WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Billy Bathgate

Reviewed In Issue 02 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Loren Dean, Bruce Willis.

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 2
Sound Rating: 4
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
Internet Links


DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Touchstone Home Video
(Catalog Number): 1337AS
(MPAA Rating): R
(Retail Price): $39.99
(Running Time In Minutes): 107
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1991
(LD Release Date): 6/92
(THX® Digitally Mastered):

Credits Information
(Director): Robert Benton
(Screenplay/Written By): Tom Stoppard
(Story): NA
(Music): Mark Isham
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Patrizia Von Brandenstein
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): Alan Heim, ACE & Robert Reitano
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): NA
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Arlene Donovan & Robert F. Colesberry

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.66:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Stereo A
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital): No
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround): No
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, director Robert Benton’s Billy Bathgate is a action-packed gangster epic detailing the rise and fall of notorious mobster Dutch Schultz (Dustin Hoffman) as seen through the eyes of his young protege, Billy Bathgate (Loren Dean).

LaserDisc Picture:
This film appeared to be beautifully photographed in its theatrical presentation. However, the picture quality on this LaserDisc edition appears to be extremely dark, with virtually no shadow detail. There also is a slight reddish-brown tint to the picture, perhaps intentionally directed to portray a period look to the picture. Noise or negative dust artifacts appear in the beginning scenes as well. While the picture was produced in the Academy Standard flat format and projected at 1.85:1, the aspect ratio on this transfer is nearer the 1.33:1 full frame at 1.66:1.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The soundtrack is well recorded with an excellent aggressive Dolby Surround® mix which effectively reinforces the scene to scene ambience. It is the highlight of the presentation, particularly a rainy night scene in which you will want to get out your umbrella.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz): No
(Aggressive System Surround): No
(Intense 25Hz Bass): No
(Deep Bass Challenging): No
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield): Yes
(Aggressive Split Surround): No
(Center Back Surround Imaging): No
(Directionalized Dialogue): No
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: