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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Le Mans [Blu-ray]


(Lee H. Katzin, 1971)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Cinema Center Films

Video: Paramount Home Video



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

Runtime: 1:48:41.556

Disc Size: 36,555,133,236 bytes

Feature Size: 32,591,560,704 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.94 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 24th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4927 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4927 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1-ES / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1087 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1087 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1134 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1134 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1105 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1105 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1127 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1127 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)



English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, none



Filming at Speed: the Making of the Movie Le Mans (23:46 in 480i)

Theatrical Trailer (3:45 in 1080P)





Description: A classic auto-racing movie starring Steve McQueen, Le Mans puts the audience in the driver's seat for what is often called the most grueling race in the world. McQueen plays the American driver, locked in an intense grudge match with his German counterpart during the 24-hour race through the French countryside even as he wrestles with the guilt over causing an accident that cost the life of a close friend. McQueen is his usual stoic magnetic self, and the racing sequences are among the best ever committed to film. A solid character-driven story combines with raw visceral power to make Le Mans a rich tapestry of action and thrills.



The Film:

Racing-car buffs will probably flip over "Le Mans." The color photography of this film, encompassing every conceivable technical aspect of this world-famous competition, is dazzling. Thanks to director Lee H. Katzin and his semi-documentary framework, and to a pair of ace cameramen, you are really there, roaring around the road web centering on Le Mans, the French village hub.

And let's say this for Steve McQueen, a noted speed wheeler off the screen: The actor, who is the only familiar name in the cast, looks perfectly at home behind his wheel here.

Excerpt from Howard Thompson of the NY Times located HERE

Le Mans explores the intense and thrilling world of endurance racing as seen through the eyes of Michael Delaney (Steve McQueen) who is participating in the 24 Heures du Mans, a yearly event in France. The race is commonly referred to as the Grand Prix of Endurance and it's the oldest endurance race in motor sports. Due to the high speeds and length of the race some of the deadliest crashes in motor history have taken place during this annual event. Le Mans examines how a deadly accident has affected driver Michael Delaney and impairs his budding relationship with the widow (Elga Andersen) of another racer. Yet, the film's slim script leaves little room for story or character development; instead, the real focus is on the race itself and how it's experienced by the men who participate in it and the women who support them.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

Colors were one of the most notable characteristics of Le Mans when it Premiered theatrically 40-years ago and it is still a distinguishing factor via Blu-ray today - from Paramount. The image quality shows grain in a pleasing proportion and while there is not a lot of sharpness - this seems to be more in-line with the style it was shot. The textures here are wonderful for the dynamic sections of the filmed race.  This is dual-layered with a solid bitrate. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels and the colors are impressive. There are a lot of daylight scenes and these add a layer of vérité to the spectacle. This Blu-ray has a nice thick feel and easily advances beyond any SD editions. This is a film where the preferable method or presentation would be positively be 1080P where is it brings out the best attributes of Le Mans.


















Audio :

Audio is wild on this Blu-ray. Along with the option of the original mono in lossless - as well as uncompressed DUBs - we get a rip-roaring DTS-HD Master 7.1 at 4927 kbps which will tear through your home theater like you are on an active airport runway. Films 'back then' knew how not to be excessive with the effects and this supports the film so well as your heart rate rises and climbs with the action. Impressive in both depth and range this, surely, is the way Le Mans was meant to sound. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Not too much in the way of supplements with the vintage Filming at Speed: the Making of the Movie Le Mans running just shy of 25-minutes in 480i and an HD Theatrical Trailer.



Le Mans is definitely a film that benefits from the hi-def upgrade - especially true of the aggressive audio segments. What a spectacle! I was caught right up in this film which I *don't think* I have ever seen before - certainly I have never viewed it as penetrating, and memorable, as this. The Blu-ray offers an impressive presentation, well beyond the scope of car buffs, and we certainly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

May 17th, 2011

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.

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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