or Region 2 UK release of La scoumoune. There are a couple of Region 2 French / European versions with the original French audio, but they do not have English subtitles. For English speakers, this Region 4 release will have to do.

     I cannot find an equivalent Belmondo collection listed on sales sites. The only thing close is a Region 2 UK collection that includes Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Le Professional, Stavisky and A Double Tour.

Summary

     Scoumoune is a remake of A Man Called Rocca (1961). This version plays better and is more bloody and violent than the earlier film. It also has considerable star power in Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale and is well worth a look.

     The video is fine, the audio is acceptable, except for the absence of the original French language track. There are no extras but the film is presented in a box set with two other films, which is great value for fans of Belmondo or French cinema.

     Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes The Inheritor (1973) and The Body of My Enemy (1976).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Inheritor (L'heritier) (1973) | Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972) | The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) (1976)

The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) (1976)

The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) (1976)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Due Out for Sale 18-Nov-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 116:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henri Verneuil
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Bernard Blier
Marie-France Pisier
Charles Gérard
Daniel Ivernel
Claude Brosset
Michel Beaune
François Perrot
René Lefèvre
Nicole Garcia
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Francis Lai


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Seven years after being imprisoned for a double murder he did not commit, Francois Leclercq (Jean-Paul Belmondo) returns to his textile manufacturing home town to look up old acquaintances and to exact revenge on those who had betrayed him. But there are still people in town who want Francois out, and are not opposed to violence to achieve it. Seven years before Francois, a boy from the working class, had romanced Gilberte Liegeard (Marie-France Pisier), only daughter of the town’s wealthy industrial baron, Jean-Baptiste Liegeard (Bernard Blier). In her company Francois started to move in wealthy circles with the Liegeard family and their political allies before Gilberte married into another wealthy family.

     Francois had used his connections to start a high class nightclub, where most things were available for a price. But when Francois refuses to allow the sale of drugs, two people are murdered in the club with Francois’ pistol and he is implicated by club manager Raphael Di Massa (Francois Perrot), found guilty and gaoled. Now, as Francois works his way through the old club employees and childhood friends in search of Di Massa, it seems that Gilberte may just hold one of the keys to the mystery.

     The Body of My Enemy (Le corps de mon ennemi) is directed by Henri Verneuil, who had worked previously with Belmondo in the excellent WW2 drama Weekend At Dunkirk. Just the year before The Body of My Enemy, 1975, they had also collaborated in the action classic Peur sur la ville, which includes some wonderful stunts, including one of Belmondo’s most famous: a sequence filmed on top of a speeding Metro train! In The Body of My Enemy, in contrast, Verneuil stripped away all the physical action, wanting to show Belmondo’s acting abilities.

     Indeed, The Body of My Enemy is primarily an intelligent, slow building mystery. There is a lot of dialogue as Francois visits various characters from his past in his attempts to piece together both the identity of the real murderer and the reason behind it. In this more character driven role, Belmondo acquits himself well and he is supported by a strong cast of believable, if oddball characters, in small roles including Claude Brosset as the ex-bouncer who has found a new occupation, Nicole Garcia as the ex-club girl and Michel Beaune as Francois’ childhood friend. But this is clearly Belmondo’s film and in essentially two roles (past life and present) he is never off screen.

     There are other pluses. The film’s backstory is told in a series of flashbacks, which are not chronological, juxtaposed with Francois’ present search. This could be confusing, especially as Belmondo has deliberately not been aged so looks the same in both time periods (the film itself explains that this is him remembering the past, and that he sees himself looking the same as he is now), but director Verneuil has a firm grip on the narrative so it is never an issue. The film also looks great, and indeed the town of Lille, where the film was shot, with its run down streets and factories on the cityscape looks perfect for the search of Francois into his past.

     The Body of My Enemy is an intelligent mystery that eschews the stunts of many Belmondo films in favour of something more compelling. Belmondo acquits himself well and is supported by a strong cast of believable, if oddball, characters. The flashback structure of the film is well handled by director Henri Verneuil and the film looks great.

     The Body of My Enemy is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes The Inheritor (1973) and Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The Body of My Enemy is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print looks pretty good although detail can be slightly soft sometimes. Colours are natural but muted, in keeping with the drab industrial setting of the “present” story, while in “remembered” story colours are much brighter, especially in the night club. Skin tones are good. Blacks are also good and shadow detail acceptable. Brightness occasionally varies, and there is evidence of some minor edge-enhancement but there are no obvious artefacts.

     English subtitles are available in a smallish yellow font. In a film with a lot of dialogue, the subtitles sometimes flashed by too quickly to read completely. There is therefore some important information that can be lost. Unusually, the subtitles also translate a lot of the opening credit sequence, plus many shop and other signs.

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

Audio

     The audio is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 224 Kbps.

     Dialogue is easy to understand. This is a film of mostly dialogue with few additional effects, although the music in the strip sequence in the club comes across nicely. Basically, the audio does the job required. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     The score, by prolific composer Francis Lai (A Man and a Woman (1966)), was unmistakably a French score. It was not intrusive and gave good support to the film.

     Lip synchronisation was poor fine.

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

Extras

     None

R4 vs R1

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

     There does not appear to be another English friendly release of The Body of My Enemy in Region 1 US or Region 2 UK. The only other versions of the film I can find are a couple of Region 2 French / European releases that have French language audio but list no English subtitles. Our Region 4 is the one for English speakers.

     I cannot find an equivalent Belmondo collection listed on sales sites. The only thing close is a Region 2 UK collection that includes Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Le Professional, Stavisky and A Double Tour.

Summary

     The Body of My Enemy is an intelligent mystery that eschews the stunts of many Belmondo films in favour of something more compelling. Belmondo acquits himself well and is supported by a strong cast of believable, if oddball characters. The flashback structure of the film is well handled by director Henri Verneuil and the film looks great. Intriguing and well worth a look.

     The video and audio are fine. There are no extras but the film is presented in a box set with two other films, which is great value for fans of Belmondo or French cinema.

     The Body of My Enemy is included in the three disc set French Screen Icons: Jean-Paul Belmondo 2 from Madman that also includes The Inheritor (1973) and Scoumoune: Mafia Warfare (1972).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE