HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Pan&Scan
  • Dual Sided
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
    English, French, Dutch, Arabic
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Behind the scenes footage

Midnight Express-Anniversary Edition

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 116 mins . R . PAL


True stories of people in danger - we love 'em. Nothing better than seeing something horrible happen to somebody else! Alan Parker (Evita, The Wall, The Commitments) capably directs the story of Billy Hayes, a young man caught trying to board a plane out of Turkey with a couple of pounds of hashish strapped to his stomach. Political machinations at the time lead the Turkish government to use him as an example to the US, and he is imprisoned for 30 years. The film documents the brutalities he endured before his eventual escape (oops, hope I didn't ruin the ending for anybody!).

Columbia claim that both sound and image have been digitally remastered. Let's see how well they did.


'Deluxe DUAL RATIO Presentation' screams the cover, and lo, you get a 16:9-enhanced 1.85:1 version on side A and a full-frame version on side B (the 4:3 version adds some foot- and headroom while removing information at both sides). Both transfers appear to have been taken from the same master, which is a remarkably clean print considering the age of the film. There are virtually no film artifacts to be seen, colour is bleak and muted (as you'd expect, given the tone of the picture) and detail is quite good, although there are a couple of shots where you feel you're looking through a filter, as the image seems washed out and lacking in contrast somewhat. That said, for the vast majority of the film I was very satisfied with the picture.


A fairly low-budget excursion for a major studio, Midnight Express is one of the post-Star Wars films that ignored advances in sound technology and was released in mono, which is a real shame. Dolby Stereo would have worked wonders in recreating the oppressive, reverberant qualities of the small prison cells that make up most of the locations.

The soundtrack is deficient in other ways as well. Fidelity is acceptable but the sound is quite bright and strident; if you plan to watch at cinema reference level, you will want to use cinema equalisation. At lower levels, the sound is quite listenable. Getting picky, there is noticeable, though not too intrusive use of ADR in several places, and I noticed that dialogue distorted at one point. Low-level hiss is present, though cinema EQ neatly eliminates it, and there is no noticeable hum.


For a 20th Anniversary Collector's Editon, I must admit I expected more in the way of extras. You get the standard Columbia DVD trailer (boo!), filmographies, the theatrical trailer and a 7 1/2 minute studio making-of puff-piece. Where's the Alan Parker commentary track, for example? Surely a 20th Anniversary disc deserves a reflection from the director? It's not like Parker is against commentaries - he provided tracks for special editions of Evita and The Wall...


While I enjoyed the film, it didn't strike me as something I'd want to buy, especially considering the relatively low amount of extras. I tend to prefer films with subplots and thematic undercurrents, and this film is pretty upfront and direct. You can sum it up very briefly: A guy goes to jail in Turkey, and gets hit a lot. I'd recommend you rent before you buy if you haven't seen the film before.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=126
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
      And I quote...
    - Paul Dossett
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 103(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Mitsubishi Diva 33
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha DSP-A1
    • Speakers:
          Richter Excalibur
    • Centre Speaker:
          Richter Unicorn
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
    by Paul Dossett

    Vampyros Lesbos
    "As sexy as washing your hands, but longer."

    The Chronicles of Riddick - Dark Fury
    "Like.. a bridge. Over troubled waters."

    Pitch Black: SE
    "Pitch Black: Consolidated Edition"

    Bad Taste: Special Edition
    "The bastards have landed!"

    House of Sand and Fog
    "If tragedy was pudding, you wouldn't be able to get off the couch."

      Related Links
      None listed


    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5