Directed by John Sturges
UK 1976

 

The storyline of The Eagle Has Landed follows Caine as Colonel Kurt Steiner, the commander of a group of German soldiers under orders from Himmler (Donald Pleasence, doing his stock Teutonic villain role). Col. Steiner is ordered to parachute into England with the intention of assassinating Winston Churchill. Like the similar The Day of the Jackal (1973), which followed a plot to murder French President Charles DeGaulle, the story had the disadvantage of trying to maintain suspense when the audience knew full well that Churchill was never killed by Germans or anyone else. Jackal got around the problem by following the intricacies of the plot with almost excruciating detail. Eagle’s ace in the hole was provided by Sturges’s handling of the action sequences, a quality he brought to the historically foregone conclusions of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and The Great Escape.

Except from TCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 25th, 1976

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DVD Comparison:

LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray

LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:11:06  2:15:24.291
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.31 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 24,809,422,304 bytes

Feature Size: 24,596,453,376 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.22 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-2 Video

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

Bitrate:

 DVD

Bitrate:

 Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono)  Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Subtitles None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: LionsGate

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 letterboxed 4:3

Edition Details:

• Cast and Crew Text bios

• Churchill Text bio

DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2001

Keep Case

Chapters: 31

Release Information:
Studio: ITV

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Disc Size: 24,809,422,304 bytes

Feature Size: 24,596,453,376 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.22 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-2 Video

Edition Details:

• None

Blu-ray  Release Date: October 29th, 2008
Standard
Blu-ray  Case
Chapters: 15

 

Comments:

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

NOTE: I can confirm that the ITV Blu-ray is region free and will play on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

NOTE: I'm unsure if the Blu-ray is the 'Extended Version' of The Eagle Has Landed (I think so) but I can categorically state that the LionsGate is a different cut with certain segments totally missing. It is just over 4 minutes shorter.

Apologies - I know there are other DVD releases of The Eagle Has Landed available but I only own this single-layered Lions Gate - which is decidedly poor. So it's not much of a comparison. The DVD from 2001 breaks most of the production rules I can think of - non anamorphic, boosted as well as dampened, single-layered, no subtitles, the image is vertically stretched (distorting faces to unnatural proportions) etc. . The single-layered Blu-ray is not particularly strong for this new format but looks light years ahead of the standard-def image. Everything is a vast improvement but the MPEG-2 encode doesn't seem to bring out the best in the print used. It's obviously hi-def and shows greater detail than DVD but can look flat and soft at times. Speckles show on both editions.  The 1080P rendering really doesn't have any demonstrative flaws but I'll wager, digitally-speaking, that this is as good as The Eagle Has Landed going to get for a long while without some form of restoration. Colors tend to a warm palette but has a green caste occasionally noticeable - the bitrate is quite modest at around 20 mbps - but handily eclipsing the DVD with a very low 4.31 mbps.

NOTE: the Blu-ray tends to crop the image a bit mostly on the right edge.

Audio-wise the DVD's mono was, like the image, weak and the Blu-ray has a cleaner 2.0 channel. The LionsGate as no subtitles offered where the ITV Blu-ray has removable English.            

 

Both discs are bare-bones with only some text bios on the DVD as a supplement.

This is John Sturges last film and it seem to hold up acceptably. It's no masterpiece but is carried by the plot and performances (although I thought Hagman was quite hammy).  So the Blu-ray is definitely the best way to go for home viewing and this LionsGate DVD is really no better than a coaster.    

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus/ Extras


 


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LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC ITV - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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