The Scarface Bluray (Universal Home Video, 9.6) is edge-enhanced, all right, but it’s a better-looking home video rendering than I’ve ever seen before. Sharper, more vibrant, more detailed. Yes, it looks like two-thirds celluloid and one-third video game. Okay, maybe 75-25. But that, to me, is mostly okay, because it really looks good.
Particularly the well-lit outdoor scenes. Plus the hair texture and beard follicles. The sweat beads on Pacino’s face during the Little Havana dishwash scene. The shimmer of Michelle Pfeiffer‘s dress in the first nightclub scene. But the darker scenes inside Lopez Motors and the Havana Club? Not so much. And if you put your face up to the screen, the whole thing is actually pretty grainy. It leads me to doubt if Universal Home Video used the very best core elements they could find. I can’t help suspecting that if Criterion had done this, it would look a little handsomer.
I captured the death of Frank Lopez and Mel Burstin scene on my video camera, but for some reason YouTube disabled the embedding.
The one bothersome thing (and this more than anything else told me that it’s really a true capturing of the original 1983 version that showed in theatres) is the shot of the big Tony and Elvira painting inside the Montana mansion. I stood right next to that painting back in the summer of ’82 when I snuck onto the Universal lot and slipped onto the huge Scarface sound stage that held a portion of Montana’s mansion, including the upstairs office, the big red staircase and little pool. It was a high-quality oil painting, and the Bluray doesn’t capture that quality at all. The image has all kinds of digital noise all over it. Too bad.