Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Notes-Awards, Reel Recommendations
|Year Of Production||1975|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Sidney Lumet|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As the kind-natured but bumbling robber, the audience develops a bond with Sonny. This is helped by the barracking of the crowd: kind of like a precursor to cheering OJ's white Ford Bronco along the freeway. As more is revealed about the character of those involved in this tense stand-off:, including an equally good-natured cop (Charles Durning) trying to get everyone including Sonny and Sal out alive, and an FBI agent (James Broderick) wanting to end the siege in any way possible, sympathies shift and the viewer is compelled to reconsider their feelings for the characters as some very prejudicial matters come to light.
Lumet plays expertly with the tensions and the dynamics of the hostage situation in light of the shifting perceptions of Sonny. We only ever find out anything about Sonny's background, but despite the fact that we are told nothing of the other characters, you feel as if you know them due to the emotional journey that you have travelled with them. Lumet almost constantly uses a hand-held camera, giving the movie a docu-drama type feel and placing the style of the movie quite firmly in the New York street movie genre engineered by Scorsese and others in the early 70s as a direct response to French New Wave directors such as Godard. Accenting the gritty feel is the fact that there is absolutely no musical score accompanying this movie, also making the skill of the director and the actors in setting the tone of each scene all the more apparent
Although John Cazale only had the opportunity to make four other movies, two were the first two of The Godfather trilogy, and the other two were the brilliant The Deer Hunter and The Conversation. He plays Sal, the butt of much of the humour arising from the absurdity of the situation. However, Al Pacino in a performance that can only be described as brilliant is the center of this movie, and he takes his partner, hostages, the police, both of his wives, the media, and the crowd of onlookers on an odyssey which shows us the true natures of the personalities involved and that of the society in which they live.
Supporting performances are also excellent across the board. Sully Boyar (Prizzi's Honor) and Penelope Allen (Scarecrow) provide some personality for the hostages, whilst outside the bank law enforcement officers Charles Durning (To Be Or Not To Be) and James Broderick (father of Matthew) engage in their own personal conflict. Chris Sarandon (The Princess Bride) is also notable in a small but vital performance, and the conversation between his Leon and Sonny (largely improvised and providing no real plot information) is one of the best scenes of the movie. Look for early, small roles from Carol Kane (Annie Hall) as a hostage, and Lance Henriksen (Aliens) as a G-man.
My main concern was a distinct lack of sharpness and detail throughout the feature. This was especially apparent in the backgrounds and in the shadows, where there was little definition to speak of. One saving grace was that the lack of detail did not drive me to distraction, and there was no low level noise to complain of. There was also some concern with grain in the interiors shot with low light, but I suspect that this was a problem with the source material generated by the new, rough guerilla-style location filming methods popularized at the time.
This is a classic example of the somewhat muted colours of the film stocks of the 70s which occasionally comes back into vogue - see the director's commentary on Detroit Rock City. As a result, there isn't too much in the way of vibrant colour (with the browns and creams of the time dominating in any event), and skin tones are a little pale. As black level is reasonably good, though, I'm led to believe that the transfer has only suffered a little from the effects of age-related degradation of the source material.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was only one real film-to-video artefact that I could see: one instance of aliasing on some brickwork at around 31:53 - 31:57. I also couldn't pick any MPEG artefacts, but film artefacts, including reel change markings, were out in force in various shapes, sizes, colour and texture throughout the entirety of the feature with a particularly huge number appearing at 16:31. Again, this is fairly well in line with a movie of this age, and never bothered me too much.
Being a stagey, talky movie, dialogue is almost always the focus of this soundtrack. Thankfully, it is always clear and easy to understand, subject to some thick New York accents, however, a little hiss crept into some of the quieter moments. There were no real specific faults to speak of other than a barely noticeable fluctuation of volume level between 2:48 and 3:10as the opening song faded. Audio sync was spot on.
As stated previously, absolutely no musical score accompanies this film, and the only music is Elton John's Amoreena which plays over the start of the movie.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||Front: Yamaha NS10M, Rear: Wharfedale Diamond 7.1, Center: Wharfedale Sapphire, Sub: Aaron 120W|