- Jul 20, 2007
- Real Name
- Timothy Ewanyshyn
Sands of Iwo Jima(1949) arrives on Blu-ray on Veteran's Day(appropriately enough) November 11, 2014, in the latest release from Olive Films. John Wayne was nominated (but did not win) an Academy Award for his portrayal of Marine Sgt. John W. Stryker in Sands of Iwo Jima, but he would ultimately win the award for best actor in True Grit(1969). Sands of Iwo Jima was produced a mere 4 years after the historical events presented in the film, and benefits from historical footage that is edited into the body of the film.
Distributed By: Olive
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 hr. 50 min.
Package Includes: Blu-rayAmaray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 11/11/2014
Sgt. John Stryker(John Wayne) is a strict and rigid leader of his men as he trains them in New Zealand. Many of his soldiers hold grudges against him, notably Privates Conway and Thomas. Private Thomas(Forrest Tucker) was demoted because of Stryker, and Private Conway(John Agar) is reluctant to become a career soldier even though he is the son of a Marine colonel under whom Stryker served earlier. Richard Jaeckel(The Dirty Dozen) and Martin Milner(Adam-12) also appear as privates under Stryker's command.The squad gradually learns the reasoning behind Stryker's strict discipline as they become battle hardened during the invasion of Tarawa. Forrest Tucker's Private Thomas slacks off during the invasion, and costs the lives of fellow soldiers and incurs Stryker's wrath. Stryker takes leave in Hawaii following the invasion and we learn more about his personal life and that he has as much heart as any soldier in his command.This all builds up to the invasion of Iwo Jima. Stryker's soldiers are the ones selected to raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi. Three of the actual soldiers involved in that photographic opportunity actually appear in cameos in the film: Rene Gagnon, John Bradley, and Ira Hayes. Several other soldiers who were also present in that invasion play themselves in bit parts.Sands of Iwo Jima was directed by journeyman Allan Dwan. The screenplay by James Edward Grant(Angel and the Badman) and Harry Brown(A Walk In The Sun) was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay.Sands of Iwo Jima has actual battlefield footage edited smoothly into the film, which has high production values with hundreds of extras and some actual military hardware. Wayne's role as Sgt. Stryker is a notable role for this actor whose career included many significant screen roles. Sands of Iwo Jima was nominated deservedly for a number of Academy Awards in 1949, even if it did not win the awards. The film does not demonize the enemy, as propaganda films of just a few years earlier were wont to do, and which later films did as well.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Sands of Iwo Jima appear in 1080p on Blu-ray in its original 1:33.1 aspect ratio. The film elements from which this transfer was derived were obviously in very nice condition. Some minor dirt and debris are present but fairly minimal. Blacks are solid with excellent fine detail. Shadow detail is likewise excellent for the most part, although a couple of reels have blacks that are a little too dark resulting in the loss of shadow detail. (This is no more than 10 to 15% of the film. Most of the film does not have this issue.) Film grain is present but not distracting, and detail has not been scrubbed away with grain by DNR. This is a very nice HD transfer of black and white film, even if it does not approach reference level material. Some of the stock footage, consisting of actual battle, is slightly out of focus or diminished slightly in quality, but not to the point of distraction. Fans of this film are not likely to be disappointed by this video presentation.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD mono audio is excellent for what it is. There is no fluctuation in volume or background hiss apparent. Dialogue is always audible and mixed appropriately with music and sound effects so as not to obscure the dialogue. The film score by Victor Young(Around The World in 80 Days, Shane) seems to have surprisingly good dynamic range for being mono audio.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
There are no special features on this release.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
Sands of Iwo Jima would be a notable film in John Wayne's legacy of film roles, even if he had not been nominated for an Academy Award for this role. The film has a great cast of supporting actors, cameo roles by the real soldiers who fought in these battles, and slick production values that smoothly incorporate real battle footage into the narrative. Sands of Iwo Jima is recommended to fans of war films, the Duke, or both. Viewers who enjoy this film may also enjoy Clint Eastwood's Flags Of Our Fathers for a more modern and less conventional take on these historic events.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Timothy E
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