The Jerk (1979)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1979|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Carl Reiner|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, The range - Cigarettes, pipes and joints.|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Remember TAB? You will...|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Credits run over a final musical sequence.|
The story follows Navin Johnson (Steve Martin), the adopted son of a poor black family. He does not feel as if he fits in with his family, so he sets off into the world to find out what is missing from his life. Taking a job as a "gas station" attendent, Navin begins to learn the ways of the world...and some of the downsides. Navin goes on to be a weight-guesser at a fair, and a successful inventor, all the while finding the romantic attentions of a motorcycle stunt rider (Catlin Adams) and a trumpet playing cosmetologist (Bernadette Peters). This is billed as a "rags to riches to rags" story and to that end, Navin is eventually brought down by a cruel twist of fate...but is that the end for him?
In typical Steve Martin fashion, Navin is not exactly quick off the mark, and manages to get himself into numerous situations that require talking in a strange voice, arguing with his dog, or running in a strange manner (which seems to be the extent of Steve Martin's physical comedy). As many jokes mis-fire as not, and it often seems to be trying too hard, but overall, it is still a very amusing film.
The transfer is presented in full screen, brought down from its original 1.85:1 ratio through panning and scanning. While this is correctly stated at the base of the back of the case, the special features box clearly states as a special feature Original Widescreen presentation. Beware of this, as it most certainly is not.
The transfer is not at all sharp, being no better than could be obtained from a tape. This is due to the considerable amount of grain throughout. While initially annoying, the at least constant level of grain makes it easier to become accustemed to, although it still seems excessive, even for a 22 year old obviously unrestored source. Shadow detail is not particularaly good either, although this is of little consequence given the few night-time sequences. There is no low level noise present in the transfer.
Colour in this transfer is somewhat muted, not showing any highlights even where they could reasonably be expected, such as the scenes at the fair. The result is that the overall tone appears quite drab. It does improve to a certain extent later in the movie but could never be classed as good. Skin tones suffer from the muted nature as well, making people look a little pale.
Due to the constant grain, the entire transfer suffers from the presense of light pixelization, although it does appear to escape any posterization problems. The grain also means that the transfer is too blurry to have any aliasing problems. Film artefacts are an affliction throughout, although most are small enough not to draw attention away from the rest of the action.
The subtitles are relatively close to the spoken dialogue, but they do drop words from a surprisingly high number of sentences. Fortunately, this does not change the impact of any of the spoken jokes.
This is a single sided, single layer disc, and therefore has no layer change.
There are four soundtracks on this disc, being the original English, along with French, German, and Italian dubs. All soundtracks are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (two channels carrying the same audio signal). I listend to the English track.
Dialogue was realiatively clear for the most part. There were occasions when background sounds combined with the mono nature of the soundtrack to reduce clarity, but never to the extent that I had to repeat a sequence to hear what was said. An example is a scene on a beach at 48:19-48:45 where the dialogue is almost overlapped by the background ocean sounds.
Audio sync was never a problem in this transfer.
There is very little in the way of score music in this movie, instead music is generally only used to punctuate key comic sequences, and is composed by Jack Elliott. Strangely enough, the lack of music is not particularly noticable, also pointing to a good effort by the composer to engage the music without drawing attention to it. The style of the music is American folk, with a fiddle and guitar combination being used extensivly.
Being a mono movie, there is no surround sound use at all.
As with the surrounds, the subwoofer remains dormant throughout the movie.
|Surround Channel Use|
The video quality can only be described as watchable, suffering from an excess of grain.
The audio quality is average, although serving a comedy well enough.
The extras are minimalist and do not really satisfy any real curiosity about this film.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||RCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|