Marathon Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this became an appealing presentation.
For the most part, sharpness satisfied. A few shots could be a bit on the soft side, but the majority of the film boasted nice clarity and accuracy.
I saw no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to become a distraction.
Dark 1970s thrillers like this don’t come with dynamic palettes, so the chilly hues of Marathon matched its tone. Given these parameters, the hues seemed appropriately rendered.
Blacks offered nice depth, and shadows were usually fine, though a few interiors could seem a little opaque. Ultimately, the image held up well over the decades.
Taken from the original monaural soundtrack – which also appeared here – the remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 material came with ups and downs. Strengths primarily stemmed from the quality of the music.
The flick didn’t feature a lot of score, but when the music cropped up, it sounded bright and vivid. Those aspects of the track easily stood as its best assets.
Speech tended to be a little flat, but the lines remained intelligible and moderately natural. Effects appeared lackluster and showed a bit of distortion, but not to an extreme given the movie’s origins.
The 5.1 soundfield opened up matters to a decent degree. The front speakers showed nice stereo imaging for the music and also broadened environmental elements. These didn’t do a whole lot, but they added a little space to matters.
The surrounds mostly remained passive, so I noticed them during a scene with thunder, but otherwise they stayed with minor reinforcement at most. The mildly spacious soundfield and the high-quality music made this a “B-“ soundtrack, but the other aspects disappointed.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio was fairly similar, as the lossless DTS-HD MA mix showed a little more range but nothing substantial.
Visuals became a different matter, as the Blu-ray boasted a significantly sharper, cleaner and smoother image with stronger colors and deeper blacks. The DVD was an ugly mess so the Blu-ray became a revelation.
The Blu-ray offers the same extras as the DVD, and a vintage “making of” piece called The Magic of Hollywood lasts 21 minutes, 14 seconds as it provides remarks from producer Robert Evans, director John Schlesinger, stunt coordinator Everett Creach, and actors Dustin Hoffman and Marthe Keller. The program gives us some notes about getting a cast and crew, sets and locations, performances, stunts, and a few shoot specifics.
Like most promotional programs of this sort, “Magic” tends toward happy talk and hyperbole. However, it manages to provide some good tidbits nonetheless.
We get a lot of cool footage from the set, and a few of the interview comments prove insightful too. This is an up and down piece, but it generally works pretty well.
Next comes the 29-minute, seven-second Remembering Marathon Man. It includes Evans, Hoffman, Keller, screenwriter William Goldman, and actor Roy Scheider.
The show examines the project’s path to the screen and the adaptation of the source novel, how Schlesinger came onto the flick and his style on the set, cast and performances, changes to the scripted ending, and reactions to the movie.
“Remembering” provides a good recap of some production elements. In particular, it offers a nice look at the actors, especially via many sweet and informative stories about Olivier. There’s a lot to like about this satisfying piece.
In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we find 21 minutes, six seconds of rehearsal footage. These clips show comments from Evans, Heller, and Scheider.
We see rehearsals of the scenes in which Babe first asks out Elsa, Doc’s surprise visit to Babe, Elsa and Babe stroll and chat on an early date, and lunch with Doc, Babe and Elsa. The notes from the participants add a little perspective, but the rehearsal sequences are the best part of this component.
It’s especially interesting to see how they differ from the scenes in the final flick. In particular, the one in which Babe asks out Elsa substantially alters what we see in the film. This is a very cool supplement.
The first – and last – cinematic pairing of Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier turned into a minor classic. Marathon Man suffers from a convoluted plot but succeeds due to its solid acting and tense nature. The Blu-ray offers very good picture along with acceptable audio and supplements. Marathon Man holds up well after more than 40 years.
To rate this film visit the DVD Edition of MARATHON MAN