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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by John Sturges
USA 1963

 

One of the most exciting adventure tales ever told, this action epic recounts the planning, execution, and aftermath of a daring true-life escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, in which 250 men attempted to tunnel their way to freedom. In the role that cemented his superstar status, Steve McQueen plays the motorcycle-racing daredevil who sets out to foil the Nazis, alongside an all-star cast that includes Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, and Donald Pleasence. The expert direction of John Sturges, eminently hummable Elmer Bernstein score, and rip-roaring stunts come together in what may just be the most spectacularly entertaining prison-break movie of all time, a rousing ode to the determination, camaraderie, and courage of everyday heroes.

***

The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocate them to a high-security 'escape-proof' camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story.

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 20th, 1963

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 2:52:14.741        
Video

2.35:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 97,233,378,034 bytes

Feature: 96,871,534,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 63.99 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

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

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

DS-HD Master Audio English 1891 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1891 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1835 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1835 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1570 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1570 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

2.35:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 97,233,378,034 bytes

Feature: 96,871,534,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 63.99 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

NEW Audio Commentary by Filmmaker/Historian Steve Mitchell and Combat Films: American Realism Author Steven Jay Rubin
Audio Commentary with Director John Sturges, Actors James Garner, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, Jud Taylor and Many other Crew Members Moderated by Steven Jay Rubin

 

Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Return to THE GREAT ESCAPE: Making of the Classic with the Cast and Crew (24:09)
THE GREAT ESCAPE: Bringing Fact to Fiction Narrated by Burt Reynolds (12:21)
THE GREAT ESCAPE: Preparations for Freedom Narrated by Burt Reynolds (19:50)
THE GREAT ESCAPE: The Flight to Freedom Narrated by Burt Reynolds (9:22)
THE GREAT ESCAPE: A Standing Ovation Narrated by Burt Reynolds (5:58)
The Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones Narrated by James Coburn (25:01)
THE GREAT ESCAPE: The Untold Story Documentary by Steven Clarke (50:47)
THE GREAT ESCAPE: The Untold Story Additional Interviews (9:35)
Theatrical Trailer (2:42)


4K Ultra HD Release Date:
January 11th, 2022
Black 4K Ultra HD Case inside O-card slipcase

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Kino 4K UHD (January 2022): Kino have transferred John Sturges' The Great Escape to 4K UHD. Like their The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 4K UHD it, perhaps unusually, has no HDR (High Dynamic Range) applied.  Although it is advertised on the package as being transferred with Dolby Vision, it is in-fact NOT. The disc takes up just under 98 Gig of the 100 Gig available (triple layered) for the almost 3-hour film. The bitrate is almost triple that of the 2020 Criterion Blu-ray. Kino's package is 2-discs and includes a, Region FREE, Blu-ray of extra features. 

There is a minor uptick in contrast, depth. The true value here is the 3840 X 2160 resolution. The resulting 4K UHD image is a pleasing uptick over Blu-ray - slightly brighter in spots, cooler in others while detail and grain are expressed in a more film-like manner. Bottom line; yes, it is a noticeable difference depending on your system. The Criterion Blu-ray had yellowish, golden, sometimes green or earthy hues where this is more like the MGM Blu-ray colors (blue-ish in spots), consistent tones, plus a dynamic advancement in resolution. While the presentation isn't jaw-dropping it is consistent and wonderful with color and contrast depth that hasn't been available on home theatre digital.

NOTE: 100 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: The Red Shoes (software uniformly simulated HDR), Citizen Kane (software uniformly simulated HDR), Unbreakable (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mulholland Dr. (software uniformly simulated HDR), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Hills Have Eyes (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Servant (software uniformly simulated HDR), Anatomy of a Murder (software uniformly simulated HDR), Taxi Driver  (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Wolf Man (1941) (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frankenstein (1931) (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Deep Red (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Misery (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Silence of the Lambs (software uniformly simulated HDR), John Carpenter's "The Thing" (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Cat' o'Nine Tails (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (software uniformly simulated HDR), Perdita Durango (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Django (software uniformly simulated HDR) Fanny Lye Deliver'd (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, (NO HDR applied to disc),  Rollerball (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Chernobyl  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Daughters of Darkness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vigilante (software uniformly simulated HDR), Tremors (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cinema Paradiso (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bourne Legacy (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR) Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsing (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR), Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

On their 4K UHD, Kino gives the option of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track or a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround bump - both 24-bit in the original English language. Like the Criterion, plenty of aggressive effects including machine gunfire, motorcycles, planes and trains, come through with surprising depth on the surround and there are less-discreet separations more passive on the Kino than the Criterion. The dual-mono track here has more bass than Criterion's linear PCM which is less robust. I have no idea how authentic that is. The iconic score is by Elmer Bernstein (From the Terrace, The Hallelujah Trail, The Grifters, Birdman of Alcatraz, Love With the Proper Stranger, The Bride at Remagen, The Comancheros, The World of Henry Orient, Kings of the Sun, Hud, To Kill a Mockingbird, Summer and Smoke). For the remarkable score Bernstein composed a full sixteen themes including; the 'Great Escape March', which serves as the film's main theme. It sounds very supportive in the lossless. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE 4K UHD.

The 4K UHD disc has two audio commentaries - a new one by filmmaker/historian Steve Mitchell and Steven Jay Rubin (author of Combat Films: American Realism, 1945-2010.) These guys work very well together - both experts on The Great Escape. They discuss Sturges, the extensive cast, the documentary The Coolest Guy Movie Ever, Christophe Espenan's tribute to The Great Escape, a bit on McQueen's stubbornness over demanding script changes (sitting for 6 weeks!), the potential of James Garner filling his role and much much more. It is quite revealing and well worth the indulgence. The second commentary is the same one found on the 2003 MGM DVD and 2013 Blu-ray featuring actors James Coburn, James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Jud Taylor and David McCallum, second unit director Robert E. Relyea, production designer Fernando Carrere, 'talent manager' Hillard Elkins (who represented McQueen), stuntman Bud Ekins and features an interview with Sturges from 1974. It is hosted by Steven Jay Rubin.

The included second disc, Region FREE, Blu-ray. is filled with the previous MGM featurettes - all found on the 2013 BD; the six part featurette (The Great Escape: Bringing Fact to Fiction, Preparations For Freedom, The Flight to, A Standing Ovation, The Untold Story and The Untold Story - Additional Interviews.) We get the 25-minute Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones piece and the equal-length'ed Return to The Great Escape. There is also a trailer and the package has a handsome O-card (opening at both ends) slipcase.

Kino's 4K UHD release of John Sturges' The Great Escape offers a faithful image in the 3840 X 2160 resolution of this Panavision-filmed gem. It's the best the film has looked for hi-res TV systems. The Great Escape is the stuff of adventure suspense war cinema legend - one of the highest-grossing films of 1963 - noted for its Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle chase and jump stunt scene as possibly the most memorable in film lore. The international cast is a 'who's who' with McQueen (Captain Virgil Hilts 'The Cooler King'), Garner ('The Scrounger'), Richard Attenborough ('Big X'), Charles Bronson (phobic 'Tunnel King'), Donald Pleasence (sight-challenged 'The Forger'), James Coburn (Australian 'The Manufacturer'), David McCallum etc. plus more filling the almost 3-hour running time. It's a must-own for fans of this genre and the uptick of 4K UHD, new commentary, old commentary and Blu-ray disc of featurettes make it a desirable package to have in the digital library. 1963's The Great Escape is a film you want to have in the very best presentation available. This is it. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY and 4K UHD CAPTURE TO SEE IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

Big thanks to  Enrique B Chamorro for the LaserDisc captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion (Laserdisc) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion (Laserdisc) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


Compromised outdoor image between 1 hour 22 to 1 hour 32 minutes looks thicker and grainer on all editions

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM


(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

 


 
Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region FREE - 4K UHD

 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 


 


 

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