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Battle Of The Bulge - Short Review


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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted April 26 2005 - 12:59 PM

Like some others here there was keen anticipation at the final releasing of this film by Warners on May 3. Fortunately I was able to find a copy and will clarify what has been posted previously that total running time is indeed 170 minutes. Soundtrack remastered in 5.1 Dolby Digital along with two featurettes entitled "The Filming Of The Battle Of The Bulge " and "History Recreated". Old news to anyone aware of the dvd coming out but thought I would mention it anyway. There is also the Theatrical Trailer included. I will be viewing it shortly so a general idea of the audio and video quality will follow. Hang in there! Posted Image

The first featurette runs for 9 min. 35 sec. and is presented in full frame B&W. Image is somewhat grainy and in reasonable condition. The audio is a bit thin and shows its age. Some good shots of the actors and battle scenes with some insight on the film by Henry Fonda adding to the main narrator's comments. Interesting that $500,000 was spent recreating the village.

The second featurette ( History Recreated ) is also full frame B&W and runs for 8 min. 4 sec. Here we have an interview with both the Producer Milton Sperling as well as Robert Shaw. Mr. Sperling mentioned to the interviewer that the tanks in the movie were the same as those in the actual battle. Well, I'm no expert on WW2 but he obviously was misinformed at the time! Generally in good condition but the audio and video do show their age here too with some damage (lines, speckles) showing up here and there. Overall they are both informative and worth watching.

Lastly in mentioning extras is the Theatrical Trailer. At the moment I am watching it on a 27" tv
so I cannot say if it is anamorphic but it looks and sounds very good. Appears to be in stereo and I got a
treat out of the introduction that tells the audience:
" Warner presents in Cinerama" where you see the Warners logo appear and then fade to the Cinerama logo.

From there it takes you through various scenes with a "roll call" of the principal actors involved. Standard '60's narration and a nice treat. Total running time is 5 min. 7 sec.

#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Chuck_W

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Posted April 26 2005 - 02:19 PM

Looking forward to your impressions.
Thanks for the info!

#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 26 2005 - 03:10 PM

Fortunately I was able to find a copy and will clarify what has been posted previously that total running time is indeed 170 minutes.

Is this confirmed by timing the actual running time or by what it says on the dvd case?







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#4 of 24 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted April 26 2005 - 03:47 PM

As you all know, I do love to sit here and scratch my head, which I am currently doing while thinking about someone who gets an advance copy of a DVD and watches everything BUT the feature to see how the quality is. Note to Mr. Avery: There aren't many here who really care about the quality of the featurettes and trailer - we care about the quality of the film. Please let us know how that is, won't you?

#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted April 26 2005 - 04:23 PM

Folks,

I just finished watching the film. The box states 170 mins. The exact time of the film clocks in at 169:29 which includes the overture, intermission and exit music.

The film itself is presented in its 2.75 AR (enhanced, of course) and is absolutely gorgeous. I've yet to look at the special features but hope to have this posted in the next day or two. I think fans of the film will be very pleased.

Posted Image
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted April 26 2005 - 05:21 PM

Arthur

Guess I started on the wrong foot so to speak! Well,as I just got it this evening for some reason the featurettes were watched first - guess they picked my interest - a case of too much curosity I suppose.I apologise for not getting to the movie from the start. As for the film itself, in a word - excellent! There were some interior scenes early on that suffered a bit with mild flickeing as well as a rather disconcerting amount of increasing brightness that would fade in and out on darker scenes - thankfully brief in appearance. Still, overall it is nice and sharp and colors seemed quite accurate. The print is virtually free of dirt, sratches etc. and to sum it up I think most of you will be favourably impressed - definitely a nice effort by Warners. And some words on the audio remix to 5.1. Most of the sound and dialogue is spread across the left, right and center channels with the rears acting more as a way to enhance the soundtrack with a bit of what you might call "ambience" - nothing aggressive here. The sub was not worked much but there was enough there to at least give the tanks a welcome presence, but don't expect to rattle the walls. Explosions were not really given too much impact but at least it was acceptable.There was also alot of easy to pickup details in the soundtrack that gave it a nice overall presence. Some of you might be wondering about the train sequence - happy to report it is in this version. And as for the running time? Including the Overture, Intermission and Exit music a few seconds short of the 170 minutes indicated on the dvd. Posted Image


Herb - I hope you don't mind me jumping the gun so to speak and look forward to your always comprehensive and very informative review.

#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted April 26 2005 - 05:49 PM

Brent... Not at all. The more opinions we have here, the better.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted April 26 2005 - 07:18 PM

Thanks for the info, both of you. I'm looking forward to getting this.

#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 26 2005 - 08:52 PM

I just finished watching the film. The box states 170 mins. The exact time of the film clocks in at 169:29 which includes the overture, intermission and exit music.

Herb,
Thank you for the confirmation, I can't wait until I see my copy.







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#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Frank Anderson

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Posted April 26 2005 - 09:55 PM

One of my favorite WWII movies. If that picture Herb posted is any indication of the condition of the movie I really can't wait.

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#11 of 24 OFFLINE   DavidofLondon

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Posted April 26 2005 - 10:01 PM

Looking forward to receiving my copy of this DVD (it was posted to me Monday so I should have it in a day or so).

It's a fantastic adventure romp well acted IMHO with Henry Fonda turning in a superb performance.

But must admit I'm amused by the idea of a documentary "recreating history" being included in this DVD.

As anyone who has read up about the battle could tell you this movie is possibly one of the least accurate movies ever made about a real WW2 event.

The place names are correct and there's a few interesting nods to real events (such as the Germans in US uniforms, and the "Nuts" response). But beyond that, even ignoring the various arguments about British and US involvement in the battle, it diverges somewhat heavily from the reality of the battle.

For example the Germans didn't wait for bad weather to start the battle they'd actually planned to start the event with a massive air strike on local allied airfields to ground the allied planes. That attack couldn't go ahead because of the bad weather. The air strike actually went in as a sort of afterthought on 1st Jan 1945 long after the battle of the bulge had been decided and the Germans had lost.

#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted April 26 2005 - 11:26 PM

Yay! 28mins longer than the UK video version, thanks for the info! Can't wait for my copy to arrive.
5.1 too? oooh!Posted Image

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#13 of 24 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted April 27 2005 - 12:29 AM

And some words on the audio remix to 5.1. Most of the sound and dialogue is spread across the left, right and center channels with the rears acting more as a way to enhance the soundtrack with a bit of what you might call "ambience" - nothing aggressive here.


Brent,

Is the dialog directional?

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#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted April 27 2005 - 05:11 AM

Roland

The dialogue itself appears to be placed somewhat more at the center channel but is also mixed so that the left and right fronts are used to open it up so you get a more even sound field across the front, hope that gives you an idea of what to expect. I thought it worked pretty well.

#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 27 2005 - 05:44 AM

There's a review, with screenshots, here :

http://dvdbeaver.com...._the_bulge.htm

Also a review of BATTLEGROUND and a comparison of THE BIG RED ONE.
I've been going to bed early . . .

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted April 27 2005 - 09:01 AM

Wow! Great looking transfer, jusdging from those screen-shots and the comments from those here and Gary Tooze seem to back this up. What guts to transfer the full 2.75:1 Ultra Panavision framing. So, did Warner use a 65/70mm element for this transfer or a 35mm reduction that retained the 2.75:1 framing?

In a mid-shot or close-up, there is a lot of dead space, but the action shots in this film are amazing.


#17 of 24 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted April 27 2005 - 11:07 AM

The Greatest Story Ever Told DVD also has a 2.76:1 Ultra Panavision transfer.

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#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted April 27 2005 - 11:26 AM

What kind of element was used for Greatest Story? Let's just say it's not my favourite film. My favourite Ultra Panavision movie is Anthony Mann's, The Fall of the Roman Empire, but will we ever see a DVD of it? And will it be 2.75:1?

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted April 27 2005 - 11:40 AM

I remember seeing this movie in the theater when it first came out. I have always liked this movie.

In retrospect, it is probably not the best movie that deals with the Battle of the Bulge, but is good.

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#20 of 24 OFFLINE   RolandL

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Posted April 28 2005 - 12:36 AM

What kind of element was used for Greatest Story?


The Cinema Laser says it was transferred from 65mm elements -

http://www.thecinema....r-told-dvd.htm

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