Deer Hunter/A,B+

Universal/1978/183m/WS 2.35

     The Deer Hunter is a genuine American blue collar epic. At the same time anti-war, it celebrates America with astounding clarity. Perhaps it is more difficult to understand the vision of The Deer Hunter without having lived through the confused Vietnam year. For a Vietnam veteran, such as myself, the resonance's of the film ring louder and truer, but I don't think it colors my perception. Director Michael Cimino got everything right. The photography, the acting, all mold to the literate script.

deerhunter.jpg (5860 bytes)

DeNiro and Walken playing for their lives.ŠUniversal

     Cimino introduces his characters on the eve of their entry into the Army and emphasizes the moment of change by choosing to have Steven marry before the boys leave for Vietnam. Michael, Nick, and Steven are best friends and when coincidence brings them together on the battlefield in Vietnam, their manhood is tested like it never was meant to be. The scenes of Russian roulette played by the trio are amongst the most harrowing images ever filmed. While there is no evidence that this game was actually played by prisoners or afterwards in the back room gambling houses of Saigon, it works magnificently as a metaphor for the confusion and hopelessness of war.
     The acting is uniformly splendid. Robert DeNiro gives Michael a strength forged in the Pennsylvania steel plant where he worked, while the wild Christopher Walken brings reckless abandon and total confusion to Nick. These two alone are worth the admission, but add Meryl Streep as the girl who loves both Nick and Michael and performance laced with pain by John Savage and your getting a film bargain.
     The DVD is presented widescreen 2.35 on a dual layer disc. Aside from some brief moments in the beginning when it looks like excess enhancement was used in the transfer, The Deer Hunter looks very good. This is certainly the best I have seen it since its big screen life. Colors are vital and the delicacy of Vilmos Zsigmond's photography is preserved and matched for feeling. A remix to 5:1 would have been nice, but the 2 channel Dolby is still excellent. Crisp dialogue and the beautiful music by Stanley Myers is at perfect level. This is a core film for any DVD collection.

The Feature Archive has articles ranging from Akira Kurosawa to Blonde Bimbos, The Heistmasters and Frank Darabont.

Vietnam: The Hollywood Pariah

Read about Hollywood's hesitant view of the Vietnam war. Click on the image for more.

Check out the  Movie Poster   Archive for short bios and images of Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. This month's featured star is  Clark Gable.

Imaging Science Foundation
promotes proper standards in home theater viewing. ISF trained technicians offer monitor calibration services to consumers. The difference in a  properly calibrated monitor can be astounding. Click on the image to find an ISF member near you.

National Preservation Film Board
Learn about what this organization is doing to preserve our film heritage. Want to know the guidelines for proper handling of film? This is the place.

Home Theater Reference Reviewing System

When you read a DVD review it's of utmost importance to know what equipment is being used to evaluate quality. Click on the projector to find out more.