The Black Shield of Falworth [Blu-ray]
(Rudolph Maté, 1954)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Universal International Pictures
Video: Eureka Entertainment
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,912,562,624 bytes
Feature Size: 23,833,878,528 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 21st, 2009
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
The Black Shield Of Falworth was Universal-International's first feature in Cinemascope; with colours almost hallucinatory in their garishness. The action is largely confined indoors with little location work off the lot. On a hunting trip the ageing Henry IV (Ian Keith, Nightmare Alley) needs must curtail his exercise, whereupon his host, the Duke of Alban (David Farrar, The 300 Spartans), is flattered to hear from his hangers-on that he will soon be the most powerful man in England. The Duke and his entourage stop at a humble farm to partake of some refreshment and one of the Duke's lackeys makes lecherous advances to the young peasant girl he finds there: he is soundly beaten by the girl's brother Myles (Curtis) who also knocks about the Duke's guards. Myles, his sister Meg (Barbara Rush, It Came From Outer Space), and their companion Diccon, make their escape to the local monastery, where the Abbott gives them a letter of introduction to the Earl of Mackworth. The Abbott explains that the Earl owes the youngster's father a favour. The siblings know nothing of their parentage and Myles in particular is eager to know his birthright.Excerpt from review by J.C. Hartley at VideVista,net located HERE
The Black Shield of Falworth appears very decent - approaching stellar on Blu-ray. Colors are bright - grain is apparent and detail advances beyond SD. This is only single-layered but it's always nice to see an earlier classic brought to hi-def disc. The print used for this 55-year old film seems in quite good shape. In motion the image is very smooth and exceptionally clean with only a very few erratic speckles being noted. Skin tones seem true - contrast exhibits adequate, if not piercing, black levels. For the majority of the film daylight scenes are used and they look very good. This Blu-ray has no intrusive noise or blockiness. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film The Black Shield of Falworth with vibrant colors and consistent grain that stand out as the most impressive attributes.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
No boost going on here - it appears to be the same 2.0 Dolby Digital channel track used on the previous Eureka DVD of The Black Shield of Falworth. I would have thought that an upgrade to PCM would have been appropriate but the film doesn't really require a dynamic audio expression. The film's score is unremarkable and fairly typical of the 'genre' - it doesn't produce heavy bass or rousing fanfare - excepting in some of the action sequences at the end of the film. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Like the DVD - there are no extras for this.
September 20th, 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