Raging Bull: Special Edition/Gold Edition (1980)
Featurette-The Bronx Bull
Easter Egg-Photo Gallery (6)
Easter Egg-Jake La Motta Defends Title
|Year Of Production||1980|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Martin Scorsese|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Starring||Robert De Niro|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|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|
Raging Bull was, until this review, an unknown movie to me, which is strange given that I am a fan of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Any movie with all three working together is almost certain to be enjoyable to me, and both Goodfellas and Casino rank very highly on my list of favourite movies. I must say that after watching it I was not disappointed, and watched the movie again shortly thereafter for pleasure.
The story, set in the 40s through to the 60s revolves around Jack La Motta, a middleweight boxer who in the 40s was a champion in that field. In all other fields, he was a dismal failure - at least that is what the movie tells us. Temperamental, paranoid, violent and even psychotic would be words used to describe his character, though reality would be perhaps less kind. We see his character go from admired boxing champion to a low-rent pathetic bar entertainer. Robert De Niro, replete with false nose and variable weight, plays this character with as much conviction and passion as I have ever seen from any actor, and his role earned him his second Oscar in 1981 (his first being for The Godfather II) - it was a well-deserved award. In only his second major role, Joe Pesci plays Joey, Jake's long-suffering brother and manager. His performance bounces off De Niro's perfectly, and is truly inspired; no other person on this planet can say a certain four-letter word beginning with "f" with as much vigour and frequency as this man.
The movie itself is based on the book by Jake La Motta, and even has him on hand as a consultant. Seeing this man and hearing him talk, and then watching the movie again makes Robert De Niro's performance seem all the more remarkable. This movie is gritty, dirty and often ugly in typical Scorsese fashion, and I would like it no other way.
The movie is presented in its correct theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced. I find this very disappointing for a movie which garnered two Oscars.
The image was generally quite sharp and clear, though somewhat variable in its presentation. The movie was filmed in black and white, and in this format contrast and lighting are all-important; it is the former which seemed disparate from one scene to another, and ranged from deeply contrasting with slightly poor shadow detail to little contrast and excellent shadow detail. As a result, the ever-present film grain was also different depending on the contrast level, and was notably strong in some scenes and barely visible in others. There was no edge-enhancement noted, which helped maintain a smooth image. The lack of anamorphic enhancement limited the resolving power of the transfer. Nonetheless, there was still a pleasing amount of detail in the image.
The only colours used during this movie are during mock 16mm home video shots, which are deliberately faded.
There were no MPEG artefacts of any kind; many difficult scenes were present, including smoky lighting and low contrast and at no time was posterization or blocking noticed, which made for a very solid presentation. The movie was peppered with film artefacts from start to end, and although not severe, they did join forces with the grain to make for a very "film-like" look. There was minor aliasing from time to time, given the sometimes strong contrast and lack of anamorphic enhancement.
A sampling of the English subtitle stream revealed it to be only barely similar to the dialogue, and very minimal in verbosity.
This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring during Chapter 16 at 66:31 minutes. It was obvious, though not distracting..
There is one Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track on offer, and it is a rather utilitarian one at that.
Dialogue was almost always very clear-sounding and well-integrated into the environment, though looping was easy to pick out from time to time. There were no lip-sync problems.
The music is used sparingly and in typical Scorsese fashion. It is generally from the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni, and is quite sad and deep in emotion. I found it quite fitting, as the story is not one of the more uplifting I have seen recently. Recorded in mono, the music comes across very nicely with good frequency usage.
I hesitate to call this soundtrack a surround one, but there are one or two scenes in which the crowd at a wrestling game can be heard from the rear speakers. As for the rest of the time, they simply are not used. It is actually rare for this soundtrack to break out of mono, with the centre speaker doing all of the work for 99% of the movie. In truth though, given the nature of the movie, I rarely noticed and only paid attention on the second viewing.
In Pro-Logic mode, the subwoofer was used from time to time for the music and effects, and was well-integrated, though this was more of an effect of my receiver than anything else.
|Surround Channel Use|
The balance of the extras are to be found on the second disc of this two-disc set.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Region 4 misses out on:
There is no compelling reason to prefer one version over the other, though non-16x9 enhanced NTSC can look quite nasty on a widescreen display. I would recommend the local version.
As a movie, this is art from one of the best in the business, Martin Scorsese. Combine that with an Oscar-winning performance from Robert De Niro and you can't go much wrong. Whilst the lack of 16x9 enhancement is truly disappointing, the image is nonetheless very good and the audio is true to the movie.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DB-930|
|Speakers||Front & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500|