Islands in the Stream Studio: Paramount Year: 1977 Rated: PG Length: 104 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Audio: English and French Dolby Digital Mono English Subtitles Closed Captioned Special Features: None S.R.P.: $14.99, USD Release Date: March 29, 2005 After teaming up on Patton in 1970, it didn’t take to long for director Franklin J. Schaffner and George C. Scott to find another project to work on together. That project would be 1977’s film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s posthumous work, Islands in the Stream. The film has Hemingway’s stamp all over it, with his trademark themes of forlorn isolation and want, loves lost, etc. These human themes play out against a spectacular backdrop of nature’s beauty, as well as the ever-present foreboding of war. The story takes place in the Bahamas during World War II (although the film was reportedly shot in Hawaii, the beauty remains). George C. Scott delivers a fine performance as Tom Hudson, a character molded after Hemingway himself. Hudson is an artist and sculptor, serving a self-imposed exile in the Caribbean, losing touch with life, love and war. His solitude is interrupted by a visit from his three sons. It is the presence of his sons that begins to awaken Toms feelings for what he’s lost in life. It is also the presence of his sons that foretells the tragedy to come. When tragic news makes its way to Tom, he is stirred from his isolation and decides to abandon his mere existence on the island for a reawakened life on the mainland. Setting out in his boat for the U.S., fate intercedes. When Tom’s boat comes across another boat in distress - one that is transporting Jewish refugees to Cuba - he must choose whether to continue on his way, or risk everything and make his mark on the world. With gorgeous visuals and a stirring Jerry Goldsmith score backing up the action, this episodic story of a man’s existence is a fantastic piece, and an underrated film. Video The picture is anamorphically enhanced and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The print looks very clean for a film of nearly thirty years, presenting only occasional specks or scratches. The image is, for the most part, sharp and well defined, although there are some sequences that seem softer than others. Grain ranges from mild to moderate, as in the original elements. Colors are beautifully rendered, accurate and richly saturated, showing off the beautiful scenery (this is one of the most beautiful films of the seventies, owing to its picturesque locations and the wonderful work of Fred J. Koenekamp). Black levels are generally strong, with good shadow detail. Contrast is good, if a touch inconsistent. I’m generally pleased with this DVD rendition of this beautiful film. Audio The audio is presented in English or French Mono. The English mono track is adequate, if nothing to write home about. I don’t know if stereo tracks exist of Jerry Goldsmith’s beautiful score for this film, but I’d like to hear them if they do. Dialog is clear and intelligible, if limited by lack of low frequency response. The score is restrained by its monaural presentation, but seems to have a bit better frequency response than the dialog. Overall, an adequate but restrained mono track is presented. Special Features There are no special features. Final Thoughts A beautiful film, nicely rendered on DVD. No extras, but a good price.