Cat On a Hot Tin Roof appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Warner Archives usually does excellent work, and this became another winner from them.
For the most part, sharpness was fine. Occasional examples of softness occurred, but those stemmed from the source. The majority of the flick displayed more than adequate definition.
I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source concerns also failed to materialize, so this became a clean presentation.
Colors seemed appropriate. The movie favored a somewhat pale palette at times, but it perked up when appropriate, so I thought the hues worked well. Blacks were deep and firm, and shadows looked clear and smooth. The transfer held up well.
I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The mix didn’t excel, but it was more than acceptable given its age. Speech consistently seemed natural and concise, and the lines betrayed no edginess or other problems.
Music tended to be a little thin but seemed acceptably vivid and bright. Effects were clean and demonstrated reasonable range, especially in the boom of thunder. I didn’t find anything here to applaud, but I liked what I heard nonetheless.
How did the Blu-ray compare with the DVD from 2006? Audio was a little stronger, but the limitations of the 58-year-old source limited improvements.
Visuals showed more obvious pleasures. The Blu-ray offered stronger colors, sharpness and cleanliness. While the DVD was good, the Blu-ray beat it.
The Blu-ray replicates the DVD’s extras. The main attraction comes from an audio commentary with biographer Donald Spoto. He offers a running, screen-specific discussion. Although Spoto touches on a few production elements, he prefers to investigate other subjects. On occasion, he talks about the cast and other participants, censorship issues, and comparisons between the film and the play.
However, most of Spoto’s chat deals with more introspective topics. Spoto digs into themes and interpretation of the movie’s story, situations and characters. He does so fairly well, though at times he seems to simply narrate the action.
Spoto also goes silent too often, and this leaves the commentary with a fair amount of dead air; this becomes a particular problem during its second half. I admit that I’d have preferred a more nuts and bolts Rudy Behlmer-style commentary, but I think Spoto makes this a generally intriguing and informative piece.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate a featurette entitled Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Playing Cat and Mouse. This 10-minute, three-second piece includes archival materials, shots from the flick, and remarks from Spoto, authors Drew Casper and Eric Lax, and actor Madeleine Sherwood.
“Mouse” looks at the production with a particular emphasis on actors Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. It discusses their careers prior to Roof and see how that film impacted on their lives and careers. “Mouse” doesn’t serve as a strong overview of the production, but it accomplishes its goals. It serves to educate us about complications behind the scenes with the main actors and works well in that regard.
Those actors help make Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a success. The film boasts consistently excellent performances and becomes a rich, involving character piece. The Blu-ray provides very good picture as well as more than acceptable audio and a couple of bonus features. This turns into a solid release for a compelling film.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF