XenForo Template Doctor Zhivago Release Date: May 4, 2010 Studio: Warner Brothers Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Warner Digibook Year: 1965 Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 3:20:00 MSRP: $35.99 THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 Standard definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Castellano 5.1, Spanish 2.0, Portuguese 2.0 Stereo Subtitles English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Castellano, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish Variable The Feature: 4.5/5 Despite being orphaned at a young age, Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) had a wonderful childhood. Raised by the Gromekos, wealthy friends of his mother, Zhivago received every opportunity to be both happy and successful. And he made the most of it, choosing medicine as his career, poetry as his art, and Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) - his guardians' only daughter - as his wife. The stage is set for a long and happy life, but that life is also being lived in the midst of the Russian Revolution. Though Zhivago's love of Tonya and his family motivates him to persist through much of the country's upheaval, it's ultimately his love for a woman named Lara (Julie Christie) that inspires him for the rest of his life. He first sees her during a medical emergency, but doesn't actually meet her until four years later when they are both providing medical support for the Russian Army. It's not until many years later that they meet again and consummate the love that developed while they worked side-by-side. Though torn between the love of his family and the love of his life, it will ultimately be the affairs of his nation that determine his course. Like a leaf caught in the wind, Zhivago's life seems largely out of his control, but as a man of deep feeling he will always act on what's in his heart. Ultimately it will produce his most enduring legacy. Though its box office success says otherwise, something in my mind makes "Doctor Zhivago" seem less popular compared to David Lean's other epics "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai." It's certainly no less masterful in its visual imagery. Sweeping vistas, impeccable production design and beautiful cinematography make it a deserving member of Lean's epic triad. Compared to the other films, it's a bit of a departure, with a protagonist who can seem exceedingly passive, and a central romance that sometimes feels iced over by the brutal Russian winters. It's true Zhivago is often a passive observer to the larger events surrounding him, but he is a physician and a poet after all; it's not in his nature to be a revolutionary. When he does take action it's as a healer, husband, father and lover. Though perhaps too privileged in his upbringing to be considered an "every man," for those he loves (including himself) he shows a tremendous bravery and strength. In regards to Zhivago's love of Lara, it does at times seem tepid and the actual screen time devoted to it is slight compared to the rest of the events. But ultimately it's not the romance that moves but the outcome of it, its legacy. Because the consequences are so much more powerful than the catalyst, it becomes enough that Zhivago finds Lara inspirational. But perhaps my impression of "Doctor Zhivago's" lesser popularity is mistaken and my comments are directed at a straw man. In any case, the film is another of Lean's films worthy of admiration. Grouped together with his preceding epics, it makes for a powerful and impressive cinematic trio. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. The image is blemish-free and exhibits excellent detail in fur, fabrics, and skin texture. Overall sharpness is similarly impressive, with only a handful of moments when things appear hazy or soft (and those issues appear inherent to the source, not a result of the transfer). The striking use of reds and yellows in the film's color palette reveals excellent depth and fidelity and consistently visible grain structure and infrequent instances of noise in darker regions indicate the absence of excessive noise reduction measures. Likewise the absence of edge ringing or halos vindicate the transfer from undue digital sharpening. Black levels are also deep and stable and contrast displays the full range of values with no obvious signs of clipping or compression. Overall it's an impressive looking image for a film celebrating its 45th year. Based on Robert Harris's report on its restoration, it took a tremendous effort to get it looking this way. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 There is limited use of the rear surround channels in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, though the front soundstage is sufficiently expansive to keep up with the scope of the film. Effects and dialogue tend to be anchored around the center channel, though there is some occasional localization of both voices and ambient sounds. Though LFE is absent, the track exhibits some impressive fullness in the bottom registers and fine details in the upper, shown off in large part by the sweeping orchestral score. Voices can sound a bit edgy at times and some line readings a bit hard to discern without the help of subtitles, but overall the track is a fine - if less impressive - complement to the image. Special Features: 5/5 The set of extras is well-rounded and thorough, offering a variety of material that should please both devoted and casual fans alike. Disc-based extras include one new and one older documentary, an engaging commentary track and a variety of artifacts from the initial theatrical release. The 48-page commemorative booklet and eight-track CD soundtrack offer some appreciated physical weight to the release. Commentary by Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger and Sandra Lean: Includes plentiful, interesting anecdotes about the production and working with Lean. There are some gaps between comments, but the three commentators show obvious excitement and fondness about their experiences. Steiger's contributions were recorded separately and edited into the track, so any interaction is solely between Sharif and Lean. Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration Part 1 (23:52, SD): 2010 documentary includes directors and producers like Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit"), Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale") and Kathleen Kennedy ("Schindler's List") talking about the adaptation of the novel to film; performances by Sharif, Christie and Steiger; characters; storytelling techniques; cinematography, and most memorable scenes. Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration Part 2 (16:13, SD): The second part of the documentary continues with the film's production design, music by Maurice Jarre, editing, overall message, critical and box office reception, and impact on the filmmaking industry. Cast and Crew: Includes filmographies for Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger, Alec Guiness, Tom Courtenay, and Ralph Richardson. Doctor Zhivago: The Making of A Russian Epic (60:23, SD): Produced in 1995 and narrated by Sharif, the documentary is thorough if at times repetitive after viewing all the additional content included in this release. However it does provide a fine and cohesive retrospective on the film, with information not found elsewhere in the special features. Zhivago: Behind the Camera with David Lean (10:12, SD): Vintage, promotional featurette provides a brief overview - with many glimpses behind the scenes - of the film's casting, locations, costuming and story elements. David Lean's Film of Doctor Zhivago (7:12, SD): Vintage, promotional featurette focuses on Pasternak's novel and its adaptation into a film. Moscow in Madrid (4:26, SD): Vintage, promotional featurette looks at the location shoots and recreation of Russia in Spain. Pasternak (8:49, SD): Vintage featurette provides a brief biography about the author, background on the novel and, of course, its adaptation into a movie. New York Press Interviews Julie Christie (10:07, SD): Includes three interviews with different journalists in a press junket environment. The footage is presented unedited and is fairly amusing for its frequent awkwardness, mostly because of how uncomfortable Christie appears. New York Press Interviews Omar Sharif (18:51, SD): The press junket continues with five interviews of Sharif, who is obviously more at ease in the situation. Geraldine Chaplin Screen Test (3:14 ,SD): Chaplin performs the letter-reading scene. This is Julie Christie (1:08, SD): Vintage, promotional piece on Christie and her role in the film. This is Geraldine Chaplin (1:08, SD): Vintage, promotional piece on Chaplin and her role in the film. This is Omar Sharif (1:08, SD): Vintage, promotional piece on Sharif and his role in the film. Chaplin in New York (2:12, SD): Extended version of the "This is" promotional piece presents Chaplin as the blossoming ingenue. Original General Release Trailer (3:40, SD) Awards: A list of the awards the film received. Collectible Book: The nicely produced book-that-is-the-packaging includes cast and crew biographies and numerous archival photographs. CD Soundtrack Sampler: Includes 1) Overture, 2) Lara's Theme (Main Title), 3) Komarovsky with Lara in the Hotel, 4) Military Parade, 5) Lara Says Goodbye to Yuri, 6) Tonya and Yuri Arrive at Varykino, 7) Yuri is Escaping, 8) End Title (Then It's A Gift). Recap The Feature: 4.5/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Special Features: 5/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5 Warner brothers turns in (after much restorative work) an impressive video transfer and suitable - if at times less impressive - audio track for David Lean's epic set during the Russian Revolution. The special features package is satisfying in its scope and detail, featuring plentiful disc-based extras and some appreciated physical items.