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Blu-ray Review Patton (2012 Remaster) Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Part war film and part incisive warts-and-all biography of one of America’s most controversial generals, Franklin J. Schaffner’s Patton is quite a film. Offering an honest and unflinching portrait of the man and the warrior, Patton is one of those rare films that pleases both pro-war and anti-war strategists, and this new Blu-ray remaster is a welcome replacement for the botched 2008 release. Though nothing much has been added that wasn’t already available about the movie, what’s here is finally a splendid rendering of the film and an outstanding collection of bonus features to supplement it.

 

 

 

 

Patton (2012 Remaster) (Blu-ray) Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner Studio: 20th Century Fox Year: 1970 Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1   1080p   AVC codec Running Time: 172 minutes Rating: PG Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.0 English, 2.0 French, Spanish Subtitles:  SDH

Region: A MSRP: $ 24.99

Release Date: November 6, 2012

Review Date: November 5, 2012

     

The Film

5/5   When the newly arrived American army suffers an embarrassing defeat in their first battle in North Africa in 1943, General George S. Patton (George C. Scott) is sent to get the troops into fighting shape. His strict military discipline and demanding requirements for all his troops quickly set things to right and his 7th Army Division begins its own triumphant march across Africa much to the growing displeasure of Britian’s Field Marshal Montgomery (Michael Bates) who had been enjoying his heroic victories against Germany’s Field Marshal Rommel (Karl Michael Vogler) and doesn’t want to share the glory. Patton’s rabid ambition to score victories and march to the fore of Allied generals in their push toward Europe brings him into conflict with Allied General Dwight Eisenhower, and when a couple of controversial incidents occur involving bad PR for the American efforts in the war, he’s relieved of duty and sent to London. Stung when his always subordinate General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden) gets promoted over him in organizing the final thrusts of the European operations, Patton is finally given a command – the 3rd Army which will head east across France toward Germany leaving the Axis powers quaking in their boots since Patton is the general they fear the most.   The script by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North is a fair and seemingly very accurate accounting of the multi-faceted general: his raging ego, his thirst for recognition, and his absolute contempt for the weak or cowardly is counterbalanced by his tenderness toward fallen comrades and his love of his men along with his complete fascination with history and his total conviction about his own reincarnation. Director Franklin J. Schaffner only stages a few battles (four in all), but they’re corkers and are beautifully mounted and shot keeping interest high by not running on ad infinitum. But it’s the portrait of Patton away from the battles: in huts and bunkers, in hospitals and on terraces, in his jeeps and on battlefields where we really get to see his complexities in their full flowering that give this magnificent film its primary focus.   And in George C. Scott’s towering performance, there’s no denying the general’s ubiquitous charisma. The opening monologue, perhaps the film’s most famous and familiar sequence, continues to reverberate decades after it was first shot and presented, but the actor is no less effective in all of his other moments: braying in his victorious moments, raging to the gods when he’s been relieved of duty and sits moldering away as a decoy against the Nazis, frenzied when berating soldiers who he feels don’t measure up to his standards, and grimacing through clenched teeth when having to be on his best behavior. The performance is one of the marvels of 20th century cinema, and it’s lost none of its effectiveness in all of the years since the film’s initial release. But there are other great actors on display as well. Karl Malden does a solid job as Omar Bradley, a far less bravura commander but one who could be relied on for consistency and obedience. Michael Bates makes a grandiose Montgomery, perhaps a little too pleased with his own importance and in his own way as strutting a peacock as Patton. Director Schaffner also cuts away often during the film to show us what’s happening at German High Command, and those scenes contain virtuoso turns by Karl Michael Vogler as Rommel and Richard Muench as General Alfred Jodl. Paul Stevens as Patton’s aide Codman and Tim Considine as the soldier whose slapping abuse begins Patton’s troubles with the top brass also make worthwhile contributions.    

Video Quality

4.5/5   Shot in Dimension 150, the film’s 70mm 2.20 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is exemplary throughout the presentation, and color saturation is very good though occasionally inconsistent with more saturated hues especially in flesh tones in some shots than in others. Contrast is beautifully dialed in to make for a very pleasing visual experience. The aggressive use of DNR and edge enhancement is nowhere to be seen in this transfer. The English subtitles during the German sequences are printed in white and are very easy to read. The film has been divided into 37 chapters.    

Audio Quality

4.5/5   The Oscar-winning sound design of the movie is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix. (A Dolby Digital 5.0 sound mix is also available.) Though no one will mistake the sound design here with expensive action pictures of today’s cinema, there is an impressive amount of surround activity present including some effective pans through the soundstage as planes fly through the battlefields. The music (original score by Jerry Goldsmith as well as military standards like “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Scotland the Brave”) gets beautifully threaded across and through the soundfield making for a very effective presentation. The battle scenes also allow the subwoofer to get a nice workout though the depth of the explosions and gunfire won’t compare to the levels of bass that today’s battle films provide. Dialogue is nicely presented mostly in the center channel with an occasional bit of directionalized dialogue on display.      

Special Features

4.5/5   The first disc in the set contains an introduction by screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola (5 minutes in 480i) along with an audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola (which goes silent for lengthy patches of time).   There is a promo trailer for Jumper.   The second disc in the set is a DVD with the following bonus material included all in standard definition.   Patton – A Rebel Revisted is a 90-minute documentary on General George Patton narrated by Burt Reynolds. The film offers not only a biography of the famous man but also contrasts his real-life story to the way he’s depicted in the movie showing the truths and the occasional fabrications and omissions used for dramatic effect.   Patton’s Ghost Corps is a 46 ½-minute documentary about the XX Corps, a group of men who accomplished remarkable things during the last months of World War II even when abandoned by George Patton at certain points as he fought the Battle of the Bulge. The first hand accounts by actual members of the Corps make for a fascinating featurette.   “The Making of Pattonis an excellent documentary about the production of the film with audio and video interviews with many key players including Fox chief Richard Zanuck, producer Frank McCarthy, director Franklin Schaffner, cinematographer Fred Koenekamp, star George C. Scott, and composer Jerry Goldsmith. It runs 49 ¾ minutes.   Two stills galleries are compiled in montage form. One has Jerry Goldsmith’s Oscar-nominated score playing in the background for 32 minutes while the other running 53 ¼ minutes offers an audio essay of biographical anecdotes on George Patton.   The film’s theatrical trailer runs 1 ¾ minutes.    

In Conclusion

4.5/5 (not an average)   A great film classic and now a great Blu-ray transfer to match its excellence, Patton is a must have disc. While it would have been nice to have a more interesting and informative commentary and for the bonus material to have been presented in high definition, the movie’s the thing, and this one is a peach. Highly recommended!       Matt Hough Charlotte, NC

 
K

Kevin Collins

I had the privilege of seeing this at Fox during the HTF meet. All the initial complaints of the original transfer are gone in my mind!
 

benbess

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Great review! What a relief. Fox seems to be doing much better work these days.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Anyone else think it's odd they're still promoting "Jumper" on the new Blu-ray? When I saw that ad, I wondered if Fox had accidentally sent me the old Blu-ray instead of the new one...
 

Steve Tannehill

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My parents took me to see Patton during its initial release when I was 6.
I thought the man who was giving the speech at the beginning was real--it was life size.
 

Robert Crawford

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Originally Posted by benbess /t/324989/patton-2012-remaster-blu-ray-review#post_3998141
Great review! What a relief. Fox seems to be doing much better work these days.
Based on the brief conversation I had with Schawn Belston of Fox, they got the message loud and clear about excessive use of DNR. I hope fans of Patton will be as loud with their praise of this latest BD release. I should have my copy tomorrow, but Von Ryan's Express is first up for me.




Crawdaddy
 

Matt Hough

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Colin Jacobson said:
Anyone else think it's odd they're still promoting "Jumper" on the new Blu-ray?  When I saw that ad, I wondered if Fox had accidentally sent me the old Blu-ray instead of the new one...
I had the same fear.
 

Charles Smith

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It was gorgeous at Fox, and is a day one purchase for me. Thanks and kudos to all involved!
 

Robert Crawford

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Originally Posted by atcolomb /t/324989/patton-2012-remaster-blu-ray-review#post_3998218
I wonder if Fox will have a program where you can send in the old blu-ray for the new remastered one?

I seriously doubt it for a release about 4 1/2 years ago.







Crawdaddy
 

Colin Jacobson

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Originally Posted by MattH. /t/324989/patton-2012-remaster-blu-ray-review#post_3998184
I had the same fear.

Plus none of the audio/subtitle specs changed. Maybe it IS the same disc and we're just doing an Emperor's New Clothes!
 

Adam Gregorich

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HTF has a copy to give away. Contest runs through midnight PST on November 11th. To enter send an email to contest 'at' hometheaterforum.com with what Matt says "is no where to be seen on this transfer" on in the subject line and your member name, name and shipping address (US or Canada only) in the email. Contest open to HTF members in good standing 18 years of age or older.
 

Wayne_j

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Any markings to look for to make sure you get the remastered edition?
 

Dick

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Wayne_j said:
Any markings to look for to make sure you get the remastered edition?
It has entirely different cover art, featuring the American flag behind George C. Scott.
 

Robert Harris

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Robert Crawford said:
Based on the brief conversation I had with Schawn Belston
of Fox, they got the message loud and clear about excessive use of DNR.  I hope fans of Patton will be as loud with their praise of this latest BD release.  I should have my copy tomorrow, but Von Ryan's Express is first up for me.
Crawdaddy
Had Mr Belston been in the same position he is currently when this was originally mastered, this is what it would have looked like
He knows his stuff
RAH
 

Robert Crawford

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Originally Posted by Robert Harris /t/324989/patton-2012-remaster-blu-ray-review#post_3998280
Had Mr Belston been in the same position he is currently when this was originally mastered, this is what it would have looked like
He knows his stuff
RAH
He does and I appreciate the time he spent with us as we had a good discussion regarding his fine work that BD consumers will experience throughout 2013 and hopefully, moreso beyond that.







Crawdaddy
 

Billy Batson

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Oh, so it's still region A only like the last release. I thought it might be multi-region as Fox seems to have stopped locking their old catalogue titles. Oh well, I guess I'll buy it if they evet get around to releasing it in the UK.
 

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