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Deathtrap [Warner Archive Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 116 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 20, 2012
  • List Price: $19.95

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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]

Deathtrap is Sydney Lumet’s 1982 big screen adaptation of Ira Levin’s stage play a dark comedy and mystery with plenty of plot twists, the story is set mainly in one place. Michael Caine plays Sidney Bruhl, a once promising playwright who has now suffered through four flops in a row and is fighting to overcome a major case of writer’s block. His wife Myra is portrayed effectively frantic by Dyan Cannon. Sidney’s devious mind conjures up a plan to steal a play from young student Clifford Anderson (Christopher Reeve) by killing the unsuspecting writer, disposing of him, and claiming his writing of his own. Little do Sidney and the ever cautionary Myra know that Clifford has some tricks up his sleeve as well. Lumet’s vision for the story on the screen does not stretch it too far beyond its stage roots, and as such it has closed in, almost claustrophobic feeling, rarely straying beyond a single room. This can be either its triumph or its downfall, because the strength of Deathtrap is mainly in the intelligent dialogue and acting performances of the players. Michael Caine excels as the devilishly wry and devious writer as does Dyan Cannon in her role as his nervous yet ultimately enabling wife. The plots twists, not to give anything way, add some intensity, but they do eventually break down and stretch our ability to suspend disbelief, leading Deathtrap to be a bit less than A-class material.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

This AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement of Deathtrap’s 35mm source definitely shows a lot of film softness and there are times when the film’s grain structure looks a little too smooth and unnatural, prompting me to mark it down a notch, overall, however, Deathtrap seems adequate, but is not a first tier catalogue release by any means.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Warner hasn’t done much with the original monaural mix, which is supplied in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 encodement. It sounds fairly boxy and has noticeable clipping in the dialogue. In once sense it does contribute to the claustrophobic feel of the film on the whole, but it is hardly a reference level soundtrack.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

Just a poor quality HD trailer of the film is provided as a “supplement”.

  • Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Deathtrap is a satisfying even if guilty pleasure of a film. Strong performances from the three leads help keep it interesting and seeing Christopher Reeve in a film not wearing blue tights and a red cape is always a welcome surprise.

Additional Screen Captures


Deathtrap (Blu-ray) from Warner Bros.

Deathtrap (Blu-ray) from Warner Bros.

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]


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