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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Steiner - Das Eiserne Kreuz" )

directed by Sam Peckinpah
UK / West Germany / Yugoslavia 1977

 

A very strong anti-war message film, set during World War II and told entirely from the German perspective. A German Army Sergeant doggedly struggles to keep his platoon intact while surviving the horrors of the Russian front in 1943.

***

Cross of Iron is an anti-war film in that it focuses on the average foot soldier, the harshness of his daily existence, and the horrors inflicted on him by war. These men dream about survival, peace, sex and home. Yet Steiner, like many of Peckinpah's male protagonists, is unwilling or incapable of being open to other ways of existing. He no longer knows where home is or where his children are; he hates the war but is fearful of what he will be without it. Dead to a world of other possibilities, what he chooses is to feel alive in the ecstatic moment of freedom achieved through the confrontation with violence and death.

Excerpt from Gabrielle Murray's comments at Senses of Cinema located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 28, 1977

Reviews         More Reviews       DVD Reviews

 Comparison:

HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition)  - Region 1- NTSC vs. Henstooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Pavel Borodin for the Warner and Lee's Vision Screen Caps!

(HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Henstooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution HensTooth Video
Region 1 - NTSC
HensTooth Video
Region 0 - NTSC

(Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Warner Home Video (UK)

Region 2 - PAL

Lee's Vision (Korea)
Region 0 - NTSC
Optimum (UK) / Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Distributor HensTooth Video
Special Edition
HensTooth Video
Region 0
Warner Home Video (UK) Lee's Vision (Korea) Optimum (UK) / Kinowelt (Germany)
Runtime 2:12:16 2:06:48 2:06:52 (4% PAL speedup) 2:12:28 2:12:41.083

Video

1.80:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.58 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.67 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

 

1.80:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.76 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.59:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.25 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,024,495,137 bytes

Feature: 38,033,541,120 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

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

Bitrate: Henstooth Widescreen Special Edition

Bitrate: Henstooth - Region 0

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Video (UK)

 

Bitrate:

 

Lee's Vision (Korea)

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono), DUB French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono) English, DUBS: French, Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1910 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1910 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles None None French, none English, Korean, none English, German, none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
HensTooth Video

Aspect Ratio:
Pan and scan - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by film scholar Stephen Prince, author of Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Photo Gallery of German Lobby Cards

DVD Release Date:
April 18th, 2006
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
HensTooth Video

Aspect Ratio:
Pan and scan - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Photo Gallery

DVD Release Date:
Feb 1st, 2000
Keep case

Chapters 12

 

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• Photo Album
• Filmographies

DVD Release Date: March 5, 2001
Keep case

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Lee's Vision (Korea)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.59:1

Edition Details:
• Synopsis (text in Korean)
• Filmographies (text in Korean)
• The World War II (text in Korean)
• Trailer

 

DVD Release Date:
Keep case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,024,495,137 bytes

Feature: 38,033,541,120 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
 Passion & Poetry: Sam Peckinpah's War  (46:07 in 567i)
On location (audio interviews)
- Sam Peckinpah (5:16)
- James Coburn (5:39)
- James Mason (6:14)
- Maximilian Schell (4:44)
- David Warner (3:24)
 Kruger Kisses Kern (8:37 in 576i)

 Letters From Vadim + Son (3:58 in 576i)
 Vadim + Sam: Father and Son (5:58 in 576i)
 Cutting Room Floor (4:23 in 576i)
 Steiner in Japan (2:03 in 576i)
 Mike's Homemovies: Steiner &  Kiesel Meet Again (7:27 in 576i)

 German Trailer (5:22 in 576i)
 TV spot USA (:39 in 576i)
 Trailer USA/UK (3:52 in 576i)

Blu-ray Release Date:
June 6th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray case inside slipcase

Chapters 12

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - June 11': I don't think I can add more than the matched screen captures below. The Optimum/Kinowelt 1080P transfer produces an image that is significantly superior to even the best SD image. It has up to 5 X the bitrate of the DVDs. It shows far more detail in most scenes and is significantly crisper with vastly better contrast. There is still some green in the image which we believe to be intentional and overall the Blu-ray visuals are a breath of fresh air from what we have seen previously via digital. Marvelous.

There are both English and German lossless tracks in stereo. They are both robust supporting some solid bass produced by the film's more aggressive sequences. After you pop the disc in - you immediately get the option of German or English menus - both discs support optional subtitles and the Blu-ray is region 'B'-locked.

The package is stacked with extras. There are a lots of short pieces (all in PAL) focusing on production, plus some star interviews (audio only) but the main supplements is a 45-minute documentary by Mike Siegel entitled  Passion & Poetry: Sam Peckinpah's War. Mike has a done a few 'Passion & Poetry' docs including the 2-hour "Passion & Poetry: The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah" (Reviewed by DVDBeaver HERE).  Sam Peckinpah's War has many (Coburn, Mason etc.) discussing the film and director plus Peckinpah himself at times. It is in German and English with forced English subs when necessary. This is another excellent piece by Siegel but hardcore fans may wish to pick-up the HensTooth SE DVD for the Stephen Prince commentary.

This is a wonderful Blu-ray package and makes for an easy recommendation of a memorable film. Fans should be elated.

***

NOTE (From SeelandRecords of DVDBeaver ListServ): I must take exception to the comparison up for CROSS OF IRON. Firstly, the claim that the Korean edition is "closer to the intended 1.66 ratio" is not true. The sides are clearly cropped in comparison to the other two anamorphic transfers, as well as the top being opened up a bit. Furthermore, the most likely ratio for this film would ideally be 1.75/UK/European widescreen commonly aimed for in the 1970s (but was also surely framed with the intention of being screened 1.85 in the USA). The idea that it was intended to be shown with that much dead space at 1.66 in 1977 is highly unlikely. But more to the point, the sides are lopped off in the Korean disc, which is obviously a goof.

And I own the Korean edition, and have never felt the color scheme was very accurate; the loss of blue imagery towards pink indicates typical color fading of (dreadful) Eastman film of the 1970s (though that is very difficult to assess with accuracy because one never knows how the telecine clown farted around with the colors). It also suffers from a slight smeary quality to the movement of the image. Finally, from the frame grabs of the Warner/PAL and the new Hen's Tooth, they appear to be _identical_ transfers, though perhaps someone boosted contrast slightly in the Warner disc. If it were up to me, non-progressive transfer or not, I'd opt for the Hen's Tooth - that and the Warner appear to have more accurate color transfers and ratio

ADDITION(s): HensTooth - NTSC (both SE and original): Well, although the new HensTooth Widescreen SE is a humungous improvement over the Full-Frame (Open Matte?) PAL-sourced original, which was horrendous, it is still far from perfect. HensTooth have enhanced the transfer (16X9) closer to its original ratio of 1.66 (but still not completely accurate at around 1.80). The frame has a black border around it limiting the horizontal resolution and it exhibits 'combing' indicating it is not from an HD source (see last capture). Looking at the bitrate it definitely looks like it is from an analog source. Watching through a tube TV it will probably be far less noticeable. It doesn't appear as sharp as the Warner UK DVD. The Lee's Vision is about 1.59 (closer to the original aspect ratio) and has the sharpest video quality. Skin tones on the Korean release seem decidedly red so I'll wager the colors have been manipulated to a certain degree. HensTooth have added a good commentary and some lobby card extras.

This is a shame as this film is a real gem, but what we would most desire is a widescreen transfer in its correct ratio (that elusive 1.66), tight to the frame and keep the commentary on the new HensTooth. Till then we have dual recommendations - the new Hen'sTooth for extras, and the Lee's Vision for image. Whatever you do don't buy the original HensTooth - it's one of the worst transfers ever. 

 -Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

(HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Henstooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 



(Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample Studio Canal Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) HensTooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) HensTooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) HensTooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) HensTooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) HensTooth Video (Widescreen Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) HensTooth Video - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Warner Home Video (UK) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Lee's Vision (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Optimum/Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


NOTE: HensTooth SE still has 'combing'...

More Blu-ray Captures


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

HensTooth SE

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution HensTooth Video
Region 1 - NTSC
HensTooth Video
Region 0 - NTSC
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Warner Home Video (UK)

Region 2 - PAL

Lee's Vision (Korea)
Region 0 - NTSC
Optimum (UK) / Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...