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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Soldier Blue [Blu-ray]

 

(Ralph Nelson, 1970)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: AVCO Embassy Pictures

Video: Kinowelt

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:55:13.740

Disc Size: 36,323,185,386 bytes

Feature Size: 35,583,178,752 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.96 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 23rd, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1614 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1614 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1622 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1622 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1585 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1585 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1593 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1593 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, Danish, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: After a cavalry group is massacred by the Cheyenne, only two survivors remain: Honus, a naive private devoted to his duty, and Cresta, a young woman who had lived with the Cheyenne two years and whose sympathies lie more with them than with the US government. Together, they must try to reach the cavalry's main base camp. As they travel onward, Honus is torn between his growing affection for Cresta, and his disgust for her anti-American beliefs. They reach the cavalry campsite on the eve of an attack on a Cheyenne village, where Honus will learn which side has really been telling him the truth.

 

 

The Film:

I'd forgotten how good this was. It's an unusual mix of tragedy, extreme violence and comedy-romance that divided audiences and the critics. In the wake of The Wild Bunch, Ralph Nelson's Soldier Blue was released in the very same year as comparable maverick-auteur classics M*A*S*H and Catch-22. It was denounced as just another example of pretentious, politically-aware twaddle by some, but praised by others for its bravery in taking a determined left wing stance against the sickeningly amoral violence of US foreign policy. In fact, today as then, this nearly 25-year-old movie is one that seems designed to split middle class viewers' opinions.

Excerpt from Video Vista located HERE

After a brutal Cheyenne massacre on a cavalry unit, two survivors -- Honus Gent (Peter Strauss), a devoted soldier, and "Cresta" Lee (Candice Bergen), a young woman sympathetic to the Indians -- must make their way to safety at a U.S. outpost. Along the way, they come to tolerate each other to survive. But upon arriving at the camp, Honus begins to question his allegiance when he witnesses a savage revenge attack against innocent Cheyenne.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

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

Soldier Blue should impress most viewers on Blu-ray from Kinowelt in Germany. The image quality may be a little glossier than I prefer but the bright colors (exclusively shot outdoors with natural lighting) and crisp detail are pleasing. There is also some notable depth on the dual-layered transfer with a lofty bitrate. There are hints of edge-enhancement but nothing debilitating if you don't use a magnifying glass for your presentation. The breadth of the Cinemascope ratio is frequently effective in 1080P through the open vistas and skies. This Blu-ray has a consistent and clean image that definitely gives value to the overall transfer. It looks a little different and exuberant than I was anticipating and this looks seems to suit the film very well. There is some fine background grain. Without knowing its theatrical image roots I'd say this transfer is from an excellent source. Thumbs up despite a shade of potential digital tinkering.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1614 kbps is competent if not overwhelming. There is some active aggression in the film with decent, if not booming, bass response and the go-to girl for these type of films, Buffy Sainte-Marie croons a piercing title tune as the film is supported by Roy Budd's varied score - sounding quite strong. There are optional DUBs subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

No extras - not even a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Critics site some bona-fide complaints about Soldier Blue - but I still think it has some value to offer if you can dismiss the obviousness in terms of compartmentalized political-correctness. Candy Bergman is great, Strauss less-so but still effective enough in his role. It can get quite gory at times - and that alone doesn't make for a good historical retrospective. I watched Soldier Blue and was interested throughout but it may be remembered more for its flaws than its western-adventure genre attributes. I do think there is enough here to warrant a spin on Blu-ray. Its kind of a forgotten western that many fans will be entertained by! 

Gary Tooze

August 8th, 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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