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Prince Of The City Blu-ray Review

“Prince Of The City” is hampered by immense overacting.

Based on the novel by Robert Daley AND based on the real life Detective Robert Leuci, 1981’s “Prince Of The City” revolves around a cocky, young Detective (Danny Ciello) who is a married father that is devoted to his job. He has a tight bond with his fellow Special Investigating Unit officers who bust criminals and operations by any means necessary. After being approached by the Assistant District Attorney (Cappalino) who is looking into police corruption, Danny decides to cooperate with the authorities by becoming an informant to possibly avoid being prosecuted (although he withholds a ton of secrets). As he attempts to take down fellow cops among others, Danny’s life begins to spiral out of control as he becomes guilt stricken and conflicted. On top of that, his life is in mortal danger and he has to be tailed by a security detail.

Directed and co-writer Sidney Lumet (who wrote the film alongside Jay Presson Allen) had a distinguished film career as he helmed classics like “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Network,” “12 Angry Men,” and “Serpico” (which “Prince Of The City” shares similarities to). Alas, ‘Prince’ is not among his finest work.

Clocking in at a long 167 minutes, “Prince Of The City” is undoubtedly an ambitious story about corruption, morality, law, truth, lies, redemption and broken law and order systems. Despite its meaty content, however, “Prince Of The City” never quite reaches the heights it goes for. Not only does it fail to dig deep into the themes and questions it proposes during its tedious length, but visually the movie looks more like an old school TV series rather than a movie. It lacks the cinematic qualities that we’ve come to know and expect from Lumet’s work. 

Where ‘Prince’ really stumbles is with Treat Williams. Boy does he chew scenery here to put it kindly. There’s actors who go big and then there’s Treat Williams as Danny in this movie. Not only are the character’s outbursts entirely unnatural, but his wild swings of emotion are beyond comprehension. It’s hard to take the movie seriously when Williams is so cartoonish in scenes. He was simply was not right for this role. There are some solid performances in the cast though particularly with Jerry Orbach, Bob Balaban, Lance Henriksen and Norman Parker. 

“Prince Of The City” is available on the Warner Archive Shop on Amazon.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? For the most part, this new print looks tremendous although there are a few shots with title cards that look rough.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 2.0 track is a little too muted, but it’s adequate.

Extras include an archival featurette that contains interviews with Robert Leuci (the real Danny Ciello), cast and crew members, and stories about the production titled “Prince Of The City: The Real Story” and a theatrical trailer for “Prince of the City.”

September 8, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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