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    The Wind and the Lion Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Warner

    May 04 2014 02:57 PM | Richard Gallagher in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    John Milius' The Wind and the Lion weaves fact and fiction into an epic tale which is exciting, literate, and spectacular (both visually and sonically). Fans of the film having been waiting for what seems like forever to see the film released in high definition, and Warner Archive has made the wait worthwhile with a superb Blu-ray transfer.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Warner Brothers
    • Distributed By: Warner Archive
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
    • Subtitles: English SDH
    • Rating: PG
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 59 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: Standard Blu-ray Keep Case
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 04/29/2014
    • MSRP: $21.99

    The Production Rating: 4.5/5


    This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead. - A statement by Secretary of State John Hay at the Republican National Convention in 1904

    In Morocco an American woman, Eden Perdicaris (Candace Bergen) and her two children are kidnapped by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli (Sean Connery), a tribal leader who is regarded as a brigand by the Moroccan government as "the last of the Barbary Pirates" by the American government. Morocco is involved in a political tug-of-war as Germany, France and Great Britain are all vying to establish influence in the country on the northwest coast of Africa. Raisuli believes that Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco is corrupt and is becoming too closely tied to the European powers. During the raid of the Perdicaris home a British friend of Eden's is killed. Raisuli, who wants to provoke an international incident which hopefully will lead to the overthrow of the Sultan, makes an outrageous ransom demand for the return of Eden and her children.

    Because Eden is an American, the kidnapping becomes a cause célèbre in the United States, where President Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Keith) is facing what is shaping up as a difficult re-election campaign in the fall. Roosevelt, recognizing that a show of strength will raise his stock among the electorate, decides to stake out a belligerent attitude toward Raisuli. When efforts to negotiate the release of the prisoners fail, Roosevelt dispatches the South Atlantic Squadron to Tangier. The strategy is to try to convince the Sultan to pay Raisuli's ransom. Failing that, a military rescue by U.S. Marines will be attempted.

    Meanwhile, Eden and her children are being held in a remote area of Morocco, far from Tangier, where a rescue will be very difficult. The children are actually impressed with Raisuli, but Eden regards him as overbearing ("He is a brigand and a lout) and she resists his charms. She plots with one of Raisuli's men to escape, but they are betrayed and turned over to a gang of robbers. Raisuli tracks down the gang and slays them, and in the process he rescues Eden and the children. Eden then realizes that Raisuli has no intention of harming them, and she finds herself fascinated as he tells her the story of his life and explains the reasons for his displeasure with the Sultan. Her resistance fades and she cannot help but be attracted to Raisuli, feelings which he reciprocates.

    Back in the Unites States, President Roosevelt decides to stir up trouble in Morocco despite the reservations of his Secretary of State, John Hay (John Huston). At one point it appears that a resolution may be at hand, but complications arise.

    Sean Connery is irresistible as the ruthless but charming Raisuli, and Candace Bergen is attractive and spirited as Eden. I would not have thought of casting Brian Keith as Roosevelt, but he does a fine job with the role, and John Huston is perfectly cast as John Hay. The script by director Milius takes more than a few liberties with historical fact (the members of the Perdicaris family who were actually kidnapped were Ion Perdicaris, a man, and his stepson). Although the American public did not know it, Perdicaris had given up his U.S. passport forty years earlier and apparently had renounced his American citizenship. Roosevelt learned about this, but he decided that it made no difference because Raisuli believed that Perdicaris was an American. That the situation helped him politically also may have been a consideration for the President.

    The Wind and the Lion is one of John Milius' best directorial efforts. The scene where Eden and her children are kidnapped from their home is particularly memorable. Milius’ script is entertaining and intelligent, and this wonderful Blu-ray is highly recommended.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The 1080p high-definition image, encoded with the AVC codec, appears to be properly framed at 2.40:1. It opens with the original MGM Golden Anniversary logo. The image is highly detailed and free of any dirt or damage. Colors are accurate and solid, black levels are very good and shadow detail is excellent. There is no sign of excessive digital cleanup and the result of a fully satisfying, film-like appearance. The outstanding cinematography by Billy Williams has been treated very kindly.

    Audio Rating: 5/5

    Technical specs for The Wind and the Lion indicate that the 70 mm prints had six-track audio while 35 mm prints had mono audio. The audio of the Blu-ray is DTS HD-MA 5.1 English, and it sounds spectacular to my ears. Dialogue is clear and understandable, but the surround channels really kick in during the action scenes. Jerry Goldsmith's excellent score is given a wide and enjoyable soundstage.

    English SDH subtitles are available for viewers who need them.

    Special Features: 2.5/5

    The most significant extra is a commentary track by Writer-Director John Milius, who expounds upon all of the significant influences which affected his approach to the film. He calls it a "very Kipling-esque" film and also acknowledges that his visual style was influenced by Lawrence of Arabia.

    A promotional behind-the-scenes featurette is shown in 4:3 and has a running time of 9 1/2 minutes. Particular emphasis is placed upon showing how the spectacular battle scenes were shot.

    The original theatrical trailer does a good job of showing what the film is about. It has not been restored and displays some damage but it is very watchable.

    Overall Rating: 4.5/5


    The Wind and the Lion is yet another fine Blu-ray release by Warner Archive and it can be ordered directly at the Warner Archive Website. It is highly recommended.

    Reviewed by: Richard Gallagher
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    14 Comments

    Great review.

    Interesting that the trailer has John Huston as Hay refer to 'Mr. Ion Pedicaris and his family', and that the shot of the marines forming up in the harbor is missing the matted in fleet in the harbor.
      • Richard Gallagher likes this

    I am glad to read that this was done well.   Are you going to review "Hit the Deck"?

      • Everett Stallings likes this
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    Richard Gallagher
    May 05 2014 12:11 PM

    I am glad to read that this was done well.   Are you going to review "Hit the Deck"?

     

    Yes, that's next.

    Since my review materials didn't come in today, I watched this one this afternoon. What a beautiful transfer, another winner for Warner Archive Blu-ray! They haven't turned out a loser yet picture and sound-quality wise.

     

    Thank you so much, Warner Archives!

      • Richard Gallagher and Jack K like this

    Warner did do a great job with this film. Now if we can them to release THE GREAT RACE and RYANS DAUGHTER.

      • SAhmed and ahollis like this
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    Billy Batson
    May 06 2014 01:48 AM

    Warner did do a great job with this film. Now if we can them to release THE GREAT RACE and RYANS DAUGHTER.


    I used to think those two titles were far too big for a release on Warner Archive, but I'm not so sure now, to most people they're just two old movies.

    I used to think those two titles were far too big for a release on Warner Archive, but I'm not so sure now, to most people they're just two old movies.

     

    I think of Blu ray as a movie connoisseur's medium.  At that, folks who see film like these as "just two old movies" need to stick with Netflix.  :B)

      • Matt Hough likes this
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    Giles Linnear
    May 07 2014 03:54 AM

    And this old movie did sell out on Amazon within a week...

    And this old movie did sell out on Amazon within a week...


    Yes it did 😄
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    Billy Batson
    May 09 2014 09:39 AM
    Now back in stock, just ordered it. I got tired of waiting for it to come up on Amazon UK Marketplace, & price about the same (a tiny bit cheaper in fact).
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    Billy Batson
    May 30 2014 07:28 AM

    Now back in stock, just ordered it. I got tired of waiting for it to come up on Amazon UK Marketplace, & price about the same (a tiny bit cheaper in fact).

     

    It arrived today, around three weeks from America to England is about average these days. Had a quick look at it & it looks great, a lovely solid & colourful picture.

    Eden Pedicaris is the character Bergen portrayed.

    Watched this film again tonight and all I can say is this is one  of the greatest epics ever put on film WIND AND THE LION can stand up against LOA anytime. Everything comes together perfectly--cinematography-- music[which should of won  oscars] editing-- acting[Brian Keith should of won an oscar]And the bluray transfer is one of the best I have seen. Bravo! John Millius.

      • Reed Grele, theonemacduff and atfree like this
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    theonemacduff
    Oct 21 2014 06:43 PM

    Yeah, I saw this first at a campus rep house, only in 16mm, but still nice and bright, for the most part. Loved Brian Keith, and thought he did an amazing job of presenting Teddy in all his spectacular buffoonery, for public consumption, and his sharp intelligence underneath. A tricky thing for an actor to do, and always a temptation to junk the intelligence, and overplay the comedic aspects; and of course, Houston makes a great foil for Keith. Favourite shot: Teddy making like a bear towards the stuffed animal he himself shot. And the locations -- my word, the film has scope, which Milius just packs in effortlessly. Nice rifles throughout too; does Milius comment on the weaponry as we see it? He is a gun nut after all.