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The Big City Blu-ray

United States
The Big City / The Coward | Mahanagar / Kapurush | The Criterion Collection Criterion | 1963-1965 | 2 Movies | 122 min | Not rated | Aug 20, 2013

The Big City (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: see individual releases
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio
Bengali: LPCM Mono
Bengali: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles
English

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region A (locked)

Price
List price: $39.95, Price history

Amazon: $27.18 (Save 32%)
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Buy The Big City on Blu-ray Movie

Rating


7.7
/10
23
ratings


Blu-ray rating
Video 4.5 of 54.5
Audio 4.8 of 54.8
Extras 4.8 of 54.8
Based on 2 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Drama100%
Foreign76%
37%
popularity
249
collections
n/a
fans




The Big City

 (1963-1965)

The Big City Blu-ray delivers great video and superb audio in this must-own Blu-ray release

The Big City (Mahanagar), set in mid-1950s Calcutta and directed by the great Satyajit Ray, follows the personal triumphs and frustrations of Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee), who decides, despite the initial protests of her bank-clerk husband, to take a job to help support their family. With remarkable sensitivity and attention to the details of everyday working-class life, Ray gradually builds a powerful human drama that is at once a hopeful morality tale and a commentary on the identity of the contemporary Indian woman.

For more about The Big City and the The Big City Blu-ray release, see the The Big City Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.

Starring: Madhabi Mukherjee, Haradhan Bannerjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Anil Chatterjee, Santi Chatterjee, Jaya Bhaduri
Director: Satyajit Ray


This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:

 

The Coward
(No Release Date)
 

The Big City Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Presented in aspect ratios of 1.33:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted 1080p transfers, Satyajit Ray's The Big City (Mahanagar) and The Coward (Kapurush) arrive on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.

The screencaptures included with this review appear in the following order:

1. The Big City: Screencaptures #1-19.
2. The Coward: Screencaptures #20-29.

The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:

"This new digital transfer (for The Big City) was produced from a restoration undertaken by RDB Entertainments, under the supervision of Kamal Bansal and Varsha Bansal. For their restoration, a transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original 35mm camera negative and a 35mm print at Pixion in Chennai, India. Due to several instances of severe warps in the original negative, a few sections were replaced using original 35mm safety fine grain belonging to the Academy Film Archive. The original monaural soundtrack was restored from the original sound negative.

Project supervisor: Mr. Balaji/Pixion, Chennai, India.
Lead restorers: Mr. Chandrashekhar, Mr. Kiran/Pixion.
Colorists: Mr. Mathews/John Tharyil/Pixion."

The restorations and presentations of the two films are very good. As it was the case with the recently released Charulata, which was also restored by RDB Entertainments, there are dramatic improvements in every single area we typically address in our reviews, from detail to image depth to contrast stability to overall fluidity. The few outdoor sequences, in particular, look remarkably vibrant and healthy, despite the fact that the original camera negative wasn't in perfect condition. Some minor contrast fluctuations are present during select indoor sequences where light is restricted, but image depth is always very pleasing (see screencapture #2). Where some fading has occurred, stabilization improvements have been made to re-balance the image as best as possible. There are no traces of problematic degraining corrections. However, during the stabilization improvements some appropriate adjustments have been made. Edge-enhancement is never an issue of concern. There are no serious stability issues. Also, there are absolutely no debris, cuts, warps, or stains to report in this review. All in all, The Big City has a solid and very healthy organic look.

The high-definition transfer for The Coward has been sourced from the same recent restoration of the film Artificial Eye were able to access when they prepared their Blu-ray release in the United Kingdom. I did some direct comparison between the two releases and they look virtually identical.

(Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).


The Big City Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: Bengali LPCM 1.0 for The Big City and Bengali Dolby Digital 1.0. for The Coward. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for each film.

The lossless track has good depth and at times even surprisingly good fluidity. However, you should not expect to hear a well rounded and consistently lush audio - many of the limitations of the film's original sound design are quite obvious (see the mob sequence). However, the dialog is clean, pleasingly stable, and easy to follow. Also, there is no heavy background hiss, distortions, or audio dropouts to report in this review.

The Coward comes only with a lossy track. Here depth is probably not as impressive as it is on the lossless track from the Artificial Eye Blu-ray release, but I think that only people who have both discs might be able to tell. The most obvious discrepancies are during the few jazzy themes, but even there the overall dynamic movement and depth on both tracks are fairly similar.



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