(Kevin Brownlow, 1975)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: BFI Production
Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 41,537,765,144 bytes
Feature Size: 20,558,608,512 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.89 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 3rd, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
New filmed interview
with Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo (39:41 in HD!)
(1:43 in HD!)
Description:1649. With poverty and unrest sweeping England, a group of impoverished men and women, known as the diggers, form a settlement on St George's Hill, Surrey. Inspired by the visionary leadership of Gerrard Winstanley, the commune's tireless, yet peaceful, attempts to assert their right to cultivate and share the wealth of the common land, are met with crushing hostility from local landowners and government troops.
With Winstanley, filmmakers Brownlow and Mollo (the creators of It Happened Here) have produced an astonishingly authentic historical film, and a powerful, moving story of one extraordinary man's vision.
Aside from some exceptionally grainy sequences at the beginning of the film (which may actually be intentional for all I know or derived from the 16mm elements - see first capture below) and some very light scratches - this Blu-ray image is magnificent with some of the best defined contrast I've seen in a long while. Winstanley was restored (Producer James White) in 2K using the original 16mm and 35mm negative and finegrain elements held at the BFI Archive and the Blu-ray disc was made directly from that 2K master. Winstanley cover 20 Gig of the dual-layered disc with a video bitrate of 23.89 Mbps. This looks just beautiful at times with the film's varying textures jumping to life and occasionally showing some depth. This is really marvelous to watch.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
BFI continues to stick with the original audio avoiding artificial bumps. The linear PCM 2.0 track at 1536 kbps is of clean and straightforward quality - representing the film's dialogue accurately and consistently. It is the only audio option on this disc. There are optional subtitles in English only and my Momitsu has identified this as being region FREE!
We get a newly filmed interview with Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo running just shy of 40-minutes, a 1962 Brownlow short; 9 Dalmuir West ... a record of the last weekend of the Glasgow trams but perhaps the best supplement is Eric Mival's 1976 'making of' Winstanley entitled It Happened Here Again narrated by John Rowe. There is also a fully illustrated 32-page liner notes booklet with contributions by Marina Lewycka (author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian), Eric Mival, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Tom Milne, and David Robinson; plus biographies and credits.
July 22nd, 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
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Gary W. Tooze