The Cotton Club: Encore - 4K UHD DigitalOverview -
The best in Jazz and the worst in crime come together in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club Encore. With a fresh restoration and including nearly 20-minutes of new footage, what was a problematic romance drama becomes a bigger and better film with an expanded cast presence and better character drive and resonance. If you thought you saw The Cotton Club, it's time to take a look at Encore. Available in 4K UHD without any HDR processing and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the image offers a fine improvement in overall detail with little other notable improvements. Recommended
We have also reviewed the Blu-ray HERE
In this lavish, 1930s-era drama, Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club becomes a hotbed of passion and violence as the lives and loves of entertainers and gangsters collide. Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s extraordinary film is brought to vivid new life in The Cotton Club Encore. Featuring never-before-seen scenes and musical sequences that deepen and enrich the storylines, this remastered and beautifully restored version represents Coppola’s fully realized vision of The Cotton Club.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Francis Ford Coppola's jazz crime epic gets to dance to a new better tune in The Cotton Club Encore. There's a lot of actual history presented in this tap-dancing melodrama and now with new footage, the film feels like it found its soul and rhythm.
Read our Blu-ray Review.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K UHD Streaming
Available in native 4K on streaming services AppleTV, VUDU, Google Play, and Fandango Now. For this review, it was viewed on VUDU with a wired 75mbps connection. None of the slim bonus features on the Blu-ray ported over.
Available in native 4K SDR 2160p - The Cotton Club Encore only enjoys a modest improvement over its 1080p counterpart. Without a basic HDR10 pass or even a Dolby Vision presentation, the only true improvement for this film is a slight increase in overall detail. While far from being a night and day improvement, I have to point to the details in clothing and production design. The song and dance numbers gain some extra pop - the more elaborate the costume the better it looks. Black levels also are slightly improved allowing for a tad bit of separation from true blacks and crush - but still teeters pretty darn close. Colors are virtually identical as I saw no notable difference in primaries or flesh tones. Now while the details are stronger overall, I'm not blown away with the grain presence here. The 1080p Blu-ray has prominent but natural and normal-looking film grain. The film grain for this streaming presentation could appear gloopy and clumpy at times - especially during fast-action moments like the street shooting sequence midway through the film. It's not a complete disaster scenario, it doesn't ruin the overall presentation, but it can be a little distracting when it crops up.
The lack of any HDR here should be your deciding factor if you're stuck choosing between the 1080p Blu-ray or this 4K SDR streaming presentation.
This streaming presentation forgoes the solid Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 track for a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Mix that more or less replicates the same presentation - only it's a bit softer where it counts. For comparison sake, I switched between the Blu-ray and the streaming during key points like the Cotton Club dance numbers, the tap round at the Hoofer's Club, and sequences with heavier action sound effects. While dialog came through fine, the bigger sound effects just didn't have the same punch to them. They came through softer. Dialing up my volume about 4 notches higher than normal seemed to fix that issue. Otherwise, the mix is fine and gets the job done. But for the softness, I'm giving the Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 mix the edge.
None of the bonus features available on the Blu-ray ported over to the VUDU digital streaming presentation. Not a big loss overall.
One of Francis Ford Coppola's more notable flops upon initial release, the legendary director lets his film dance to a new tune with The Cotton Club Encore. Characters have more depth to them. Events are allowed room to breathe, and the extra song and dance sequences showcase some of the finest talents committed to film all in one picture. The film itself may be a bit clunky still, but it's far and away better than what came out in 1984. If you think you've seen The Cotton Club, it's time for you to take a look at Encore and reevaluate the film for yourself.
Available in native 4K in streaming only, The Cotton Club Encore enjoys only a modest improvement in overall detail levels. Without an HDR color timing, there is only a little difference in the 4K stream and the 1080p Blu-ray. I felt the streaming audio was also a bit softer as well so that's something to consider. This isn't the brightest and best example of what 4K UHD can offer, but it's a well-detailed image that offers a slight improvement over its Blu-ray counterpart. If you've moved on from owning physical media, you should be happy with the overall presentation as the film's new cut elevates it from being one of Francis Ford Coppola's embarrassing box office flops to a worthy career achievement. Recommended.
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