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Friday, June 14, 2024

Mean Streets (Limited Edition) (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio


A smalltime gangster in Little Italy tries to save his unhinged friend from the wrath of a loan shark he is indebted to.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Martin Scorsese’s third feature film, Mean Streets, continued the filmmaker’s semi-autobiographical narratives from his childhood growing up in New York City. Eschewing the operatic allegories of fellow film school student Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster drama The Godfather, Scorsese dealt in the day-to-day minutiae and pettiness of hoods in Little Italy trying to make good and just get by, using his unique camera angles, colorful lighting, quick paced editing, and documentarian style to get down into the mud.

Small-time hood Charlie (Harvey Keitel) tries to balance his gangster lifestyle with his desire to live an upstanding life like his hero St. Francis of Assisi. While trying to build up his gangster credibility like his uncle (Cesare Danova) and making promises impossible to keep to his epileptic girlfriend Teresa (Amy Robinson), he takes his unhinged friend Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) under his wing. Johnny Boy gets into serious debt to local loan shark Michael (Richard Romanus), and rather than pay him, he avoids him, avoids working, and mouths off to him, putting Charlie in a tough position. Eventually Michael sends a hitman (played by Scorsese) after Johnny Boy, forcing Charlie, Johnny Boy, and Teresa to flee.

With its unapologetic violence and hit rock soundtrack with songs like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Please Mr. Postman” the film has an immediacy that was new and vital in 1973 and would be a blueprint for many of Scorsese’s films to come Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), and Goodfellas (1990). These films and Scorsese’s style would be a big influence on filmmakers from Spike Lee to Quentin Tarantino, but Mean Streets is one that can still hold its own even against the new classics.

  • Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and Amy Robinson in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Robert De Niro and David Proval in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Harvey Keitel and Richard Romanus in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Harvey Keitel and Amy Robinson in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Robert De Niro in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Robert De Niro and David Proval in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Robert De Niro and David Proval in Mean Streets (1973)
  • Mean Streets (Limited Edition) (Second Sight Films)
  • Mean Streets (Limited Edition) (Second Sight Films)

The Video

This is a ‘new 4K restoration supervised and approved by director Martin Scorsese and collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker’ according to Second Sight Films. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. Some unavoidable inconsistencies in grain and detail due to the film’s production and age are present. That being said, the grain looks wonderfully natural and most of the time is densely packed, revealing fine amounts of detail. The Dolby Vision grading is almost miraculous in the amounts of color the shadow details it reveals in the bars and apartments of the city.

The Audio

The original mono mix is presented in LPCM 1.0. It comes through better than one might expect, especially the rollicking classic rock and blues songs from the Stones and others that have a lot of punch. The dialogue is not as full as it may be in a contemporary mix, but it is clear and the whole thing just works.

The Supplements

There are two new bonus features included on disc, including a brand-new audio commentary and an interview with the producer. Other archival featurettes and the 2011 Q&A from Lincoln Center with Scorsese are also included. The collection is packaged in Second Sight’s beautiful rigid slipcase, with a 178-page book worthy of any coffee table, and 8 collectible cards.

Limited Edition Contents:

  • Rigid slipcase with original artwork
  • 178-page book with new essays by Mark Asch, Daniel Bird, Charles Bramesco, Lillian Crawford, Elena Lazic, Manuela Lazić, Christina Newland and Extract from Scorsese on Scorsese
  • 8 collectors’ art cards
  • Blu-ray with fully restored feature film in HD

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary by Demetrios Matheou (author of BFI Classics Mean Streets) and David Thompson (co-editor of Scorsese on Scorsese) (NEW)
  • Scene specific commentary with director Martin Scorsese and actor Amy Robinson
  • Keep Moving Forward: An interview with producer Jonathan T. Taplin (1080p; 00:31:00) (NEW)
  • Saints and Sinners: Dr. Catherine Wheatley on Mean Streets (1080p; 00:12:39)
  • 2011 Lincoln Center screening introduction, interview, and Q&A with Martin Scorsese (1080p; 00:47:15)
  • Mardik: Baghdad to Hollywood (1080p; 01:15:44) – Feature-length documentary
  • Back on the Block (1080p; 00:06:57) – Archive featurette
  • Home Movies (1080p; 00:10:09) – Archive featurette
  • Trailer (1080p; 00:03:38)

The Final Assessment

Mean Streets is a gritty, influential classic culled from the experiences of Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Mardik Martin’s experiences growing up in Little Italy. It has been restored and revitalized in 4K by Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker and looks stunning in this release from Second Sight Films. Highly recommended.

Mean Streets (Limited Edition) is out on 4K Ultra HD Dual Format in the UK January 15, 2024, from Second Sight Films

  • Rating Certificate: UK: 15
  • Studios & Distributors: Warner Bros. | Taplin – Perry – Scorsese Productions | Second Sight Films
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Written By: Martin Scorsese | Mardik Martin
  • Run Time: 112 Mins.
  • Street Date: 15 January 2024 (UK)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English LPCM 1.0
  • Subtitles: English HOH

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A smalltime gangster in Little Italy tries to save his unhinged friend from the wrath of a loan shark he is indebted to.Mean Streets (Limited Edition) (4K UHD Review)