IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'All the President's Men'

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 09:56 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'All the President's Men'

Journalism as we know it may not be long for this world, but thanks to All the President's Men, the noble profession is documented with unparalleled verisimilitude and genuine tension that may very well come as a surprise to modern audiences who depend on visual effects to provide their thrills.

All the President's Men hitting Blu-ray this Tuesday, November 12th.  This masterful chronicle of the story that brought down the President of the United States reveals that its power has only grown since its debut almost forty years ago.

The film is old school in the best possible way.  It's a movie about real-life dedicated professionals and it stays squarely focused on their jobs.  It's a movie that consists almost exclusively of dialogue scenes, yet that is never less than riveting, that never gives a full sense of these characters' lives outside the story, yet that never fails to make these figures feel like real people.  Aside from a throat-grabber of an opening in which each typewriter strike hits with the impact of a gunshot, director Alan J. Pakula keeps the style stripped down and workmanlike in the best sense.

As in actuality, a seemingly unremarkable break-in at the Watergate Hotel in 1972 snowballs into the greatest American political scandal of the twentieth century, leading to President Nixon's resignation.  At the center of the story is the story itself, with Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein methodically, doggedly, pursuing the truth all the way to the White House. 

Robert Redford (The Sting) and Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) star as Woodward and Bernstein, with Jack Warden (Shampoo) as Post metro editor Harry Rosenfeld, Martin Balsam (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) as managing editor Howard Simons, Jason Robards (Philadelphia) as executive editor Ben Bradlee, and Hal Holbrook (Magnum Force) as the infamous informant known for decades only as "Deep Throat," only recently revealed as FBI Deputy Director W. Mark FeltNed Beatty (Deliverance) and Jane Alexander (The Cider House Rules) also lend support, helping bring William Goldman's peerless screenplay to life.

Seeing All the President's Men in high-definition on Blu-ray is like seeing the film again for the first time.  The video transfer truly does justice to the work of cinematographer Gordon Willis, bringing out fine detail in newsroom scenes and preserving the deep shadows in which Deep Throat hides his true identity.  The transfer also strikes just the right balance between crisp, high-tech sharpness and grainy agedness, preserving a sense of the original theatrical presentation and the film's age.

A DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track, meanwhile, keeps the dialogue at the forefront but still captures the sense of bustling activity at the Post and David Shire's musical score.

This two-disc special edition also comes fully loaded with a variety of extras providing insight into the making of All the President's Men

The Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary "All the President's Men Revisited," narrated and executive produced by Redford himself, examines not just the film, but how the Watergate scandal altered American politics.  Redford, who initially purchased the rights to Woodward and Bernstein's book, contributes a thoughtful commentary track that never flags in detail on the actual history or the film's production.  "Telling the Truth About Lies: The Making of All the President’s Men" is a twenty-eight-minute look behind the scenes, while "Pressure and the Press: The Making of All the President’s Men" is a vintage special from 1976.  Similarly, an interview excerpt from Dinah! showcases Jason Robards, who won an Oscar for his performance.  Two additional featurettes, "Woodward and Bernstein: Lighting the Fire" and "Out of the Shadows: The Man Who Was Deep Throat" look at the real-life figures and their movie counterparts.  Finally, a theatrical trailer transports viewers back in time.

Check out All the President's Men on Blu-ray this week.  You won't regret it.

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