The Cotton Club Encore Blu-ray review

Dec 10, 2019- Permalink

Thirty-five years after its initial release, Francis Ford Coppola revisits the legendary Harlem nightspot The Cotton Club. Adding twenty-minutes to the story and changing its name to The Cotton Club Encore, Coppola’s film is a crime drama centred around the Harlem jazz club. I watched the film repeatedly when it first hit pay TV and you can’t go wrong with a cast led by Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane and Lonette McKee. The extra minutes restored to the release allow Coppola to explore some character moments cut from the theatrical release.

The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer is presented in the movie’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film originally had a lot of grain and a preference for browns in the palette to give it an older look. However primary colours still have a chance to pop, especially in the production numbers in the club. Black levels are pretty good, though there is some crush present in some of the darker scenes. Detail is crystal clear, with amazing textures on facial features, wardrobe and environmental elements. Some of the newly added scenes have a slightly different look to them, making the added sequences and moments noticeable instead of seamless.

On the audio side, the U.S. version that I reviewed had a Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, with subtitles available in English, English SDH, and Spanish. Dialogue is clean and centred, the score is dynamic and music, dance, and ambient sounds make good use of the surrounds.

The disc is a bit light on the extras. There’s a DVD version, a digital copy code, an intro by Coppola and a Q&A featuring Coppola and cast members Maurice Hines and James Remar. I would have loved to have heard a commentary track by Coppola.

As a fan of the remarkably talented Gregory Hines, I’ve always liked this film a lot. With added time giving the plot a little more room to breathe and good audio and video presentations, I’d recommend adding The Cotton Club Encore to your home entertainment library.