Deer Hunter, The 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 250, June/July 2020

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Shout Factory
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Michael Cimino
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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This is the remastered Collector"s Edition of "The Deer Hunter," which received five 1978 Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken), Editing, and Sound. It tells the painful story of a group of Pennsylvanian steelworkers (De Niro, Savage, and Walken) and their lives before, during, and after the Vietnam War. The Deer Hunter is a searing drama about friendship and courage; and what happens to these qualities during the agonizing time of war. It is one of the most emotionally shattering films ever made. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and Film Journalist Bob Fisher; "We Don't Belong Here," an interview with Actor John Savage (HD 08:26); "The War At Home," an interview with Actress Rutanya Alda (HD 11:28); "A National Anthem," an interview with Producer Michael Deeley (HD 13:50); "This Is Not About War," an interview with Post-Production Supervisor Katy Haber and Universal Marketing executive Willette Klausner (SD 12:54); an interview with film critic David Thomson (HD 24:03); deleted and extended scenes (SD 39:53); the theatrical trailer; radio spots and a still gallery..

Previously reviewed in Issue 116 in the Blu-ray format and Issue 118 in the VC-1-encoded 2.25:1 HD DVD picture format, this is a new 2020 remastered 4K Ultra HD edition. Captured on film in anamorphic Panavision®, the 2.35:1 picture is remarkably well resolved, with impressively rendered details. The source element appears to have undergone extensive cleaning and no longer does the imagery appear grainy. Instead there is an impressive improvement in clarity and resolution. Acknowledgment is due to Vilmos Zsigmond, the Hungarian cinematographer, who filmed this masterpiece of classic cinema, with its captivating filmic appearance and visually engaging contrast. This 4K Ultra HD edition looks fantastically natural, with a stark realism that is ageless. The wide color palette reveals wonderfully saturated hues with improved richness and vibrancy with no glaring exaggerations. Fleshtones are naturally toned throughout. HDR contrast is well balanced with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Highlights are realistically illuminated. Detail is evident throughout that was obscured on the Blu-rays. As a result, the imagery has greater depth and dimensionality. Raw realism is exhibited throughout. This is an incredible cinematic experience that really communicates the lives of young Americans before, during, and after the Vietnam War. This new edition represents the definitive reference rendering of this classic. The picture quality will not disappoint. (Gary Reber)

Sourced from the original Dolby Stereo A and six-track 70 mm source elements, the remastered DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack still has the same problems as the previous Blu-ray but sounds just as impressively detailed and enveloping. Deep bass is applied effectively in the .1 LFE channel during key segments, which enhances the sense of shock. Ambient atmospherics are nicely produced with a surround presence that enhances the realism of the dimensionalized soundfield at every stage of the storytelling. This is a wonderful holosonic® soundfield experience, though, fidelity does still sound dated and at times distorted. At times the choral segments are powerful and fully enveloping though distorted. Rendering the soundtrack in the DTS:X or Auro-3D Immersive Sound format really emotionalizes the sonics and is recommended. (Gary Reber)