Glengarry Glen Ross appeared in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Parts of the image looked great, but various drawbacks arose along the way.
Sharpness mostly seemed strong, as the film exhibited good delineation. Occasional shots looked a little soft, but not to a substantial degree. I noticed no moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes remained minor.
However, I suspect the image used some moderate noise reduction, especially during interiors, which seemed a bit “smoothed out” and artificial. These instances weren’t extreme, but they gave the movie a less than film-like look. In terms of print flaws, I saw a smattering of specks but nothing major.
Glengarry demonstrated a stylized palette, and the disc showed nice replication of those colors. The tones appeared lively and vivid and showed no noticeable concerns. Even during some shots with colored lighting, the hues stayed tight and distinct.
Black levels seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly thick. Much of the movie looked positive, but the minor print flaws and the apparent noise reduction knocked it down to a “B-“.
Given the film’s heavy emphasis on dialogue, Glengarry, I didn’t anticipate a tremendous amount of activity from its DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, and for the most part, the mix matched my expectations. The audio remained oriented toward the front speakers, which offered good stereo imaging for music and also presented a reasonably engaging sense of environment.
The surrounds contributed a fairly positive sense of place, though they actually seemed a little too active at times. Ambient office and weather sounds appeared somewhat unnatural and distracting on occasion. However, overall the soundfield offered a pretty convincing setting. Trains provided especially vivid audio from the rear speakers.
Audio quality appeared good. I noticed some vocal bleeding to the side speakers, but speech usually seemed well located and also came across as natural and distinct. I noticed no issues related to intelligibility or edginess.
Music sounded clear and vibrant and showed nice dynamic range across the board. Effects also seemed clean and accurate, and they demonstrated solid low-end response when appropriate. This was a more than competent mix for a dialogue-intensive film from the early 1990s.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2002? Audio showed a little more pep, and visuals were tighter and more dynamic. Even with the minor drawbacks involved here, the Blu-ray improved on the DVD.
The Blu-ray replicates some of the DVD’s extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director James Foley. He gives us a running, screen-specific look at his initial involvement in Glengarry, changes made from the original play, and working with the all-star cast.
The latter element dominates the chat and offers some terrific material. Foley seems frank with his thoughts and even discusses some potential controversies, such as a run-in between Lemmon and Pacino.
The biggest problem here comes from dead air – acres and acres of empty spaces. The DVD presented an edited version of the commentary that made it “scene-specific”, a format that allowed the listener to skip all the lulls.
Why didn’t this translate to the Blu-ray? I have no idea, but the presentation becomes an issue. While Foley provides good information, he only speaks for about 60 percent of the film’s running time. That makes the commentary a bit of a chore.
After this we find Magic Time: A Tribute to Jack Lemmon. This 30-minute, six-second program includes comments from James Foley, son Chris Lemmon, actor Peter Gallagher, Save the Tiger director John Avildsen, manager David Seltzer, and Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton. The piece concludes with a few minutes of Lemmon’s 1998 appearance on Lipton’s show.
Instead of a career retrospective, the participants simply relate their memories of Lemmon. Not surprisingly, these reminiscences stay heavily on the positive side of the coin, but that doesn’t cause a problem. The stories include topics like Lemmon’s obsession with golf and his relationship with Walter Matthau.
Lipton offers the most memorable story, however, as he relates the way that Lemmon acknowledged his alcoholism. While I’d prefer a documentary about Lemmon’s life and work, “Magic Time” offers a fairly interesting program.
ABC: Always Be Closing purports to examine “the psychological intersection of fictional and real-life salesmen”. This means that we hear about productions such as Death of a Salesman and Salesman and also get comments about their work from actual salesmen.
The 29-minute, 58-second show offers a very stark presentation. For the most part, we simply watch the speakers as they chat in front of a blank background.
Normally I don’t mind “talking head” pieces but this visual motif does harm the program. This show consists of almost nothing but these images, which makes “Closing” rather slow going. A few movie clips appear, but they don’t do much to break up the piece.
The content does little to make me forget the blandness. It offers some decent information about the lives of salesmen and the background of the different productions, but it doesn’t delve into the topics with any great depth or insight.
Toward the end, it explores some topics related to the movie, and those provide the most interesting moments, though some of them repeat information we heard elsewhere. Normally I like this kind of program, but “Always Be Closing” comes across as somewhat dull and lifeless.
After this we get two “clip archive” entries. The Charlie Rose Show offers on October 1993 chat between Rose and Jack Lemmon. It lasts 10 minutes and five seconds and touches on topics related to Glengarry. Lemmon briefly discusses his desire to play the part, his approach to the role, and his definition of success. The brief piece provides some interesting material, though I wish we could see more of the interview.
Inside the Actors Studio runs a mere two minutes, 10 seconds as it gives us a short glimpse of an appearance by Kevin Spacey. Some wannabe actor in the audience wants to perform a scene from Glengarry with Spacey. It’s cute but inconsequential. The guy from the crowd needs a lot of work, by the way.
Unfortunately, the Blu-ray drops extras from the DVD. It loses abbreviated “bonus commentaries” as well as a featurette and some text materials. The omission of the commentaries becomes the biggest disappointment.
While I can’t say Glengarry Glen Ross bowled me over, it provides a crisp and crackling piece of work buoyed by a slew of excellent performances. The Blu-ray offers mostly good picture and audio along with a smattering of supplements. I miss the bonus features dropped from the DVD but Blu-ray becomes the superior reproduction of the film.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS