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Anatomy of a Murder [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 1.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 161 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  The Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 21, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

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Anatomy of a Murder - Widescreen

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Anatomy of a Murder tells the story of small-time lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart). Even though Biegler was once a big time District Attorney, after his unsuccessful re-election bid as District Attorney, he now focuses on smaller cases. His newest case involves Lieutenant Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), after Manion brutally murdered a local man after the man apparently raped his wife Laura (Lee Remick). Upon initial glance, Biegler feels this might be an open-and-shut case with all the evidence seemingly pointing towards Manion; however, after meeting with Manion and his wife, Biegler realizes he just may have gotten himself into something  much larger than he intended. What results is a film that is quite famous for many reasons.

The film itself is known mainly due to the fact that it was one of the first movies to openly discuss sex and rape. Before this, the idea of discussing these topics was scoffed upon. Preminger not only dealt with these issues, but also presented a film that is just purely enjoyable to watch. I’m not usually a fan of these black-and-white dramas as I find them to be slower paced than the movies of my generation (I blame that), but Preminger kept the pace and story interesting throughout. Murder isn’t perfect by far, but is well-made for the most part and is definitely something I’d recommend to those who want to remember the days when courtroom dramas weren’t disrupted with random explosions.

(For a different take, read our Anatomy of a Murder [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review by Lawrence Devoe)

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The 1:85:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is excellent. Perhaps the best part of this transfer is just how much effort Criterion and those involved with the restoration went through. Colors, despite being black and white, are full of rich, vibrant detail. Character close-ups showcase accurate detail and clarity and the film’s contrast levels are accurate. There’s a natural layer of film grain throughout the entire film that all helps to define this transfer. All in all, this is a truly wonderful effort by Criterion.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The film’s provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is nearly as impressive as the aforementioned audio. As with the video, the film’s audio has received a major overhaul. Gone are pretty much any notice of hiss, pop, scratches or any other anomalies that have plagued previous releases. Improved is the overall fidelity, most notable with Duke Ellington’s great score. The score has more range, response and impact. Dialogue is well reproduced via the center channel. Do note, there is also a LPCM 1.0 track available. I sampled this in some sequences and ultimately preferred the 5.1 offering.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

The included supplements are presented in HD.

  • Interview with Otto Preminger and biographer Foster Hirsch – Running 30:23 in length, this feature glances into Preminger’s life and career as a film maker.
  • Otto Preminger – This is a 10:56 clip from the 1967 episode of the series Firing Lane, in which Preminger and host William Buckley Jr. discuss censorship and the impact it’s had on media.
  • Saul Bass – In this 14:35 interview, writer at Kirkham discusses the relationship Preminger and long time graphic designer Saul Bass had with each other.
  • Duke Ellington – In roughly 21:43, jazz legend Duke Ellington’s contribution to the film is discussed.
  • Newsreel Footage – This 5:58 feature glances into some footage from the film’s set.
  • Photos by Gjon Mili – Here’s a collection of photographs taken by infamous Life photographer Gjon Mili.
  • Anatomy of “Anatomy” – This 30:12 documentary glances into how Preminger’s Anatomy had a huge impact on the Upper Peninsula community as a whole.
  • Booklet – A beautiful, and informative I might add, 28-page booklet is included. The booklet itself includes Nick Pinkerton’s essay “Atomization of a Murder.”

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The Criterion Collection, as typical, has put together yet another great Blu-ray release for Anatomy of a Murder. With a great V/A restoration and a handful of features, this one comes well recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00687XO1G[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Anatomy of a Murder - Widescreen

Purchase Anatomy of a Murder [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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