White of the Eye appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As the movie starts, the disc informs us that “sharpness, grain and clarity fluctuate during the film as director Donald Cammell used different stylistic choices during filming, including a ‘bleach bypass’ process during some scenes.”
Those decisions meant it became a challenge to rate the picture quality of Eye. While I suspect the Blu-ray accurately replicated the source, the image came with obvious ups and downs.
As noted by the Blu-ray’s statement, sharpness appeared inconsistent. At times, the movie looked pretty accurate and concise, but a fair amount of soft, ill-defined elements appeared. Overall delineation was average, I’d say. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes. With all that grain on display, I suspected no digital noise reduction concerns, and print flaws remained minimal; I saw a few small specks and nothing more.
Colors varied. The movie usually opted for a sandy-red palette that reflected the Arizona setting. These hues could be a little overbearing, but they were usually acceptable. Blacks seemed reasonably deep, and low-light shots offered fairly good clarity.
Eye wasn’t an especially attractive image, but it mostly showed the film as intended – I guess. I’m taking a leap of faith with my rating of “B—“, as the image on screen would objectively be more of a “C”. I’m hoping that the soft, fuzzy sequences did stem from the source.
Less equivocal pleasures came from the surprisingly solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Eye. While the soundfield didn’t dazzle, it opened up matters in a satisfying manner, especially in the forward channels. Surround usage seemed modest, but the front speakers boasted good movement and localization. Music offered solid stereo presence, and effects added life to the proceedings.
Audio quality held up well over the last 28 years. A little edginess occasionally impacted speech, but the lines remained intelligible and reasonably natural – even with some iffy looping. Effects seemed fairly accurate, and music showed nice range and clarity. A little hiss became a minor distraction, but this was usually a pleasing soundtrack.
As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from Donald Cammell biographer Sam Umland. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, themes, influences and interpretation, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography, visual design, and related subjects.
Umland mostly touches on story/interpretation topics, and that usually works well. At times, he semi-narrates the film, but Umland still gives us some good insights. Combined with a decent array of production details, this turns into a fairly satisfying chat.
A few featurettes follow. Into the White goes for 11 minutes and offers comments from director of photography Larry McConkey,. He discusses his relationship Cammell as well as his work on the film. McConkey offers a good collection of notes, especially when he gets into the challenges related to working with Cammell.
During the 17-minute, 51-second Into the Vortex, we get a chat with actor Alan Rosenberg. He talks about his performance as well as a mix of experiences during the production. Though not quite as fascinating as McConkey’s piece, Rosenberg gives us a useful perspective on the movie.
Next we find Eye of the Detective, a 15-minute, 36-second conversation with actor Art Evans. Like Rosenberg, Evans goes over aspects of his character/performance and elements of the shoot. This becomes another engaging chat.
Two Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 31 seconds. Because the original audio was lost, these come with commentary from Umland. He gives us info about the silent segments so they’ll make sense. Both show Joan at her thrift shop job. They offer some decent expository material.
We also get an Alternate Credit Sequence (2:27) as well as a Bleach Bypass Sequences (11:50). “Credit” is waste of time, as literally the only difference comes from the fact the final film adds a mention that the script was based on a novel. Everything else remains identical.
“Bypass” lets us see what a mix of movie scenes look like without the bleach technique applied. It’s moderately interesting to see them presented in a less stylized manner.
A second disc presents a DVD copy of Eye. It includes all the same extras as the Blu-ray.
Odd but often compelling, White of the Eye creates a reasonably interesting thriller. It deviates from the norm just enough to become intriguing, though it lacks consistency – and goes off the rails at the end. The Blu-ray offers mostly good picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Eye doesn’t totally satisfy, but it stays involving.