Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 9th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1973
Director: Terence Young
Writer: Stephen Geller
Cast: Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Walter Chiari, Joseph Wiseman, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Amedeo Nazzari, Fausto Tozzi
BluRay released: June 13th, 2017
Approximate running times: 125 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
The Valachi Papers was directed by Terence Young who is most remembered for directing a trio of James Bond films, Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Thunderball. The Valachi Papers is the third of three films that Terence Young directed that star Charles Bronson. The other two films being, Cold Sweat and Red Sun.
Key collaborators on The Valachi Papers include, screenwriter Stephen Geller (Slaughterhouse-Five, Ashanti), cinematographer Aldo Tonti (Casanova 70, The Designated Victim) and composer Riz Ortolani (Mondo Candido, Cannibal Holocaust). The screenplay for the film was adapted from author Peter Maas’s novel of the same name. And said novel is true story account of Joe Valachi, a former Genovese crime family.
The narrative is told via a series of flashbacks that retrace Joe Valachi rise and fall. And just like other similar themed films, the narrative is filled with characters who fulfil their ambitions by eliminating anyone who stands in their way.
The characters are well defined and without a doubt this film’s greatest strength are said performances. With this film’s standout performance being Charles Bronson (Once Upon a Time in The West, Hard Times) in the role of this film’s protagonist Joe Valachi. Other performances of note include, Walter Chiari (The Rip-Off) in the role of a gangster who goes by the name Gap and Lino Ventura (Army of Shadows) in the role of Vito Genovese, a crime boss who sanctions a hit on Joe Valachi.
From a production standpoint, there is not a single area where this film is lacking. And nowhere is more evident then when it comes to this film’s depiction of violence. With a scene involving a character named Gap who is castrated for having an affair with Vito Genovese’s mistress.
Other standout moments include, a scene where Joe Valachi thwarts three thugs from shanking him in the prison showers. And a scene where gangsters dressed as police officers knock off the crime boss who stands in the way of Vito Genovese’s ambition to control all five crime families in New York.
The Valachi Papers comes on a 50 GB dual layer (31.1 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp and black levels remain strong throughout. Grain looks healthy and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio is in very good shape, there are no issues with background noise or distortion. Dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and the score for the film sounds appropriately robust.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight-page booklet with an essay about the film’s written by Julie Kirgo and a partial isolated music track.
Overall The Valachi Papers gets a solid audio / video presentation from Twilight Time.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.