• Busting

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: September 22nd, 2015
    Director: Peter Hyams
    Cast: Elliott Gould, Robert Blake, Michael Lerner, Allen Garfield
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie

    There have been many 70s crime dramas brought into the digital age with DVD and high def releases, but this 1974 feature from writer/director Peter Hyams remains something of an underground gem, although this Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber will hopefully increase the film's profile for a whole new generation of cinephiles rediscovering glorious tough guy cinema from this period.

    Busting stars Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as a pair of relatively small time vice cops with higher aspirations of taking down a well-connected crime lord in downtown L.A., ignorant of the fact that they just may be a bit out of their league. Hyams' script really speaks to the effortless charm of Gould and Blake as the duo of Michael Keneely and Patrick Farrel, as both chew the scenery for all its worth, particularly Gould, who leads the charge here in a performance which is nuanced, likable and impossible to ignore.

    The dialogue drops from both actors with ease, as the cops bounce along from episodic sequences busting down hookers and johns-note the stunning Cornelia Sharpe early on as a prostitute whose bust gets the ball rolling-into the cops' affairs with Allen Garfield's crime lord Rizzo. There's an atmosphere of effervescent cool dripping from the film, whether its Earl Rath's fluid cinematography, the wonderfully hazy lighting or Billy Goldenberg's excellent score, which balances both high-hat driven funk and moments of dramatic tension likely built from the composer's extensive work for television, including Steven Spielberg's classic T.V. movie Duel.

    There are tons of great moments here, not the least of which is brilliant set piece where Keneely and Farrel chase some thugs from their dingy apartment on through a very crowded marketplace. The camera follows much of the action with very few cuts, moving fast and furious during the foot chase before slowing down with palpable tension when the crooks take a hostage during the market shootout. It's exhilarating stuff, and a reminder of just how exciting this sort of material can be when placed in the hands of smart and talented individuals.


    Kino Lorber's Blu-Ray of Busting, presented in AVC encoded 1080p framed at 2.35.1, is a revelation when compared to the MOD Warner Archive disc which was released a few years back. The soft focus production value of the film looks fantastic here, with nicely rendered flesh tones and brightly popping colors during some of the more stylishly lit scenes, including an early bar scene and a sequence where Gould infiltrates a massage parlor. There's no evidence of any DNR or compression issues, and yeah...this disc frankly looks pretty great.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono sound is warm and easily decipherable, although there's quite a bit of dubbed dialogue in the film, which is noticeable, but never a problem. Extras are nice, as well, particularly a great commentary track from Elliott Gould himself, who discusses selected scenes-about half the film-with film critic Kim Morgan. Gould is still as charming and unique as ever, and has some great stories to tell about production. There's also a full length, un-moderated commentary track from director Hyams, which is comparatively dry to Gould's, yet still offers plenty of behind-the-scenes information about the film. Thankfully, the film's backing track continues to play during the moments when Hyams has nothing to say, which does tend to occur.

    The film's original trailer, as well as trailers for The Long Goodbye and Running Scared round out the extras, making this the best version of Busting available on the market.

    The Final Word

    Busting would make a great double feature with Report to the Commissioner, as both films provide a sometimes cynical view of police work, while always showcasing all of the human foibles which come along with life as a cop. Granted, the level of one's enjoyment for Busting will likely hinge upon how well this style of gritty 70s crime cinema hits the spot, but for this writer, there's little else better in the world.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I've loved this film since first seeing it on television in the late 1980s. I imported the new US Blu-ray along with Kino's Blu release of DEFIANCE but haven't had a chance to watch it yet; having never boought the US MoD DVD, I'm really glad to see BUSTING get a good home video presentation.
    1. Scyther's Avatar
      Scyther -
      Man, I can't even tell you how much I loved this one. Watching a flick three times in a night never seemed like such a joy!