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(Special Edition)

From director Norman Jewison and screenwriter Barry Levinson, AND JUSTICE FOR ALL ($20) turns a darkly comic, but ultimately jaundiced eye towards a legal system running rampant with indifference, incompetence, insanity and corruption. AND JUSTICE FOR ALL stars Al Pacino as Arthur Kirkland, an attorney with a conscience, who is becoming increasingly frustrated by a corrupt legal system that doesnít care about the rights of the innocent and not so innocent people he tries to help. Arthur especially has issues with Judge Henry T. Fleming (John Forsythe), a stickler for legal details, who only sees the letter of the law and not the spirit for which the law was intended. In an ironic twist of fate, Judge Fleming is arrested for the brutal rape of a young woman, and he requests that Arthur represent him. Although he initially refuses, the Judge has powerful friends, and thus our attorney is left with the ethical choice of defending a man he utterly despises (and believes to be guilty) or face disbarment. The cast of AND JUSTICE FOR ALL also features Jack Warden, Lee Strasberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Lahti, Sam Levene, Robert Christian, Thomas G. Waites, Larry Bryggman, Dominic Chianese and Craig T. Nelson.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made AND JUSTICE FOR ALL available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. AND JUSTICE FOR ALL was released in 1979 and looks like it were made on a tight budget. Image sharpness and detail are fine for a nearly thirty-year-old film. Colors can appear a bit subdued and drab, but that appears to have more to due with the color palette for the sets and costumes than anything else. There are no problems with the black, whites or the contrast; all appear within norms for a film of this vintage. Things can appear grainy, but itís never excessive. The film elements are well preserved and display only modest blemishes. Digital compression artifacts are not a concern.

For this release, AND JUSTICE FOR ALL has been upgraded to a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Considering the talky nature of this film, the sound design does little more than spread what is essentially a monaural track. There is some music and ambience in the outlying channels. It is sometimes painful to listen to the dated music on the soundtrack, although one will not find fault with how well the DVD reproduces it. Personally, I though the music made moments in the film feel as though I accidentally flipped channels to a re-run of NIGHT COURT. Most of the age related background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving the track with a very respectable sonic quality. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. A Portuguese language track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The basic interactive menus allow one to access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a running Audio Commentary with director Norman Jewison. Featurettes include Norman Jewison: The Testimony Of The Director (twelve minutes), Barry Levinson: Cross-examining The Screenwriter (six minutes) and a Sneak Peak of the upcoming Pacino flick 88 MINUTES. Deleted Scenes, a Theatrical Trailer, Previews and the pilot episode of the TV series DAMAGES close out the supplements.

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL remains a darkly comic, yet potent look at the legal system that benefits from a great Pacino performance. The presentation is a solid representation of a three-decade-old film.



And Justice for All (1979)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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