I recalled it being far better than it is.
Shot mostly on location in Pearl Harbor, with some location work in San Diego and San Francisco.
Shot in beautiful black & white by Loyal Griggs (Shane, The Ten Commandments, White Christmas – all Paramount), it was blown up to 70mm for special performances. The score is by Jerry Goldsmith. It’s a high-end piece of technical work.
Even models used in the battle sequences were large in comparison to the norm, allowing a more realistic feel.
To me, the film loses ground with it’s screenplay, which moves away from war drama, and for it’s 165 minute length, brings in enough secondary personal drama to turn parts into something akin to a WWII soap opera.
And yet, it’s still a quality watch over half a century in.
The new Blu-ray from Paramount, nicely priced at $13 is well worth the price. However, all is not what it might have been.
Presumably with a image harvested from a fine grain, the overall look and feel of the film is decidedly a notch above okay. While the gray scale is generally pleasing and complete in many sequence, it loses ground in others.
Viewed from a nominal seating distance, it generally looks fine, except in cases where the timing might have been a bit better.
Grain structure seems either reduced or derived from a master that’s less than new, and many shots also show minor ringing.
Nothing horrible here, and not what would be expected of a modern release. But this is a $13 disc, and allowances must be made.
Audio is 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, and while it doesn’t sound pure and original, it does the job.
As to other actors making appearances, there are many that will be recognized.
Franchot Tone (Mutiny on the Bounty ’35, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer), Brandon De Wilde (playing Mr. Wayne’s son), Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Jill Haworth (a Preminger alum), Dana Andrews, Stanley Hallway, Burgess Meredith, Carroll O’ Connor, Slim Pickens, George Kennedy, Bruce Cabot (he saved Fay Wray from the gorilla), Larry Hagman, Hugh O’Brien…
And in probably the best (especially by it’s length) performance in the film, Henry Fonda.
If I might have a single major gripe about this release is would be the cover art, which makes little sense when one might have the work of a bona fide graphic genius leading the marketing charge.
View media item">
Image – 4
Audio – 4
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD – Certainly
Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.