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H D - S u p e r E

A view on HD DVDs by Matthew Eizenga

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) - HD

(Lewis Milestone, 1962)

 

 

Review by Matthew Eizenga

 

Warner (USA)

 

2.76:1 1080p

185 minutes

Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 5.1 French, Spanish 1.0

Subtitles: Optional English, French, Spanish

Extras:

- Alternate Prologue and Epilogue sequence not seen in theatres

- New Featurette: After the Cameras Stopped Rolling: The Journey of the Bounty

- 4 Vintage Featurettes: Story of the HMS Bounty, Voyage of the Bounty to St. Petersburg, 1964 New York World’s Fair Promo,

- Marlon Brando Movie Trailer Gallery

New Digital Transfer from Restored 65mm Elements

Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

Released: 26 November 2006

HD-DVD case

Background:

Per our good friend Wikipedia:

The mutiny on the Bounty was a mutiny aboard a Royal Navy ship on 28 April 1789 which has been made famous by several books, films, and other media such as songs. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian against the captain, William Bligh. Bligh was then cast adrift in a small open boat with 18 loyal men.

Reviewing a film that came out 17 years before my birth is an honor and a privilege. Watching Marlon Brando on screen at a time when he was Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and George Clooney rolled into one, is really a treat. Most people my age (28) stick to the classics of our generation; Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Goonie’s. Being the movie lover that I am I force myself to seek out titles from the top 1000 of the IMDb. I love the challenge of finding a film and digging into the nuance of it all. A film like Bounty, with its grand scope (2.76:1) and breathtaking cinematography is something to behold, regardless of your generation gap. To find a film so stark and vivid that holds up as if it were filmed yesterday makes this young man’s movie mind leap into overdrive.

 

 


The set-pieces, the care and the time spent putting a movie like this together are sadly a thing of the past. It gives a great sense of scale to watch the HD DVD extras at the conclusion of the film. To witness the extremes that the filmmakers went to in order to bring the history back to life can make even a film novice stand up and applaud. Reviewing Mutiny in its finest presentation to date (on HD DVD) I was able to revel in the splendor that is not only Technicolor glory, but cinematography that is second to none.


Robert Surtees, Cinematographer on Ben-Hur, The Last Picture Show, The Sting, The Graduate and The Cowboys just to name a few, shot the film in 65mm Panavision and set one of the grandest scales he could for such a majestic film and earned a Best Cinematography Oscar Nomination for his work. He may not have won that year the honor went to Freddie Young for his luminous work on a modest film called Lawrence of Arabia.


Another fun fact of note: Mutiny on the Bounty went so far over budget that it forced MGM to liquidate assets to cover the films budget! Still it was a major critic favorite and earned 7 Academy Award nominations in 1963 including Best Picture.


If you are looking for a great piece of film history look no further than Mutiny on the Bounty on HD DVD, sit back point due east and enjoy.


Video:
The HD DVD version of the film boasts restored elements from the original 65mm negative (in theatres it was stretched with an anamorphic lens to a 70mm presentation). Simply put-- it shows. Until now there were two previous incarnations of this film on DVD, neither of which were given the treatment that Warner gave this version. You can tell that much time went into the process of aligning the Technicolor negative as well and painstakingly cleaning that negative up from dirt and scratches. There were a few blemishes and a few dust marks visible throughout the film but it never once took away from the final product. Point of fact, the entire time I was reveling in how amazing the fabrics were in the costumes and how beautiful Tahiti looks with its vibrant color palette. The films 2.76:1 aspect ratio was astonishing, it gave a wide canvas to work with for the director and he used the entire frame nearly all the time. Rarely a close-up will be used that doesn’t show details left and right that draw your attention away from the center focus. It may not have been perfect by today’s digital standards but I can say that for a film that is now 44 years old it was nothing less than perfect.

Captures taken from the Blu-ray Review located HERE


Audio:
The remastered DD Plus 5.1 soundtrack was certainly nice and at times shockingly active for a film four decades old. The film is center channel heavy and doesn’t rely too heavily on the surround speakers to do much overall. There are scenes here and that that really can amaze you with the rear channels roaring but they are the exception not the rule.


I would also like to add that if you are going to give the remaster treatment then why not go all the way and give it a Dolby TrueHD presentation; which this review presumes will become the standard with HD DVD. If you are going to give us the amazing video presentation then give us the lossless audio as well. I imagine the decision was made that with a film over three hours in length a lossless audio track was axed in order to conserve bandwidth (see the new King Kong for a similar criticism).

 

As Richard tells us in email: 'The film as originally presented was in 70mm ultra-panavision and magnetic six-track stereophonic sound. The theatre - the St James in Sydney - was renovated especially for MGM's roadshow movies, beginning with Ben-Hur, as I remember.
Those were the days, a seat in the "lounge" (front balcony) placed one directly in front of the giant curved screen surrounded by glorious multi-channel sound.
The theatre was huge, gracious and roadshow presentations were breathtaking !!
Congratulations to Warners for striving to duplicate some of that original splendor
.'


You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 5.1 French dub. Optional English SDH and French subtitles also are available to support the audio.


Extras:
When you finish the film go to your special features menu and watch After the Cameras Stopped Rolling: The Journey of the Bounty. It gives great insight into the making of the film and tells a great story of its own. From the Ships point of view, where it came from and where it ended up. The other extras listed above are worth a quick peak but there is nothing there to pop the disk back in if you miss. If you enjoyed the film as I did then do yourself a favor and watch After the Cameras Stopped Rolling: The Journey of the Bounty, you will be glad you did.
 

Conclusion:
Mutiny on the Bounty, not only tells a true story but it does so with class and elegance. This HD DVD presentation is the finest available for this film to date, so with no reserves I can easily recommend this to all fans of film, history or Brando. The guy is a legend what more do you want?

 

 

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Introduction:

Where do I start?  From the time I was a child watching films on BetaMax and VHS in the very early 80’s I was hooked on film.  From Star Wars to Pee Wee Herman and back again I was grabbed line and sinker.  The first time I realized the effect film had on me (that I can remember) was watching the Martin Scorsese film Casino in 1998.  The whole movie blew me away, but it was the scene with De Niro waiting in the desert for what he assumed was his fate, that I was swept away and had to know more about the craft.  The moment where the car drives across in the reflection of Deniro’s glasses to me was the ultimate “WOW” moment and set in motion my love affair with film.  I hope to translate some of that love that I have for films into my reviews so that you too can share in my passion.

Matthews Home Theatre:
Sharp 37-inch LG37GP1U LCD TV (1920x1080 Progressive Resolution)
Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD player
Yamaha RX Series Receiver

Athena 7.1 Audio Set up

I'm using the HD-XA1's analog audio connection to obtain Dolby TrueHD audio, when available.

 

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