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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Samuel Fuller and the Big Red One")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/fuller.htm
USA 19
80

 

“When I enter his suite at the Plaza, he's finishing lunch, expressing his regret about missing Godard in Cannes, remarking on the absurdity of prizes at film festivals, asking me what Soho News and Soho are. (The one he knows about is in London -- he fondly recalls a cigar store on Frith Street.)

"It isn't hard to figure out why Mark Hamill affectionately calls him Yosemite Sam, or why Lee Marvin simply says he's D.W. Griffith. Bursting with the same charismatic, comic book energy that skyrockets through most of his movies, old crime reporter, novelist, war hero, writer-director and sometime producer Samuel Fuller, almost 69, still moves and talks like his daffy action flicks -- like the wild man from Borneo -- in quick, short, blocky punches, like two-fisted slabs of socko headline type."

The purple prose was mine, the year was 1980. Fuller was promoting his semiautobiographical war picture The Big Red One, even though the studio had just cut half of it -- something he wasn't making any effort to hide. It had also added an offscreen narration he didn't like, spoken by the character based on him and written by (though not credited to) filmmaker Jim McBride. Fuller's own two versions had no narration. His first cut was 260 minutes, his second two hours. "Second cut they hated," he told me. "They wanted the elements of the four hours and 20 minutes. Sizewise, impossible. In my cut I took out sequences -- I don't circumcise or shorten scenes. That's when they hit the ceiling."

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE


Posters

Theatrical Release: July 18th, 1980

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Comparison:

Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner 2-disc (Europe) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Warner (The Reconstruction 2-disc) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - THIRD

4) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Warner (old edition)

Region 1  - NTSC

Warner (Europe) (the reconstruction)

Region 2- PAL

Warner (the reconstruction)
Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

World War II Collection - European Warfare Includes The Battle of the Bulge / Battleground / The Big Red One Special Edition / The Dirty Dozen / Where Eagles Dare

   

Runtime 1:53:16 2:36:00 (4% PAL speedup) 2:42:25 1:53:15.914 (1080P)  /  2:42:44.721 (480i)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.6 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.84 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 42,174,247,530 bytes

Feature Size: 20,553,879,552 bytes

Average Bitrate: 19.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Reconstruction:

Feature Size: 9,857,906,688 bytes

Average Bitrate: 59.88 Mbps

Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 480i

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

old edition

 

Bitrate:

 

Reconstruction PAL

 

Bitrate:

 

Reconstruction NTSC

Bitrate:

 

Theatrical on Blu-ray

Bitrate:

 

480i Reconstruction Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 5.1 Dolby Digital English, DUB: 5.1 Dolby Digital German

English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Theatrical: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1724 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1724 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

The Reconstruction:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

Subtitles English, French and none English, German (for German edition), Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish (Scandinavian edition put out by Sandrew Metronome HERE), etc. suitable for region sold, None English, Spanish, French and none English , French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and none

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

 

Edition Details:
• Full Frame version on opposite side

DVD Release Date: September 2000
Snapper Case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio:  Warner
 (Europe) (The Reconstruction)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• See Comments* (same as NTSC Reconstruction)

DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 39

 

Release Information:
Studio: Warner (The Reconstruction)

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

 

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by reconstruction producer Richard Schickel
• Over 40 minutes of added footage
• Alternate scenes
• Anatomy of a Scene: Watch the director at work and examine the before/after restoration comparisons
• New documentary The Real Glory: Reconstructing The Big One
• Profile: The Men Who Make the Movies: Samuel Fuller
• War department film: The Fighting First
• 1980 promo reel, theatrical trailer, and TV and radio spots
• 2004 reconstruction trailer
• Stills gallery

DVD Release Date: May 5th, 2005

Double slim Keep Case
Chapters: 39

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Disc Size: 42,174,247,530 bytes

Feature Size: 20,553,879,552 bytes

Average Bitrate: 19.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Reconstruction:

Feature Size: 9,857,906,688 bytes

Average Bitrate: 59.88 Mbps

Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 480i

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by reconstruction producer Richard Schickel
• Deleted and Alternate scenes with commentary (32:12)
• Behind the Scenes: Anatomy of a Scene: Watch the director at work and examine the before/after restoration comparisons (18:31)
• New documentary The Real Glory: Reconstructing The Big One (47:24)
• Profile: The Men Who Make the Movies: Samuel Fuller (55:02)
• Behind the Scenes: War department film: The Fighting First (12:17)
• 1980 promo reel (29:57), theatrical trailer, and TV (2 X :34) and radio spots (2 X :31)
• 2004 reconstruction trailer (2:20)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
28 / Reconstruction: 39

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - April 2014': For those not up-to-speed on this; despite a loud voice of Fuller fans signing petitions and speaking loudly - Warner have not put 'The Reconstruction' (50-minutes longer cut) in 1080P. It is here on the Blu-ray, but in 480i SD (albeit in AVC but with same video bitrate) as it was on the 2005 DVD. It seems to support the color scheme of the theatrical BD appearance but, of course, it is hazier and lifeless by comparison. What makes this decision so odd is that all of the extras (duplicated from that DVD package - and discussed below) are about 'The Reconstruction'!

The theatrical takes quite a shift via the HD transfer - making the older DVD look green and flat. Colors are very bright, detail rises and there is a bit of gloss. It is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, shows notably more information in the frame, and looks quite appealing.

Audio for the theatrical is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 at 1724 kbps (only Dolby for the Reconstruction). There is plenty of aggression in the film and while it has some rich depth and sweetens Dana Kaproff's score - I can't help thinking it could have been even more robust with window-rattling effects. There are plenty of subtitles and DUBs offered signifying it is region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines world wide.

As discussed, the extras duplicate 'The Reconstruction' DVD package (see Henrik's comments directly below) minus the stills gallery.

So what this Blu-ray offers is the theatrical in a glorious 1080P presentation and the entire 2005 DVD set including extras and 'The Reconstruction' feature - still in SD. Despite our grievances the price makes it very attractive.

***

On the DVD (2005):

Additional Material

The Real Glory: Reconstructing ”The Big Red One” (47:24): A for this DVD made feature, divided in chapters (play all optional), where the cast, Fuller and Schickel talks about the film and where we get a look behind the restoration and the reconstruction of film, sound and score.

The Man who made the Movies: Samuel Fuller (55:04): A portrait of Fuller made by TCM in 2000, based on Schickels interview with Fuller in Paris some years earlier. Not a full portrait, several of his films are missing, as it narrows his themes and motifs down to those important for "The Big Red One".

Anatomy of a scene (18:19): Two scenes where we Fullers role as a director is explained and two additional scenes (Amphitheatre and Baby Tank), before and after the reconstruction. Commentated by Brian Hamblin (post production supervisor) and Bryan McKenzie (editor).

Alternative scenes (31:35): 18 deleted and alternative scenes. Again commentated by Hamblin and McKenzie.

The Fighting Fist (12:18): A propaganda film made by the Government in 1946 about fighting in the infantry.

Original Promo Reel (29:57)
Reconstruction Trailer (2:18)
Stills Gallery

 - Henrik Sylow

The inclusion of the original edition is not really valid as these are two very different films, but we thought it would be interesting to see the differences. Mostly the problem with the old anamorphic edition was, like Columbia Tri-Star's "The Professionals" and Warner's own The Wild Bunch, everything has a brownish tinge to it. Colors have been washed out and replaced with a generic sepia. We can see much superior green levels in the new Reconstruction release and the skin tones are much less red and more true. There is negligible difference in sharpness but excellent contrast with the new release eclipsing the old edition. The subtitles in the Reconstruction are slightly smaller.

 

There are a few issues with the new double disc Reconstruction (both NTSC and PAL) that I would like to address - As the original theatrical projection ratio was 1.85 there was some leeway (4%) in anamorphic DVD transfer - this shows up in occasional cropping (see large capture #2) which I don't put down to different cuts (first frame was used for verification). See last captures samples for 1.85 vs. 178. vs. 35mm.

 

I don't see any real differences in the Reconstruction releases (PAL vs. NTSC). The PAL may have a minor edge in sharpness, but it is negligible. You will be getting PAL speedup with the European release if you are sensitive to that. The NTSC offers a French DUB and the European a German.

 

Audio on the Reconstructions was bumped to 5.1 in the new release that also boasts a similar French DUB. Obviously the 2-disc reconstruction with commentary has superior extra features that I am still viewing.

 

The only important difference from the original is the addition of almost 50 minutes originally absent from the initial theatrical release. In my opinion the new Reconstruction is an infinitely better motion picture because of its new inclusions ("a more thoughtful and nuanced reworking of the 113-minute release"). One of the areas that I noticed longer scenes was in the D-Day invasion segment. This is a must see film from an American pioneer director.

Gary W. Tooze

 

NOTE: you can see the amount that is removed in the Full Screen release on the opposite side of the old edition (4th large capture).

 





Menus

(Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - RIGHT)

 

NOTE: European Warner is very similar to NTSC


 

Disc 2 of 'The Reconstruction'

 

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - THIRD

4) Warner (the reconstruction in SD) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - THIRD

4) Warner (the reconstruction in SD) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - THIRD

4) Warner (the reconstruction in SD) - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC Full Frame - Pan and Scan TOP

2) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - THIRD

4) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner (old edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner (Europe - the reconstruction) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (the reconstruction) Region 1, 2 ,3 ,4- NTSC  - THIRD

4) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

(1:85 Theatrical - TOP vs. 1.78 (for DVD) MIDDLE vs. 35mm (Flat)  - BOTTOM)

More Blu-ray (Theatrical) captures

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Warner (old edition)

Region 1  - NTSC

Warner (Europe) (the reconstruction)

Region 2- PAL

Warner (the reconstruction)
Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Theatrical Blu-ray

Sound:

Theatrical Blu-ray

Extras: The Reconstruction / Blu-ray





 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...