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A sleek, possessed black car terrorizes everyone it comes in contact with in a small town in Utah.
For more about The Car and the The Car Blu-ray release, see the The Car Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on July 27, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, Kyle Richards, Kim Richards, Elizabeth Thompson
Director: Elliot Silverstein
» See full cast & crew
The Car Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, July 27, 2013
Elliot Silverstein's "The Car" (1977) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; video interview with special effects artist William Alridge; video interview with actor John Rubinstein; audio commentary with director Elliot Silverstein moderated by Calum Waddell; and Easter egg. The release also arrives with a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Cullen Gallagher as well as a brand new interview with co-writer Michael Butler conducted by Calum Waddell, illustrated with original archive stills and artwork. Also included is a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Joe Wilson. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
In 1986, I attended a special screening of a Czechoslovakian film about a very stylish and very fast car that would do strange things to the people that would try racing it. Some of them would feel dizzy while some would become seriously sick after only a few laps. Halfway through the film a curious doctor discovers why – the car runs on human blood. There are a number of sequences in this film that I remember vividly. The best one is a dream sequence in which the car and the curious doctor make love. The title of the film is Ferat Vampire (1982) and it was directed by Juraj Herz, who is probably best known on this side of the Atlantic for his excellent The Cremator (1969). The curious doctor is played by the great Jiri Menzel, who directed the terrific Closely Watched Trains (1966) and recently the award-winning comedy I Served the King of England (2006).
Elliot Silverstein's The Car is about a similar car that seems to be running on something else than gas. This car also likes to kill, but in slightly more conventional ways than the one in Ferat Vampire. Instead of a doctor in this film there is a curious cop who asks most of the good questions.
This remarkable car somehow ends up in the small town of Santa Ynez where it quickly begins harassing and killing innocent residents. Captain Wade Parent (James Brolin, Capricorn One, Westworld) and his boys go after it, but quickly come to realize that they are dealing with something they have not dealt with before. After some rather painful to watch head-scratching, the cops finally figure out how to stop the car.
The Car is an occasionally entertaining but disappointingly predictable film which was clearly inspired by Steven Spielberg's Jaws. There are splashes of humor in it that create a slightly different atmosphere, but the basic concept behind it is indeed identical to that of Spielberg's film.
The key similarities between the two films are not necessarily a bad thing, but the more time one spends with the film, the more one begins to realize that the script for it was simply not very good. There are large portions in the middle of the film that could have easily been used in a daytime TV soap opera where nothing important happens, while the car keeps using the same tricks to keep on killing. Even Wade, the smartest guy in the entire film, frequently looks unconvincingly confused so that the car can have some extra fun with his coworkers.
Some of the special effects, however, are quite good. When the car observes its targets, a yellow tint is used to create the impression that one is seeing the action as the car does. In the final third of the film there are also a few sequences where the car does some pretty wild things to kill its targets. These sequences look great. Special effects artists Kevin Pike (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future) and William Aldridge (Hollow Man, Die Hard 2: Die Harder) were responsible for many of them.
The Car was lensed by cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld (Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, Alan Johnson's To Be or Not to Be).
The Car Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Elliot Silverstein's The Car arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video.
Generally speaking, detail and clarity are quite pleasing. Most of the larger panoramic shots from the desert also convey sufficient depth. Colors are stable, but color saturation occasionally fluctuates. There are also traces of some extremely light sharpening corrections which are more than likely inherited. The overwhelming majority of them are typically present during the daylight sequences, but none of them become distracting (see screencapture #7). Some light compression artifacts also sneak in. There are no traces of problematic degraining corrections. Also, there are no serious stability issues. Large cuts, debris, stains, or warps are also nowhere to be seen. All in all, while while it is obvious that the film could look better in high-definition, the current presentation is indeed quite pleasing. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Car Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track in this Blu-ray release: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Arrow Video have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
Dynamic intensity is surprisingly good. In the sequences where the car goes after the cops, depth is also excellent. Some of the audio enhancement are perhaps a bit too strong, but in this film they are indeed easy to tolerate. The dialog is always exceptionally crisp, stable, and very easy to follow. Also, there are no problematic audio dropouts, pops, cracks, or distortions to report in this review.
The Car Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Car Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fans of Elliot Silverstein's The Car should be quite pleased with its transition to Blu-ray. The film looks good in high-definition and as usual Arrow Video have provided a nice selection of supplemental features. I must say that these types of films are best to see very late at night or with a few good friends. RECOMMENDED.
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The Car Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Car Officially Announced - June 27, 2013
British distributors Arrow Video have officially announced and detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of director Elliot Silverstein's The Car (1977), starring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, and John Marley. The release will be available for purchase online and ...
• Upcoming Arrow Video Releases (Pre-orders Up) - April 26, 2013
Independent British distributors have revealed that they are preparing a number of very exciting Blu-ray releases of cult and classic films which are set to arrive on the market later this year. Amongst them are Andrey Konchalovskiy's The Runaway Train, Jeff Lieberman's ...
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