All the President's Men (1976)

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Released 7-Oct-1998

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Biographies-Cast & Crew
Production Notes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 133
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alan J. Pakula
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Robert Redford
Dustin Hoffman
Jack Warden
Martin Balsam
Hal Holbrook
Jason Robards
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music David Shire


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    All The President's Men is the story of the two journalists that broke the Watergate scandal. It stars Robert Redford as Bob Woodward, and Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein, two reporters who work for the Washington Post.

    The story opens with burglars being caught at the Democratic party headquarters in Washington. For those of you that don't know, the American Democratic Party approximates to the Australian Labor party and the American Republican Party approximates to the Liberal Party. At first glance, this seems to be somewhat of a routine break-in, except for the fact that bugging equipment was found on the burglars. Upon further investigation, a possible tenuous connection with the Republican Party is hinted at, making this burglary anything but routine - the equivalent situation in Australia was if burglars were caught inside the Labor party headquarters trying to bug the place and they were later found to be connected to the Liberal party.

    The journalists persist with their investigation into this story, despite apparent roadblocks all of the way. They are pushed in the right direction by a mysterious source that Bob Woodward has on the inside of the Whitehouse, known only as Deep Throat.

    As they continue to investigate, the scandal reaches higher and higher, culminating in the President himself (Richard Nixon) being implicated, and being forced to resign.

    In a sense, this story is somewhat like that of the Titanic - you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be, but it is an intriguing path that you take to get there.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie was shot in 1976, making it 22 years old. I must admit that I undertook this review with some trepidation, as I was not sure of the quality that this transfer would be. I am delighted to report that, despite the age of this movie, this transfer is superb. It is not as good as most of the new transfers, but it is far from bad. There are only minor problems with the transfer in places. There are no major problems at all with the transfer. It does not look 22 years old at all.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The movie was generally crisp and clear. Occasional scenes were a little blurry, but this was not a major problem. Shadow detail was lacking in the darker scenes, and there was some film grain apparent occasionally, but generally this transfer holds up remarkably well considering its age. The transfer appears to have been taken from an interpositive element judging by its quality.

    The colour was well saturated in the outdoor scenes, but tended to be lacking in the lower lit scenes. Overall, it was satisfactory.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some aliasing, particularly in scenes in the newspaper office (the overhead lights) and some telecine wobble, which varied from being just noticeable to imperceptible. Film artefacts were generally non-intrusive, but were a little distracting at the start of the film.

    I felt that this transfer had possibly been taken from two different sources, as there were truly superbly transferred scenes with excellent detail and colour saturation and no film noise, and other scenes with telecine wobble, poor colour saturation and significant film artefacts present. Fortunately, the great majority of the film was of the superior quality transfer, and only small sections of the film suffered with the wobble and film artefacts.

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, English Dolby Digital 1.0. Yep, that's right, mono.

    Dialogue was pretty much always completely clear and intelligible, even during scenes with high ambient noise. The fact that all of the sound was coming from one speaker probably contributed to this (no competition). It intrigues me to note that this movie won the Academy Award in 1976 for best sound. My, how things have progressed in the last 20 years.

    I cannot specifically recall anything about the music, other than there wasn't a lot of it - it's not really appropriate to this type of movie.

    The surround channels didn't exist.

    The .1 channel wasn't used.

Extras

    No theatrical trailer is present on this DVD.

    The extras on this DVD consist of still frames for the cast and crew biographies and still framed production notes. The production notes are reasonably extensive and interesting, and provide background information on Watergate and Deep Throat, but I wanted much more background information that that which was provided - this only whetted my appetite.

R4 vs R1

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

    Apart from an additional Full Frame version of the movie on the flip side of the Region 1 DVD, the Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this DVD are equally specified.

Summary

    All The President's Men is an excellent movie, the mono audio notwithstanding. It is a story which sticks closely to fact, which is something that makes it even more incredible. It stands on its own as a thrilling and intriguing story of political corruption. The way the pieces fit together are fascinating. It does take some getting into, however, as these events are no longer fresh in our memories, and many of the principal characters would not be familiar to Australian audiences. This movie really proves the adage that the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. There are no special effects or explosions to propel the story - it has to rely on the superb acting of the lead and support actors, and they all do an excellent job.

    The video quality is remarkably good given the age of the film. It almost holds its own again some of the modern transfers. In fact, if I was comparing directly, I would have to say that this transfer is better than the current Region 4 version of Die Hard 3, despite it being 3 times older. There are only minor problems with telecine wobble and undersaturation in low lit scenes and occasionally film noise and grain is apparent. Otherwise, the transfer is superb.

    The audio quality is as good as you are going to get from a mono soundtrack. Everything is clear and there is no gross distortion, but surround sound it ain't and it will never be.

    My biggest criticism of this DVD is the lack of extras. If any DVD cried out for extras, this is the one. Considering the far-reaching implications of this movie (the events it depicted led to the downfall of the President of the United States), this is a movie that would be deeply enhanced with additional information.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Friday, October 30, 1998
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

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Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - Chris W (read my bio)

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