Based on the frightening best-seller by Thomas Harris, "The Silence Of The Lambs" made history in 1992 as the third film to ever win the top five Academy Awards®. Clarice Starling (Foster) is a young FBI trainee who seeks the advice of the imprisoned infamous psychiatrist and diabolical cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) on catching an elusive serial killer known only as "Buffalo Bill" (Levine). As Bill's most recent abductee garners national media attention, the rookie agent meets with Lecter, who demands information about her personal life in exchange for clues, and they form a strangely intimate connection in the process. This is the 118-minute version, not the 138-minute original cut. (Gary Reber)
Special features include commentary from 1994 featuring Director Jonathan Demme, Actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, Screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas; a new interview with critic Maitland McDonagh (HD 17:58); 22 deleted scenes (SD 20:29); an interview from 2005 with Demme and Foster (HD 52:30); four documentaries: "Inside The Labyrinth" (SD 01:06:25), "Page To Screen" (SD 41:07), "Scoring "The Silence'" (SD 16:00), and "Understanding The Madness" (HD 19:33); a behind-the-scenes featurette (SD 08:07); storyboards; a theatrical trailer; and a 58-page book featuring an introduction by Foster, an essay by critic Amy Taubin, pieces from 2000 and 2013 by author Thomas Harris on the origins of the character Hannibal Lecter, and a 1991 interview with Demme. (SD ).
The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed using Panavision's Panaflex 35mm camera system in Academy Standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio and sourced from a new 4K master Digital Intermediate format. A new digital transfer was created in 16-bit 4K resolution on a DFT Scanity film scanner from the original camera negative. The transfer was supervised by Tak Fujimoto, the Director of Photography. The colorist was Kevin O'Connor at EFILM. The original film stock exhibits grain throughout that at times is a bit distracting. The previous MPEG-2-encoded Blu-ray release, reviewed on the Widescreen Review Webzine, exhibited an appreciable improvement in picture quality over the non-anamorphic DVD previously reviewed in Issue 53. At the time, the DVD showed a slight improvement over the THX® digitally mastered LaserDiscs reviewed in Issues 11 and 24. But this new transfer is a significant and definitely the definitive edition of this classic film. Color fidelity appears very natural throughout, with rich and warm, as well as vibrant hues, and accurately rendered fleshtones. Black levels and shadow detail are nicely enhanced, revealing deep shadings and detail. Contrast, color fidelity, and sharpness are noticeably better and more refined throughout. Resolution is excellent with fine detail revealed in facial features, skin pores, clothing, and object texture, especially during the extreme close-ups. Dimensionality is terrific as well. Picture quality is wonderful, giving this Academy Award®-winning film the attentive treatment that it deserves and visibly intensifying the gruesome storytelling. (Gary Reber)
The original 2.0 surround soundtrack was remastered from the 35mm magnetic track. Clicks, thumps, hiss, hum, and crackle were manually removed using Pro Tools HD and iZotope RX. From the source elements a remastered DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.0-channel soundtrack was created. For such a dated film, the soundtrack is more wonderful than ever. Atmospherics are impressive, with precise delineation and realism. Also Foley sound effects are effectively realistic as well. Dialogue spatial integration is first-rate and substantially enhances the realism, especially the reverberation quality.. Howard Shore's haunting orchestral score is well recorded with a wide and deep soundstage that extends to the surrounds. As previously reviewed, there is a deep bass presence, which is unnerving during the movie's suspenseful moments, with a subtle but effective surround ambiance. There is no .1 LFE signal so the bass signal resides in the main channels. The music and directionalized sound effects often nicely envelop the soundfield with low-level surround for a holosonic® presence. This is one of those soundtracks that delivers a haunting presence and enhances the realism of this disturbing film. (Gary Reber)