4K UltraHD Blu-ray Review – The Deer Hunter

Adam RuhlBlu-Ray Review, MoviesLeave a Comment

The Deer Hunter – 4K UltraHD

Synopsis from the Press Release:

Winner* of five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director, and one of AFI’s Top 100 Films of All Time, The Deer Hunter follows a group of Pennsylvania steelworkers from their blue-collar lives, hunting in the woods of the Alleghenies, to the hell of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Academy Award® winners** Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken star in this unforgettable saga of friendship and courage. Experience the brutality of war and the depths of emotional strain on the human spirit in this extraordinarily powerful film classic.

Adam Says:

Before I get to my thoughts on the disc, which is exceptional, I want to add my two cents to the synopsis. If you’ve never seen The Deer Hunter before and you’re buying it to expand your knowledge of award winning cinema, or you are getting it because it’s Shout Selects first 4K disc, or whatever the reason; if you’re new to the film there are some good things to know. First off, it’s long, The Deer Hunter is three hours long, and it feels it. This is new Hollywood realism at its most indulgent so settle in. Second, try to be in a good mood, maybe have some comfort foods ready when you start because this is a bleak film. It makes Requiem for a Dream look like Airplane, it’s bleak. It opens on a grey day in a steel mill and that’s one of the highlights, it’s bleak. Finally, this film won a lot of awards, but the director’s follow-up film bankrupted a studio and almost ended his career, causing a lot of reevaluation of this film. The Deer Hunter is ‘of a moment in time’ and its reputation may or may not hold up to modern viewers, especially younger ones without context of that moment. I guess this is a long way of saying if you don’t get why it’s considered a classic it’s okay, a lot of other people don’t either, but hey, Meryl Streep.

Now onto this Collector’s Edition 4K UltraHD disc release, the first of its kind for Shout Selects. They have nailed it with a crystal-clear transfer that faithfully captures and recreates every grain on every frame. They perfectly capture all the natural imperfections of a movie shot on film. Distortions, odd colors, bits of graininess, they are not flaws in the transfer. They are the natural part of the organic filming process and lenses used to produce a film in the era before digital. It is spectacular to watch and be immersed in real film.

The extras are all included in the Blu-ray copy of the film. There are some interviews but Camino and Cazale are no longer with us and Robert, Christopher, and Meryl apparently weren’t talking.  I wouldn’t call the extras overwhelming but there are some forty minutes of deleted and extended scenes which are always welcome. The scenes are put together in one big, disorganized reel so if you’re still up for it after the 3+ hour runtime of the feature, have at it.

Special Features Include:

DISC 1: 4K UHD – Feature Film

  • Audio Commentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and journalist Bob Fisher

DISC 2: Blu-Ray – Feature Film

  • NEW We Don’t Belong Here– an interview with actor John Savage
  • NEW The War At Home – an interview with actress Rutanya Alda
  • NEW A National Anthem – aninterview with producer Michael Deeley
  • NEW This is Not About War – interview with post-production supervisor Katy Haber and Universal Marketing executive Willette Klausner
  • Audio Commentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and journalist Bob Fisher
  • Interview with film critic David Thomson
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery



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Adam Ruhl4K UltraHD Blu-ray Review – The Deer Hunter