SRP $28.99 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1 WARNER BROS
SRP $19.99 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 WARNER BROS

WARNER BROS. has released the eagerly awaited classic from the '70s, "DELIVERANCE" on dvd as well as blu-ray and hd-dvd.  Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds star in this great film, focusing on a group of friends, getting together for a weekend camping trip, which abruptly turns into a nightmare when they encounter mountain folk intent on killing them. For those who've wondered whether Reynolds can act, his performance here proves that with the right role, he's sensational. It's impossible to think of anyone else being as convincing as he does in his role as the tough guy of the group, the one everyone can depend on coming through at the right moment. Ned Beatty is also terrific, as is Ronny Cox. Voight is....Voight! He's always terrific and he's the conscience of the story, contributing to a powerful climax that's gone unmatched in its intensity since its release date of 1972!!!

WARNER BROS has released "DELIVERANCE" on dvd before, but the new remaster for dvd and blu-ray, is notably better than previous releases. Utilizing day for night photography and other difficult process shots, previous versions never held up that well. The new transfer offers deeper colors, stunning detail and more accurate fleshtones in many scenes. Darker scenes often come across flat, but it's most likely du to the "night" scenes having been shot in "day for night" photography, a process wherein lack of detail is inherent. Grain is still problematic at times, but the overall quality of the new transfer more than makes up for these moments.  There are more than a few scenes wherein the image pops off of the screen(at least on blu-ray!), but in spite of the many potentially dazzling outdoor settings, much of the film is flatter than we'd expected. Detail is impressive, and the blu-ray is notably superior to the dvd, with deeper blacks and grays and better overall detail. The correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio is intact, demonstrating why pan&scan is so detrimental to the impact of a great film like this.

WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.  It's not an aggressive mix, but ambient effects kick in during some key moments, adding to the tension of some of the perilous white water scenes. Separation is focused on the front soundstage. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. While not as involving as we'd have liked, it's notably better than the previous dvd versions.  The blu-ray version offers better dynamic range than the standard dvd.

Warner Bros. has provided great extras for these releases. An optional audio commentary with Director John Boorman offers great insight into the filmmaking process. While technical in sections, there's a lot of info about the actors and adaptation process that's entertaining for general film lovers as well!

There are some great featurettes as well.