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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
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Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Fox Twilight Time
Jun 10 2014 01:28 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Studio: Fox
- Distributed By: Twilight Time
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Rating: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 46 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray
- Case Type: keep case
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Region: All
- Release Date: 06/10/2014
- MSRP: $29.95
The Production Rating: 4/5Finding themselves marooned on a small island in the south Pacific in 1944, Roman Catholic nun Sister Angela (Deborah Kerr) and Marine Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum) must do the best they can to survive until they can hopefully be rescued by Allied forces in that area of the Pacific. At first, they’re alone, but relatively soon, Japanese troops arrive to use the island as a base of operations making it more difficult for the hidden duo to get food for themselves or prevent discovery. Over the course of days as each looks out for the other, tender feelings develop between the two. The marine declares his love for the sister and begs her not to take her final vows (which were one month away at the time of her abandonment), but while her feelings run deep for her new friend, Sister Angela knows that her heart has already been promised and must find a way to let the corporal down as easily as possible so they can still have a chance of rescue.
John Huston collaborated on the script with John Lee Mahin based on a novel by Charles Shaw. The amusingly odd couple have a wonderfully involving series of adventures, some funny (a tussle with a turtle, a sing along to “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”) and some quite tense (an extended, beautifully directed sequence where Allison infiltrates the Japanese camp to get food and later blankets for the ailing sister). Huston stages the Japanese finally tracking and locating the hidden pair quite unusually – from their point of view where only what they hear can raise the hackles of both them and us before a surprise conclusion to the proceedings. Until then, though, the slowly building and beautifully sustained camaraderie between the rough marine and the delicate nun is continually interesting (little surprise the two actors reunited a few years later for another memorable adventure together – The Sundowners), and the location photography by Oswald Morris (the West Indies substituting for the Pacific near Fiji) providing appetizing visuals to go along with the involving Oscar-nominated screenplay.
Deborah Kerr earned both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for this film (made in the same year as her almost equally popular An Affair to Remember) and won the New York Film Critics award for her soft spoken, most engaging Sister Angela, and Robert Mitchum is every bit her equal as Corporal Allison, not the big blustery oaf one might have expected but actually a simple man with sensitivities that are often quite unexpected. Their teamwork in the film offers them each individually and as a pair the wonderful opportunity to explore their characters from practically every imaginable angle, and the results are bracing and imminently watchable.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The film’s 2.35:1 original Cinemascope aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in an appealing 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. While sharpness isn’t always razor-edged, the images are always clear, and the transfer is thoroughly pristine with no age-related artifacts. While black levels might not be the ultimate in depth, color is wonderfully saturated with especially impressive lush greens and believable flesh tones especially the noticeable contrast of Mitchum’s sun-baked skin to Kerr’s milky textured, freckled look. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix offers a solid audio experience with the dialogue clear and clean (except in moments where the actors mutter to themselves or mumble in delirium) and Georges Auric's music and the effective sound effects of the island jungle noises and the bombardments of the warring nations coming through without distortion. No age-related hiss, crackle, or pops are present to mar the listening experience.
Special Features: 3/5Isolated Score and Effects Track: offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono.
Movietone Newsreels (10:26, SD): seven newsreel snippets in montage featuring both World War II in the Pacific updates with some clips from 1957 Hollywood award ceremonies for the Photoplay, Golden Globe, and Oscar ceremonies.
Theatrical Trailer (3:14, SD)
Six-Page Booklet: presents an array of color and black and white stills, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s astute analysis of the movie.
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