PictureCinderella Man is presented in a nice 2.35:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer. The detail is generally very good indeed, with clarity throughout, negligible edge enhancement, but a little too much grain, particularly in the darker sequences. The colour scheme is obviously dictated by the era, given a sepia look of predominant browns, but the colours - particularly in the ring - are all fairly well represented. Blacks are solid and deep and overall the transfer is very good, exhibiting no signs of print damage whatsoever.
SoundThe main soundtrack is a powerful Dolby Digital 5.1 effort, with clear and coherent dialogue (despite the various heavy accents) that predominantly comes from the frontal array. The sound effects - most notably the heavy punches - come from all around and really hit home throughout the surround channels. The score is possibly the most noteworthy, however, whether subtly playing out during the more moving, emotional moments, or really rousing you into the action during the fight and it dominates the rears more than the other elements of the soundtrack. There is even a little bass thrown in to rumble your living room.
ExtrasThere are only a few extras on this particular release (and it is the kind of film which is crying out for a two-disc special edition), but they are still quite nice additions to the movie. First up we get a bunch of Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by the Director Ron Howard. There are basically six extra scenes, along with an introduction by Ron Howard, explaining why they were edited out. We get an extra four minutes after the opening Madison Square Gardens fight (which is a lot of largely unnecessary talk), a minute of one dock worker getting upset about not being chosen for work, three minutes' of them improvising a splint for Jimmy's hand, an extended version of the scene where they put shoe polish on his hand so that he can work, a sequence where he is in the Soup Line and finally a nice four-minute montage sequence, which is noteworthy mainly for an interesting monologue by Russell Crowe's character (including a clip that can be seen in the trailer, but which obviously was not left in the final cut).
Ringside Seats is a ten-minute featurette about the movie's production, with interview clips from the Director as well as Russell Crowe and some of the other participants. Most interestingly there is some archive footage of the original fight between Braddock and Baer (which the contributors comment on, round by round) making this a must-see for fans of the movie and the true story that it is based on.
VerdictCinderella Man is a classic tale of someone at the top hitting rock bottom and having to work their way back up (comparable in story to many of Cruise's earlier movies, even Top Gun or Days of Thunder), it is a story which has been done a thousand times before and yet, with its basis on a true story and with its resoundingly good performances and cinematography, the movie remains fresh and watchable and thoroughly moving. The video presentation is generally good and the main audio track is rousing. Although the extras are a little lacking in quantity, they are still worth watching and the disc is definitely a must-have for your collection. Highly recommended viewing.
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