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The Blu-ray looks great, but disappointing liberties were taken with the music.
on January 30, 2015
The Blu-ray version of this classic caper looks great*, but the wonderful Oscar-winning interpretation of Marvin Hamlisch's adaptation of Scott Joplins piano rags were futzed with. For instance, the number over the opening credits, "The Entertainer", had a very specific, old fashion sound in the theatre (on the previous DVD, release, as well)... and here the number is lifted from the soundtrack released on CDs (and back in the day: LPs and cassettes), which had a different sound. Beautiful music, of course, but that special STING sound that I'm certain director George Roy Hill wanted is now missing. This is also evident in "Pineapple Rag", the number we hear when Gondorff's right-hand men (J.J. Singleton, Kid Twist and Eddie Niles) are being gathered by Gondorff via the famous finger brushed aside the nose. The one featurette is fun, but the special features are lacking, here. For example, nobody talks about the beautiful artwork that bookends the film and headlines each "chapter" of the movie. Nor is there any mention of Albert Whitlock's wonderful matte paintings.
*Back to the look of the film on this Blu-ray edition, there is a moment early on when Johnny Hooker is walking with Eerie Kid after visiting Luther. The color of Hooker's suit is incorrect (it looks black when in reality it is rust-colored with stripes). Once Lt. Snyder drives up and attacks Hooker, though, the proper color has returned. I wonder what happened there!