New York, New York appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an inconsistent image but it seemed to represent the movie fairly well.
Overall definition seemed good. The movie favored a gauzy photographic style, so expect some softness along the way. However, this usually appeared to fit the desire cinematographic effect, so I thought sharpness was generally fine. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were minor; I noticed a few small specks but nothing more.
Colors varied from bright and vivid to somewhat messy. The latter were noticeable mainly due to period bouts of heavy grain; that element affected the clarity of the hues. Usually the movie presented fairly vivid and rich tones. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows were decent. Low-light shots didn’t offer great smoothness, they seemed reasonably clear and viewable. All of this was good enough for a “B”.
Although the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of New York, New York never dazzled, it was more than adequate for a movie of this one’s age and scope. Audio remained heavily oriented toward the front. Frankly, if any surround usage occurred, I never detected it. The front speakers offered fairly good stereo imaging, and some light ambience also spread across that area. The soundfield didn’t go for much ambition, but it seemed satisfying.
Audio quality was consistently good. Speech sounded warm and natural, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music didn’t demonstrate immense dimensionality, but the songs were reasonably bright and vivid. Although effects played a minor role, they were always tight and accurate. I found the mix to complement the material and work just fine.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray of New York New York compare to those of the 30th Anniversary DVD? Audio was a wash, but visuals showed improvements. The Blu-ray was tighter, with clearer colors and fewer print flaws. It offered a good step up in picture quality.
Except for some photo galleries, all of the DVD’s extras appear here. We can watch the film with an introduction from director Martin Scorsese. In this five-minute and 36-second clip, Scorsese reflects on the artifice of “old Hollywood” and his use of those styles in the flick as well as a few other appropriate topics. The director discusses his goals and helps set us up to view the movie.
Next comes an audio commentary with Scorsese and film critic Carrie Rickey. Both sit separately for this edited track. The piece starts like a house of fire, but unfortunately, it quickly stagnates.
Rickey pops up infrequently, as she mainly discusses themes and interpretation of events. Scorsese starts out with a great look at his Influences and his prior films, his desire to rework the musical, stylistic elements and what he wanted to do with the flick. Toward the end, he chats about the movie’s reception and issues connected to the Happy Endings sequence.
All of those bits are good to great. Unfortunately, the commentary comes with dead air. Lots of dead air, as a matter of fact - acres upon acres of nothing. The track suffers from so many gaps or segments with very little content that I almost bailed on it. When I review commentaries, I don’t “sample” them like some others; I sit through them in their entirety.
However, I was damned tempted to give up on this one, as all that emptiness became too much to take. The track has some good moments; it starts very well and tosses out nice material toward the end. It’s all the silence in the middle that makes this a very disappointing commentary.
After this we get a collection of 15 alternate takes/deleted scenes. All together, these fill 19 minutes and 14 seconds. Don’t expect lots of true deleted scenes, as this area mostly presents unused takes. For the new sequences, we mainly see more of what a cad Jimmy is. The different takes and the cut scenes are moderately interesting, but none of them seem any better than that.
After this comes the two-part The New York, New York Stories documentary. Taken together, these segments fill a total of 52 minutes, 28 seconds. We get movie clips, archival elements, and interviews with Scorsese, producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, and editor Tom Rolf. “Stories” looks at the Winkler/Chartoff partnership and how they developed New York. From there we hear about how Scorsese came onboard, casting and performances, influences, sets and visual choices, music and production numbers, editing and thoughts about the film’s reception and legacy.
While I can’t call this a great documentary, it offers a fair amount of good information. The structure meanders a bit at times, and we find far too many film clips; those tend to slow the piece too much. Still, the details prove revealing, and we get a good feel for the production. It’d be nice to hear from more members of the crew or cast, but this becomes an enjoyable program.
Liza On New York, New York goes for 22 minutes, eight seconds. The actor discusses growing up in show business as well as aspects of working on New York. As with the prior program, this one suffers from too many movie shots, but Minnelli fleshes out the segment with some fun stories. Of course, she tends to gush about the greatness of the others involved, but at least she adds a mix of good thoughts about her experiences.
Finally, we find commentary on selected scenes from cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs. His chat lasts 10 minutes, 14 seconds, as he talks about some technical elements. He provides a few interesting notes in this short piece. Two trailers finish off the set.
Is New York, New York an homage, a parody, or a reconstruction of classic movie musicals? That’s a good question, and not one that the flick adequately answers. It includes all of those elements but mushes them together into a plodding piece with little substance or entertainment value. The Blu-ray brings us generally positive picture and audio along with some inconsistent but usually informative supplements. I can’t recommend this dull film to new viewers, but established fans should be fairly happy with this release.
To rate this film visit the original review of NEW YORK, NEW YORK