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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Anthony Minghella
U.S.A. 1996

Anthony Minghella wrote and directed this award-winning adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's novel about a doomed and tragic romance set against the backdrop of World War II. In a field hospital in Italy, Hana (Juliette Binoche), a nurse from Canada, is caring for a pilot who was horribly burned in a plane wreck; he has no identification and cannot remember his name, so he's known simply as "the English Patient," thanks to his accent. When the hospital is forced to evacuate, Hana determines en route that the patient shouldn't be moved far due to his fragile condition, so the two are left in a monastery to be picked up later. In time, Hana begins to piece together the patient's story from the shards of his memories; he's actually Count Laszlo Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), of Hungarian nobility and an explorer working with a group mapping uncharted territory in North Africa. An Englishman, Geoffrey Clifton (Colin Firth), soon joins Almasy's team; traveling with him is his lovely and spirited wife, Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas). Katherine and Laszlo soon fall in love, which leads Laszlo to betray his friend, his country and all that is dear to him. Meanwhile, Hana and the Patient are joined by Kip (Naveen Andrews), a Sikh with a gift for defusing mines, and Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), an intelligence agent who knows some of Laszlo's most shameful secrets. The English Patient won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche).

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 15th, 1996 - USA

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Comparison:

Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Alliance Atlantis - Region 'A' Blu-ray vs. Kinowelt - Region 'B' Blu-ray vs. Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP LEFT

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP RIGHT

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM LEFT

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM MIDDLE

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Miramax

Region 1 - NTSC

Miramax
Region 1 - NTSC

Alliance Atlantis (Canada)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Kinowelt (Germany)
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Lionsgate / Miramax
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 

Miramax

Region 1 - NTSC

Miramax
Region 1 - NTSC
Alliance Atlantis (Canada)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Kinowelt (Germany)
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Lionsgate / Miramax
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:41:30 2:41:30 2:41:44.194 2:41:49.116 2:41:52.703
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.57 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.19 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080i Single-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 24,460,462,080 bytes

Disc Size:  24,528,728,138 bytes Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 20.16 Mbps

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,118,028,693 bytes

Feature:  28,486,729,728 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 13.79 Mbps

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,195,695,656 bytes

Feature:  36,197,074,944 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 23.49 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Miramax

 

Bitrate:

 

Miramax (2 disc CE)

 

Bitrate:  Alliance

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:  Kinowelt

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:  LionsGate / Miramax

Blu-ray

 

Audio English DD 5.1 English DD & DTS 5.1

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4078 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4078 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2005 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2005 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2039 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2039 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 934 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 934 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 943 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 943 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4204 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4204 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, Spanish, None English, French, Spanish, None None German, None English, English (SDH), Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• VOB file dates: 02/18/98
• Static Menus
• Single page chapter list insert
• No extras beyond 2 screens promoting 4 other films

DVD Release Date: 03/28/98
Platic Keepcase

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• VOB file dates: 05/13/04
• Animated Menus
• 4 page chapter list insert
• New comm. with dir. Anthony Minghella
• Criterion's laserdisc comm. with Minghella, novelist Ondaatje and prod. Zaentz
• All other bonus material on disc 2; About Michael Ondaatje
• From Novel to Screenplay
• The Formidable Saul Zaentz - Producer
• A Historical Look at the Real Count Almasy
• Filmmaker Conversations (Minghella, Zaentz, Ondaatje, Murch)
• The Work of Stuart Craig - Production Designer
• The Eyes of Phil Bray - Still Photographer
• Master Class with Minghella - Deleted Scenes (from Criterion's LD) 20 mins
• Black and White to Colour: The Making of The English Patient CBC doc. 53 mins
• Trailers for 6 other films and 3 text reviews of The English Patient

 

DVD Release Date: 06/29/04
Plastic Slim Double Keepcase

Chapters 31

Release Information:
Studio: Alliance (Canada)

 

1080i Single-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 24,460,462,080 bytes

Disc Size:  24,528,728,138 bytes Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 20.16 Mbps

Edition Details:
• none

Blu-ray Release Date: May 5th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt (Germany)

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,118,028,693 bytes

Feature:  28,486,729,728 bytes

 Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 13.79 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Criterion's laserdisc commentary with Minghella, novelist Ondaatje and prod. Zaentz

• Deleted Scenes (19:58 in SD -from Criterion's LD)

• Black + White to Colour: The Making of the English Patient (52:58 in SD)

• Filmmakers Conversation: Anthony Minghella (31:28 in SD), Walter Murch (26:39), Sael Zaentz (20:37 in SD)

• Stills Gallery Sildeshow (Behind the Scenes - 2:53)

About Michael Ondaatje
• From Novel to Screenplay
• The Formidable Saul Zaentz - Producer

• A Historical Look at the Real Count Almasy (8:17)

• in German - True Stories of Almasy (50:18)

• Another piece in German (43:13)

Blu-ray Release Date: November 20th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,195,695,656 bytes

Feature:  36,197,074,944 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Bitrate: 23.49 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Commentary with dir. Anthony Minghella
• Criterion's laserdisc Commentary with Minghella, novelist Ondaatje and prod. Zaentz
• About Michael Ondaatje (21:57)
• From Novel to Screenplay (7:11)
• The Formidable Saul Zaentz - Producer (1:59)
• A Historical Look at the Real Count Almasy (8:18)
• Filmmaker Conversations (Minghella, Zaentz, Ondaatje, Murch)
• The Work of Stuart Craig - Production Designer (3:57)
• The Eyes of Phil Bray - Still Photographer (2:50)
• Master Class with Minghella - Deleted Scenes (from Criterion's LD) 19:59
• Black and White to Colour: The Making of The English Patient CBC doc. 53:01
• Trailers for Cold Mountain, Shakespeare in Love, Frida and advert for EPIX  (9:12)

 Bookmarkable

 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 31st, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Keepcase

Chapters 16

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: Lionsgate / Miramax - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (January 12'): Well, there is quite a big difference in colors in the new LionsGate/Miramax Blu-ray. Although I saw this film theatrically I can't recall any style in the color scheme. The new Region 'A' transfer has dramatic shifts that aren't present on any of the digital editions (even my old Laserdisc). It is richer, darker and takes on golden or bluish hues in a variety of sequences. The Kinowelt is more 'natural' (although see the capture of the notepad being written on) - but is that correct? The Miramax/Lionsgate has a significantly higher bitrate - and I can't see any digital manipulation - nor do I feel they would bother with the color shifts in individuals scenes (as opposed to blanketing them). I lean to this being more correct. There is some grain in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio frame and there is more information on both side edges. Contrast is strong. Honestly, I am unsure of the change in colors but the new Blu-ray did give me a fabulous presentation in-motion. All other transfer look... pale, now.

 

I'm also going to give the nod to the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4204 kbps - Gabriel Yared's score and the sounds of airplanes, wind etc. are brilliant and tight. It is a small notch above even the Alliance. Depth, more defined separation and an adept high-end are all present in the new lossless track. There are optional subtitles on the region 'A'-locked US Blu-ray.

 

Extras mimic the 2-disc DVD package from 2004 minus the liner insert. There is so much here from the commentaries, and close to 2-hours of video pieces relating to the production, filmmakers, crew and cast.

 

I'm still a big fan of The English Patient that drains me with its marriage of narrative and score. With all the extras and the rich image and audio - for under $15 - I'd say this Blu-ray is a must-own.

***

ADDITION: Kinowelt (Germany) Blu-ray - October 09': Thank you to Kinowelt for coming out with The English Patient in a decent 1080P, 1:85:1 transfer. Despite the low video bitrate the image quality is an obvious improvement over the interlaced Canadian Blu-ray. The German transfer is slightly darker with much stronger black levels bring up tighter detail. Colors - especially reds - are much richer and deeper - akin to the DVD - but even more pronounced. The Kinowelt is dual-layered as opposed to the single-layering of the Alliance hi-def rendering. Contrast on the Canadian edition is somewhat faint and this another level of superiority by the German edition.

The Region 'A' HD audio is a bit more robust but I prefer the lossless Region 'B' DTS HD-master as it has an excellent high end and is very crisp. The mix is extremely aggressive and the rear speakers get plenty of action - both subtle and demonstrative. It sounds somewhat hollow if comparing to my Japanese SACD of Gabriel Yared's soundtrack.  There are only German subtitles offered but, very thankfully, they are removable when the English track is chosen. My Momitsu has determined this to be region 'B'-locked.

Extras seem to duplicate the 2004 DVD with the Laserdisc commentary, deleted scenes and plenty of featurettes including the almost hour long - 'Making of'. There is an additional piece on Almasy - but only in German. I particularly enjoyed the Filmmakers Conversation with the late Minghella and the 4 or 5 short pieces on Ondaatje - with the last bit having him read from the book.

I've never hidden my adoration of this film and I've owned every digital incarnation that I can from Laserdisc to DVD to Blu-ray. I can easily state that this Kinowelt is the best to date. It looks and sounds absolutely brilliant on my 60" Kuro. I should try to avoid viewing The English Patient too much as I can't ever seem to turn it off once I start. This Blu-ray fully supports that wonderful addiction. If you have access to Region 'B' - I give you my strongest suggestion to own this Kinowelt Blu-ray your homer theater library.

***

ADDITION: Alliance (Canada) Blu-ray - May 09':  The story here is short - but not so sweet. The Canadian Alliance is interlaced (1080i) and single-layered. While it looks much better than the greenish SD-DVDs - it can still improve. Colors and detail are significantly superior but noise still exists and the, almost 3 hour, film needs dual-layering and a progressive rendering to be optimal.

One of the best things about the Blu-ray release is the DTS-HD audio track at over 4000 Kpbs. Gabriel Yared's gentle score and tracks of traditional Hungarian folk songs and music by Irving Berlin and Benny Goodman sound almost as good as my Japanese SACD of the soundtrack.

There are no extras or subtitles (or even menus) on this Blu-ray. I admittedly enjoyed the film very much, even in this lesser form, of HD but it's time that MiraMax - who must have made a ton of profit off this film - give it the just digital transfer that it deserves. That means, dual-layering, progressive Blu-ray with at least the extras contained on the Collector's Edition DVD. This Blu-ray has one redeeming feature - the price, at the writing of this review, is 17.95 CAD = 15.14 USD - the same price as the CE DVD but for those impatient the substantially improved transfer may work as a stop-gap approach.

NOTE: I had initially forgotten that Enrique had done this comparison and I initially compared Blu-ray grabs to the non-anamorphic DVDs from 2000 and 2001 HERE

ON THE DVDs (written in 2004): The anamorphic DVD image is superior in every category. It shows more of the image on the top and right sides, the skin tones (which are decidedly red in the old version) are much more realistic in the new version, contrast and sharpness both go to the new 2 disc edition as well. Extras are obviously to the new version. 2 key Criterion Laser Disc extras have made it to the new DVD. Missing are 1 Trailer, 5 TV spots, The English Patient: A Passionate Journey 24 min. doc, Novel and Screenplay readings by Ondaatje and Minghella. The new version offers a DTS track as an option to the 5.1. The audio is exceptional. I don't think the image has reached its fullest potential yet as even the new CE has edge enhancement and halos that affect vertical lines of many scenes. A shame.

There is a Canadian version out by Alliance Atlantis where they have replaced the DTS with a French DUB (in both new and old version). Alliance Atlantis first version was a DVD 10 (2 sides single layer). The Alliance is compared to the Region 2 version HERE

Hopefully a Region 2 (France) DVD will come along to put all of these to shame. 

 - Gary Tooze


 Menus

(Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 

 

Extras: Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

The Alliance Blu-ray is interlaced

 


 

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

 

Subtitle Sample (Alliance Blu-ray has no subtitles, Kinowelt has only optional German)

 

1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Miramax (2 disc CE) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Alliance - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Miramax / Lionsgate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Lionsgate Blu-ray

Sound:

Lionsgate Blu-ray

Extras: Lionsgate Blu-ray

 

Alliance Atlantis (Canada)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Kinowelt (Germany)
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Lionsgate / Miramax
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 


 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...