- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS Digital Surround 2.0, Spanish DTS Digital Surround 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: June 7, 2011
- List Price: $14.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Avid baseball and Yankee fan Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally) directed this 2001 TV-movie for HBO Films. It is a look back at the summer of 1961 and the race between New York Yankees baseball legends Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris (Barry Pepper) to break Babe Ruth’s 1927 single-season record of 60 home runs. With the press and fans against Maris, turning him into the bad guy, and the baseball commissioner ruling that any record would not count, bearing an asterisk unless it was achieved in 154 games, rather than the new 162-game-long schedule, the film follows the travails of the quiet ballplayer Maris versus the outgoing yet waning hero Mantle. You see the interaction between the players on and off the field, their struggles to cope with the mental and physical challenges of the sport, and the camaraderie of the teammates in the grueling schedule as the boys of summer head into history and the record books.
61* looks beautiful in this new high definition 1080p Blu-ray release. The numerous outdoor scenes of the baseball games in particular look really strong, with bright colors and natural flesh tones. There is an even layer of grain that imparts a strong film-like quality as well.
Audio is strong as well in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, really opening up during game sequences surrounding one in the sounds of the stadium with crowd noises and the stadium announcers on the PA. Dialogue is clear and clean as well.
For baseball fans, the Mantle and Maris bios, hitting, and field stats included here will be a real plus, but the Billy Crystal audio commentary is surprisingly dull for this actor/comedian.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Audio Commentary with Billy Crystal
- The Greatest Summer of My Life: Billy Crystal and the Making of 61* (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 0:51.39)
- Mickey Mantle Bio and Hitting/Fielding Stats
- Roger Maris Bio and Bitting/Fielding Stats
- Roger Maris’ 1961 Home Run List
The Definitive Word
As the current baseball season heads into full swing, this is a near pitch-perfect look back at the game’s golden years, one of its momentous occasions, when Maris broke the Babe’s home run record in an era before doping tainted the record books. This is a must-have for sports fans of all ages.
Additional Screen Captures