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The Two Jakes
Special Collector's Edition

review by Zach B.



MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 137 minutes

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Meg Tillie, Madeleine Stowe, Eli Wallach, Rubén Blades, Frederic Forrest, David Keith and Richard Farnsworth

Written by: Robert Towne

Directed by: Jack Nicholson


Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $19.99

Features: Jack on Jakes, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, Portuguese Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (14 Scenes)

Released: November 6th, 2007



It's not perfect, but the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer gets the job done pretty well. In all, the transfer is pretty sharp, and the print is rather clean too - not to mention there's no edge enhancement. Fleshtones are quite nice, detail is lovely and color saturation is well done and rather bold: be it the California streets, or the bright orange and yellows of the oil fields. Unfortunately though, contrast on this transfer is turned up way too high: there is a tremendous amount of noise, edge halos and shimmering which is quite distracting. Also, at times the image quality is a bit soft and it can be a bit grainy. Still, the transfer is pleasing to the eyes overall and watchable, despite the imperfections.


I was pretty surprised in just how robust the English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounded. Dialogue is clear and very easy to hear, and the surrounds are pretty visceral - be it on-goings at Gittes' agency, car motors purring or background noises on the streets. The music sounds really great too - Van Dyke Parks' score really pumps a lot of life into the track, as there's a lot of depth to the compositions that highlight the second story of Gittes. Subwoofer use is decent, and dynamic range is pretty strong. This is actually a pretty captivating mix, given what is on screen.

Dolby Surround tracks are available in English, French and Spanish, and there's also a Portuguese mono track. Subtitles are in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, and there's English closed captions.


The only real supplement is the 18 minute Jack on Jakes. It is a fantastic watch, as Nicholson seems to be quite passionate about the film. He touches on a lot of topics with plenty of fascinating stories: how it took years to get this follow-up off the ground, how he stepped in to direct just to get the film made, Nicholson's love of behing behind-the-camera, his choices for casting, the themes of the story and his impressions on the film's disappointing reception. Nicholson's insights are really quite interesting.

There's also the Theatrical Trailer. Why couldn't this and the Nicholson piece both be in anamorphic widescreen? Bah.


"The Two Jakes" may not hold a candle to "Chinatown," but perhaps it is not as bad as the reputation it has gotten over the years. Too bad the film wasn't much of a success - Robert Towne envisioned "Chinatown" as a trilogy originally, with 11 years between each story, so I'm certainly curious what Jake Gittes would have been up to in the late 1950s. This new "Two Jakes" DVD though is a must for completists, especially for the Nicholson interview.