H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Gandhi (2-disc) [Blu-ray]


(Richard Attenborough, 1982)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Tri-Star

Video: Sony Pictures


Region: 'A'

Runtime: 3:11:14.463

Disc Size: 44,786,103,147 bytes

Feature Size: 43,739,265,024 bytes

Average Bitrate: 30.50 Mbps

Chapters: 32

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 17th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1237 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1237 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1180 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1180 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, Arabic, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Introduction by Sir Richard Attenborough (1:24)

Commentary by director Sir Richard Attenborough

• Blu-ray Exclusive Gandhi's Legacy picture-in-picture track


Disc 2

Vintage Newsreel Footage (10:05)

• Sir Ben Kingsley Talks About Gandhi (19:23)

In Search of Gandhi (9:26)
Reflections on Ben (9:23 HD)

Looking back 18:21 HD
Shooting an Epic in India 17:56 HD
The Funeral 13;34 HD
Madeleine Slade : An Englishwoman Abroad 9:40 HD
Director's Chair - On casting / music 7:03

The Words of Mahatma Gandhi (1:58)
The Making of Gandhi Photo Montage







Description: Sir Richard Attenborough's 1982 multiple-Oscar winner (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley) is an engrossing, reverential look at the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who introduced the doctrine of nonviolent resistance to the colonized people of India and who ultimately gained the nation its independence. Kingsley is magnificent as Gandhi as he changes over the course of the three-hour film from an insignificant lawyer to an international leader and symbol. Strong on history (the historic division between India and Pakistan, still a huge problem today, can be seen in its formative stages here) as well as character and ideas, this is a fine film.



The Film:

In the middle of this epic film there is a quiet, small scene that helps explain why GANDHI is such a remarkable experience. Mahatma Gandhi, at the height of his power and his fame, stands by the side of a lake with his wife of many years. Together, for the benefit of a visitor from the West, they reenact their marriage vows. They do it with solemnity, quiet warmth, and perhaps just a touch of shyness; they are simultaneously demonstrating an aspect of Indian culture and touching on something very personal to them both. At the end of the ceremony, Gandhi says, "We were thirteen at the time." He shrugs. The marriage had been arranged. Gandhi and his wife had not been in love, had not been old enough for love, and yet love had grown between them. But that is not really the point of the scene. The point, I think, comes in the quiet smile with which Gandhi says the words. At that moment we believe that he is fully and truly human, and at that moment, a turning point in the film, Gandhi declares that it is not only a historical record but a breathing, living document.

This is the sort of rare epic film that spans the decades, that uses the proverbial cast of thousands, and yet follows a human thread from beginning to end: GANDHI is no more overwhelmed by the scope of its production than was Gandhi overwhelmed by all the glory of the British Empire. The movie earns comparison with two classic works by David Lean, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, in its ability to paint a strong human story on a very large canvas.

The movie is a labor of love by Sir Richard Attenborough, who struggled for years to get financing for his huge but "non-commercial" project. Various actors were considered over the years for the all-important title role, but the actor who was finally chosen, Ben Kingsley, makes the role so completely his own that there is a genuine feeling that the spirit of Gandhi is on the screen. Kingsley's performance is powerful without being loud or histrionic; he is almost always quiet, observant, and soft-spoken on the screen, and yet his performance comes across with such might that we realize, afterward, that the sheer moral force of Gandhi must have been behind the words. Apart from all its other qualities, what makes this movie special is that it was obviously made by people who believed in it..

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE



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

Gandhi had some incredible cinematography for its time - over 25-years ago.  The Blu-ray image has impressive moments, but the muted palette softness seems an intentional factor of the original source. Because this doesn't appear as vibrant or pristinely sharp as a new film-to-hi-def does not make the presentation weak - it towers above its DVD counterpart in all areas. It is dual-layered with the 3 hour feature taking up over 43 Gig of space on the first, of two, Blu-ray discs. Daylight scenes dominate the film and the visuals can be staggering at times if not consistently reporting abilities beyond the original appearance. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic film-like feel and close-ups are highly impressive. Grain exists though not abundantly overtaking the smoothness and clarity of the image. Contrast works well with black levels and shadow detail alike and the ever setting sun creating a perfect balance within the frame. Nothing leads me to believe that this transfer is anything but and accurate high-definition presentation of a monumental epic.

















Audio :

A TrueHD track but representative of its age more than anything. Some of Ravi Shankar's music dominantly comes out of the rears and the mix doesn't seem to have decent balance. I wouldn't say it is poor but it doesn't envelop the room evenly as one may have hoped. There are large crowd sounds, gunfire, trains, horses and appropriately silence that never seem to separate (even from each other) with the crispness that more modern films project in this HD track. Dialogue is clear and consistent from the center channel and there are a host of subtitle options, on both Blu-ray, (and 3 foreign language DUBs on the 1st disc) confirming this release as region FREE.




Extras :

There are duplications from the 2-disc SD DVD with the short introduction by director, Sir Richard Attenborough, and his, sometimes drawn-out, commentary on the first disc. This also included Blu-ray bells and whistles with a 'Gandhi's Legacy picture-in-picture track' and BD-LIVE for those who wish to indulge.

There is a second
Blu-ray disc stacked with information including 10 minutes of vintage newsreel footage of Gandhi, 20 minutes of Sir Ben Kingsley Talking About Gandhi and multiple other segments pieces, some of which are in HD, like In Search of Gandhi, Reflections on Ben, Looking Back, Shooting an Epic in India, The Funeral and much more. This is complete and covers immense production and historical ground.



Certainly a must-own film and the Blu-ray i
s the way to see it in your home theater. Purchasers should simply temper their expectations of an image and audio without extensive depth as neither attribute can compete as 'demonstration' material. This doesn't make the film any less impacting, educational or relevant and the Blu-ray gives the best viewing I've seen outside for a theater. For under $20, we surely recommend...

Gary Tooze

February 15th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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