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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Sands of the Kalahari [Blu-ray]


(Cy Endfield, 1965)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:59:24.198

Disc Size: 20,639,787,273 bytes

Feature Size: 20,400,746,496 byte

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 2nd, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit






• None





Description: A chartered plane crashes in a remote African desert after colliding with a swarm of locusts. It’s not the harsh surroundings or the vicious baboons that the survivors have to worry about, but a fellow crazed passenger. The stellar cast includes Stuart Whitman as a businessman and big-game hunter, Stanley Baker as a chain-smoking and alcoholic mining engineer, Susannah York as a beautiful young divorcee, Nigel Davenport as the plane’s captain, Theodore Bikel as a doctor and Harry Andrews as an elderly German gentleman. This was the sixth and final teaming of Baker and his Zulu director Cy Endfield.



The Film:

A dogged, desperate struggle for survival by six people lost in the wastes of a Southwest African desert after the crash of their small chartered plane is the substance of "Sands of the Kalahari," an old-fashioned adventure film—old-fashioned even down to a wrestling scene. It opened in neighborhood theaters yesterday.

As usual in these grim survival pictures, there are several standard types in this group, including, of course, the lone woman, who is played by Susannah York. There's the pilot of the plane, a flighty fellow, played by Nigel Davenport. He's the one who tries to attack the woman early along and is quickly frightened off—not by another fellow, mind you, but by the woman's demanding attitude.

Excerpt from Bosley Crowther at the NY Times located HERE

Shot on location in South Africa, this adventure and social allegory, adapted by the highly talented director Cy Endfield from a novel by William Mulvihill, reveals the ethics of a group of plane-crash survivors as they move through the desert wilds—including a self-absorbed, gun-packing American (Stuart Whitman), an English divorcee (Susannah York), a failed mining engineer (Stanley Baker), and a couple of middle-aged men from eastern Europe. Brittle and acerbic in the Endfield manner, with a fine visual sweep, this is a capable genre piece with little wasted motion; it can also be read as a brutal critique of American self-interest in a third-world context.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader located HERE

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

Sands of the Kalahari looks better on Blu-ray to my eye than Olive's Crack in the World. This is 1080P but only single-layered. Detail is at a higher level than SD could relate and colors show some surprising brightness against the dusty desert terrain. Skin tones seem reasonable and contrast exhibits solid black levels. Daylight scenes dominate but even inside the cave darkness - there is minimal noise. This Blu-ray is clean and gave me a decent HD presentation. It's no 'demo' but produced a enjoyable screening of a film I had never seen before.  By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt much more could be done.


















Audio :

It's a fairly wimpy, but authentic, mono track in linear PCM at 768 kbps. No boost but even through the front channel we have some minor depth and there is a healthy amount of aggression in the film. The score by John Dankworth is supportive with some tension in the required scenes. I don't expect it sounded much better theatrically and there are no subtitles offered. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

Typical of Olive Films - especially with their Paramount titles - there are no extras at all. It's another totally bare-bones package.



This is a solid African-adventure film in the Endfield style. I was right into it and loved the premise (reminding me of Flight of the Phoenix), action and characters. The Blu-ray benefits over SD in a few important areas. Sure, we recommend despite the price being high with the lack of subtitles or supplements. It makes for a good night in the HT. 

Gary Tooze

June 12th, 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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