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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Henry V" or "Henry the Fift" or "Henry the Fifth')

directed by Laurence Olivier
U
K 1944

Laurence Olivier brings to vivid life Shakespeare's KING HENRY V, the epitome of the ideal Christian king. After a youth misspent in frivolity and common diversions, Prince Hal ascends the throne only to find himself on the brink of war with France over land and title disputes. Betrayed by his own archbishop in ascertaining the validity of the claims, Henry has to prove himself not only to his enemies but to his own advisers and his people. He thwarts a plot to assassinate him, meting out a swift but fair justice. When the French, unable to take him seriously, refuse to send reinforcements to a town under attack by Henry's troops, England wins the battle easily, yet Henry is merciful to the vanquished town. Though they are badly outnumbered, Henry leads his troops with courage and fortitude into the final, decisive battle against his enemies. Though foreign films were not competing at the time, Olivier won a special Academy Award for directing, producing, and starring in the film. His classic production of Shakespeare's 1599 play is filled with pomp and pageantry, terrific acting, and robust battle scenes.

Olivier mustered out of the navy to film this adaptation of Shakespeare’s history. Embroiled in World War II, Britons took courage from this tale of a king who surmounts overwhelming odds and emerges victorious. This sumptuous Technicolor rendering features a thrilling recreation of the battle of Agincourt, and Sir Laurence in his prime as director and actor.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 1944

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Comparison:

Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT

DVD Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 41 - Region 0 - NTSC ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Also available in a three pack with Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948), Henry V (1944) and Richard III (1955) on Criterion DVDs.

         

Runtime 2:16:35  2:16:42.194
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,867,283,060 bytes

Feature: 22,119,186,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate: 

Criterion DVD

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder
• Theatrical trailer
• “Shakespearean Royalty”: A chronology of England’s rulers
• Stills galleries: the “Book of Hours” and production photos

DVD Release Date: June 22nd, 1999

Keep Case
Chapters: 42

Release Information:
Studio: ITV DVD

1080P / 23.976 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,867,283,060 bytes

Feature: 22,119,186,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Commentary

• Stills Galleries (Restored Production/Actor's Portraits/Advertising Stills in HD!)

• Original color and HD comparison images

• Un-restored Trailer (2:24 in HD)

Blu-ray Release Date: October 19th, 2009
Standard thick (UK)
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 15

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: ITV - Region 'B' Blu-ray - October09: Unfortunately, this doesn't produce the same impressive increase in video quality as found in ITV's simultaneously released 1080P transfer of Hamlet. While colors aren't anywhere nearly as brilliant as the original Technicolor - I found them a welcome improvement over the boosting of the Criterion DVD (meant to simulate that original appearance). Detail doesn't jump to the defense of the ITV rendering but it has many moments where it looks quite acceptable and even shows some depth. I see les scratches as well. There is some movement in the frame and minor cropping. Colors are the big difference and red SD skin tones return to white. Hopefully the captures give you a good idea of how the Blu-ray looks on your system.

Audio doesn't get an HD rendering where a nice clean LPCM would have seemed appropriate. It's sound about the same as the Criterion mono. There may be minor hiss but nothing distracting to the presentation. Both releases offer optional English subtitles and my Momitsu tells me this disc is region 'B'-locked.

Both editions offer the commentary and some stills galleries. The ITV Blu-ray includes some original color and HD comparison images while the early Criterion had the “Shakespearean Royalty”: A chronology of England’s rulers bit.

Personally, I found the HD visuals a huge enough improvement and those keen on the film and who are capable of playing region 'B' Blu-rays will definitely want to indulge. I have a strong suspicion that we aren't going to see Olivier's Henry V looking better than this anytime soon. 

 

ON THE CRITERION DVD: This print had some extensive scratches and dust. Frankly I don't like the colors - they look like a Turner colorized print - they seem to be bleeding all over the place in scene changes. In still captures it looks quite good and perhaps I am being overly critical. Great extras, especially for an early Criterion effort. A great film too! I don't see another version of it on DVD anywhere.    

Gary W. Tooze

 


 

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Screen Captures

 

Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 

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DVD Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 41 - Region 0 - NTSC ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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