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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Eagles Over London aka La battaglia d'Inghilterra [Blu-ray]

 

(Enzo G. Castellari, 1969)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Fida Cinematografica

Video: Severin Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:51:53.333

Disc Size: 22,593,537,031 bytes

Feature Size: 16,476,131,328 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.50 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 13th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

“Eagles Over Los Angeles” - Q+A with Tarantino as host (16:34)
Quentin Tarantino’s conversation with director Enzo G. Castellari - Part 2 (14:15)
Deleted Scene (:32 in HD! - German with English subs)
Trailers in HD (Eagles, Inglorious)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: In this World War II action-thriller, the British High Command finds itself in the thick of a huge dilemma when it is realized that they have long been infiltrated by spies form a German intelligence group. This all happens during the preliminary stages of the Battle of Britain.

Nine years before his WWII classic 'Inglorious Bastards', Enzo Castellari virtually invented the 'Macaroni Combat' genre with this over-the-top saga of valor, vengeance and machine- gun mayhem. Hollywood legend Van Johnson ('The Caine Mutiny') and Frederick Stafford (Hitchcock's 'Topaz') star as military officers pursuing a merciless team of Nazi saboteurs through war-ravaged London, featuring Castellari's jaw-dropping recreations of the evacuation of Dunkirk, the Battle Of Britain and more. Francisco Rabal ('Nightmare City'), Ida Galli ('The Psychic') and Luigi Pistilli ('The Good, the Bad & the Ugly') co-star in this explosive epic – also known as 'Battle Squadron' – now restored on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the U.S!

 

 

The Film:

Enzo initially delivers some solid action and does so with impressive scale, particularly the evacuation at Dunkirk. There are lots of boats, soldiers and planes and the magnitude of Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk is nicely conveyed. Other aspects are less successful such as the extended and poorly conceived dogfight over London that ends the film. It’s an unconvincing mélange of models and close up shots of Van Johnson that’s much too long considering the movie was really built around Captain Paul fighting German infiltrators. Enzo also occasionally uses a split screen approach that seems pointlessly arty and suffers badly unless you are watching a widescreen print. Considering how much fun his more well known The Inglorious Bastards was, Enzo’s Eagles Over London can’t help but suffer by comparison, but it still manages to deliver a decent amount of war-related carnage (one Nazi even kills a guy in a sauna) and looks like a much more expensive production than it probably was.

Excerpt from Monster Hunter located HERE

 

 


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

Eagles Over London fares better on Blu-ray than Severin's other Castellari film to 1080P; The Inglorious Bastards.  I'd say it is still fairly weak and has inconsistencies but the image quality seems a notch superior to the first offering. This is only single-layered and colors are bland with drab greens but I suspect it is accurate to the source - which may be the best available. Detail has strong moments but softness as well - it really varies. Noise is only minutely visible as is grain - but the latter is nice to see when it does make its presence known. The lighting of the film is suspect and I'll assume this reflects in the transfer's contrast. The cinematography has some interesting angles and split-screens, through triggers etc. When these are captured in high-definition it kind of brings out their uniqueness. The Blu-ray is most probably a decent representation of Eagles Over London but fans shouldn't expect too much - this is easily noted as HD - superior to SD-DVD - but depth and texture are not abundantly apparent.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost here - its a bland Dolby 2.0 channel track with the fronts being used exclusively. The quality is scratching, poor high end and exhibits no depth or range. I'd say this is even weaker than the image but surprisingly suitable for the film's nostalgic cache. I'll assume a lossless option would have required some extensive restoration although making this linear PCM may have improved it a certain degree although battle/bombing scenes do pick up the bass a bit. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

 

Extras :

No commentary but we get similar supplements to the Inglorious Blu-ray. First off is “Eagles Over Los Angeles” - a 16.5 minute Q+A with an exuberant Tarantino as host at the Silent Movie Theater from May 6th, 2008 - and the director/writer also has a one-on-one Enzo G. Castellari for 15-minutes rated as 'Part 2' (the first part being a half-hour on Severin's Inglorious package) There is a mini-deleted scene in German with English for 32 seconds in HD! and HD trailers for both Eagles and Inglorious.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
These original Italian war films have their own charisma and appeal with a certain following. I wasn't that much into Inglorious but appreciated this a bit more - with everything being a bit more polished and cohesive. It's actually a decent war-adventure-thriller in its own right and kind of cool to have on Blu-ray. I'd like to encourage Severin with their projects - exposing these clandestine Italian flics to HD audiences. I got into this film and had some fun - I think many others will to. 

Gary Tooze

October 8th, 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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