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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Salerno Beachhead')

Directed by Lewis Milestone
USA
1945

 

The Fighting 36th! They fought best when it was hopeless! During the World War II Allied invasion of Italy, the film stars Dana Andrews as Sgt. Tyne, one of the officers leading an attack on a farmhouse in the Italian countryside which functions as a German stronghold. When the ranking officers are killed soon after the platoon lands on the beach, Tyne must take over. The film is noted for its attempt to portray the infantryman s experience realistically, in particular the banter and mid-1940s slang. This WWII film was the first to use a ballad as a thematic element, a practice which, after HIGH NOON, would become a cliché of the 1950s. One of the best WWII films, A WALK IN THE SUN combines documentary-like sequences with a sharp awareness of the isolation of each soldier in the midst of battle. Includes: 2007 Interview with Norma Lloyd and Video featurette "The Fighting Men of the Texas Division".

***

One of the best movies to have come out of World War II literately scripted by Robert Rossen from Harry Brown's fine novel, and making marvellous use of the repetitive rhythms of GI banter (with the cheery Conte's Nobody dies!, for instance, gradually assuming the quality of an ironic incantation). Discreet, dispassionate, and subtly poetic, it traces the experiences, through one brief action, of an infantry platoon which 'came across the sea to sunny Italy and took a little walk in the sun'. Characterisation is sharp and simple, the focus kept strictly to the immediate realities of fear and boredom, so that there is none of the special pleading of Milestone's earlier All Quiet on the Western Front. Here messages are left to take care of themselves, although the introspective Ireland's habit of composing letters to his sister in his head is used more than once to subversive effect. 'We just blew a bridge and took a farmhouse' he begins after the action in which a lot of his platoon died, 'It was easy...so terribly easy': a rare acknowledgement at that time of every soldier's innocently selfish joy that he didn't die.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 3rd, 1945

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DVD Review: VCI - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:56:52 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.41 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Norman Lloyd on "A Walk in the Sun" by Jeff Joseph (1:00:50)
• The Men of "A Walk in the Sun" by Joel Blumberg (32:26)
• Trailers (Surrender Hell + A Walk in the Sun) - 5:30

DVD Release Date: November 24th, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

Firstly, this shouldn't be confused with Hans Dahlberg's, excellent, 1978 En vandring i solen (translated as "A Walk in the Sun").

Bless VCI - I don't know why I have a soft spot for this production company - but I do. They always seem to be trying - although this again is an interlaced transfer (see 'combing' example in last capture below). The front cover of the box says "First Time - Restored and Uncut". This incredible war film has been floundering in the Public Domain with only very inferior prints or VHS ever available. This is far from perfect and starts out quite poorly - eventually improving. But the disc is dual-layered - detail is a bit hazy and contrast somewhat muddy - but the real star here is 'A Walk in the Sun' and I'm glad to have it, at least, looking, this limited accessible in the versatile disc format.

I might be wrong but this is the first VCI DVD release with optional subtitles. They are quite small and gaudy yellow but they do exist (see sample below). The audio is about the same level as the video with some rougher patches and audible weaknesses but it still looks like someone has done some form of digital restoration to help with an acceptable DVD presentation.

There are also some viable extras too! - we get actor Norman Lloyd discussing the film for over an hour plus a half-hour video piece entitled "The Men of 'A Walk in the Sun' by Joel Blumberg. There are also 2 trailers (Surrender Hell + A Walk in the Sun).

Despite the inferiorities and digital weaknesses - I still feel very strongly about this film and our recommendation is solely based on being able to see Milestone's masterful effort "A Walk in the Sun". Prepare for the worst via this DVD A/V and you should be thrilled with just seeing the film - if you have never had the opportunity before - this pragmatic disc is a must-own at less than $13!

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Combing from interlaced transfer
 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC



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