H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


North Face aka Nordwand [Blu-ray]


(Philipp Stölzl, 2008)



101 Distribution is selling the exact same region FREE Blu-ray disc in the US via:



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Dor Film-West Produktionsgesellschaft GmbH

Video: Metrodome Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:06:04.291

Disc Size: 23,359,540,264 bytes

Feature Size: 21,101,586,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: UK thicker Blu-ray case

Release date: April 27th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio German 2075 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2075 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, none



• Making Northface (17:47 in SD)

Visual Effect (2:18)

• Deleted Scenes (6:09 - Mandatory English subs)

• Text Interview with Philipp Stoelzl and Kolja Brandt

The Myth of the Eiger North face (text)

Timeline of attempts on the Eiger Mountain (text)

Cast and Crew Biographies (text)

Theatrical trailer

• UK theatrical trailer





Product Description:
Journey to a heart-stopping landscape of danger and relive 48 white-knuckle hours that would go down in history. This is the incredible story behind the first ever attempted scaling of the North Face of the infamous Eiger mountain. Summer 1936. Bearing the expectations of a nation and their Fuhrer, two climbers set out to be the first to conquer the last great problem . But soon their ascent becomes a race for survival threatened by injury and extreme storms. Suddenly, it becomes a pulse-pounding race against both time and the awesome forces of nature.

NORTH FACE is the tense, edge-of-your-seat documentary that relives 48 death-defying hours in the lives of the two climbers who scaled the eponymous wall of the Eiger Mountain in 1936. What started as an event that bore the expectations of their nation and Fuhrer became a race for survival when the pair became threatened by serious injury and unrelenting weather conditions.



The Film:

In May 1936, the Nazi Party needs Teuton heroes in the run-up to the Berlin Olympics. The previous year, two German climbers froze to death trying to scale the Eiger's near-vertical North Face.

Luise Fellner (Johanna Wokalek), editorial secretary at the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, knows two climbers who've always dreamed of the challenge, so she's dispatched by her boss, loyal Party member Henry Arau (Ulrich Tukur), to convince them to go for it. Now serving in the military cleaning latrines, Toni Kurz (Benno Fuermann) and pal Andi Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas), are surprised to see Luise -- especially Toni, with whom Luise once had something going.

Desperate to grab the chance to be a writer, Luise tries to convince them to take on the North Face for the glory of the Reich, but Toni proves obdurate. "I only climb for myself," he says, adding that, however good a climber is, the vicarious weather or sudden rock falls can always kill you.

Pair finally decides to go for it in mid-July. They're closely pursued and later joined by grizzled Austrians Willy Angerer (Simon Schwarz) and Edi Rainer (Georg Friedrich), as Luise, along with Henry and other celebs, observe from the comfort of a hotel terrace in the valley below. Remaining 70 minutes minutely reconstruct the actual climb and its nail-biting setbacks.

Excerpt from Variety located HERE



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

North Face appears very impressive on Blu-ray balancing nicely between detail and grain. The mountain cinematography can look quite incredible in 1080P (yes - this is 1080P not a European 1080i transfer). The Blu-ray can look exceptionally beautiful at times with a tight and occasionally glossy transfer.  Colors are bright and true and the visuals support a crisp inviting presentation. This Blu-ray has some depth and has no abundant flaws that I could determine.















Audio :

We have only one track offering - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2075 kbps in original German. It has some range and depth. The snow, heavy wind and rain scenes are the most notable for rear-speaker activity. It suits the film well enough. There are only optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

There is no commentary and the main supplement feature is Making North Face running less than 20-minutes. It's okay with input from the director and cast (with incredible scenery as a backdrop) on a variety of subjects but makes one realize so much more could have been said about this film. The Visual Effect piece takes up a scant 2-minutes and there are 6-minutes worth of, mostly inconsequential, deleted scenes with mandatory English subtitles. Aside from 2 trailers the rest of the extras represent text information onscreen with an interview with Philipp Stoelzl and Kolja Brandt, a historical bit on The Myth of the Eiger North Face and a timeline of climbing attempts on the Eiger Mountain.



These mountaineering features were quite big in Germany in the 1920s and it's nice to see a bit of a revival. This is solid, and occasionally grueling, adventure that gives a wonderful viewing on Blu-ray. This film is highly recommended and this package offers a great night in the home theater. A good friend suggested it to me - and I'd like to pass that right on to you. This is very much worth purchasing.  

Gary Tooze

July 28th, 2009




101 Distribution is selling the exact same region FREE Blu-ray disc in the US via:



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
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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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