On The Waterfront

WSR Score5
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The Criterion Collection
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Black & White
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Elia Kazan
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1, PCM 24/48 1.0
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Elia Kazan's compelling social drama was the winner of eight Academy Awards® and features Marlon Brando in one of his finest screen performances. Brando is Terry Malloy, a handsome but inarticulate longshoreman, who gets involved in a labor scandal when a fellow dock worker is murdered. He knows that the victim was killed by the oppressive labor union for squealing to a commission investigating misdoings. Terry intends to keep his mouth shut and his job safe. But when Edie (Marie Saint), the dead man's beautiful sister, comes to town, he must choose between his allegiance to a corrupt union and his loyalty to Edie. (Gary Reber)

The 1.67:1 version appears on Disc One with all of the supplemental features, while the 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 versions appear on Disc Two. Special features include commentary with Richard Schickel, author of Elia Kazan: A Biography and Jeff Young, author of Kazan: The Master Director; a conversation with Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones (HD 17:34); the 1982 documentary Elia Kazan: An Outsider (SD 53:14); the 2012 documentary I'm Standing Over Here Now (HD 45:00); a 2012 interview with Eva Marie Saint (HD 11:10); a 2001 interview with Elia Kazan (HD 12:00); a 2012 interview with Thomas Hanley (HD 12:00); a 2012 interview with James T. Fisher, author of On The Irish Waterfront (HD 25:46); the 2001 documentary Contender: Mastering The Method (SD 25:04); a 2012 video essay abut the unique power of Leonard Bernstein's score (HD 20:05); a narrative slide presentation about the aspect ratio variable (HD 05:11); the theatrical trailer; and a 45-page booklet featuring an essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda.

The 1080p AVC picture is presented in three different aspect ratios—1.67:1, 1.85:1, and 1.33:1. This was one of the first films projected in 1.85:1. The presentation has been mastered from a new 4K restoration. Resolution is excellent, though, grain is apparent as it "dances" throughout each frame, especially in the lighter parts of frames. Contrast is impressive, with revealing shadow delineation and deep blacks, which provides excellent depth and gray scale. There is no apparent damage such as debris, scratches, cuts, or other artifacts. The result is an engaging visual experience whose presentation has never looked better on home media. (Gary Reber)

The original soundtrack was a monaural Western Electric Recording, which is available in the LPCM 1.0 format, and new repurposed DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1 is available as well. While the DTS track provides an immersive soundfield and sonic depth, the LPCM track is true to the original and is preferred, as the sound elements are better balanced. In particular, Leonard Bernstein's orchestral score and dialogue sound fuller harmonically and dynamically. Background hiss is unobjectable, and there are no other sonic distortions or dropouts. This is true to the original sonic experience and the reference standard for this classic. (Gary Reber)