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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Soldier's Story [Blu-ray]

 

(Norman Jewison, 1984)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Image Entertainment

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:40:54.048

Disc Size: 20,783,255,536 bytes

Feature Size: 20,396,580,864 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.92 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 31st, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Tensions flare in this gripping film about a murder on a black army base near the end of World War II. Captain Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.), a proud black army attorney, is sent to Fort Neal, Louisiana, to investigate the ruthless shooting death of Sergeant Waters (Adolph Caesar). Through interviews with Sarge's men, Davenport learns that he was a vicious man who served the white world and despised his own roots. Was the killer a bigoted white officer? Or could he have been a black soldier embittered by Waters' constant race baiting? Directed by Norman Jewison from Charles Fuler's Pulitzer Prize- winning play, A Soldier's Story is both a spellbinding mystery and a superb drama that transcends race.

 

 

The Film:

Jewison's film focuses on an investigation by Capt. Davenport (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.), an African-American officer who's been sent to Ft. Neal, Louisiana to uncover the truth about the murder of Sgt. Waters (Adolph Caesar), a cruel black drill instructor. Ft. Neal, however, is staffed by racist white officers who don't believe Davenport deserves his position in the military, and are dismayed by his insistence on determining who murdered a mere African-American soldier. Although many people think the investigation should be dropped, Davenport insists on talking to the soldiers and finding out as much as he can about their strained relationships with Waters. This all leads to a highly unexpected conclusion.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

From the man who brought you In the Heat of the Night, another spotlessly liberal look at racial problems, again in the Deep South. This time it's a question of murder as, back in 1944, Rollins' Poitier-style army captain is called in to investigate the killing of a black sergeant (Caesar) on a military base. Here the subject is less racial hatred between whites and blacks than problems with racial identity: what it means to be black in a white man's world. Nothing very original, to be sure, and the film's theatrical origins are clear from both the wordy script and the intense performances. But Rollins' charisma works wonders, and Jewison reveals enough solid professionalism in the deft handling of flashbacks to make it gripping entertainment.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

A Soldier's Story looks adequate on Blu-ray from Image Entertainment.  It's single-layered and while not scaling the heights of the format's visual capabilities - definitely looks more advanced than SD. Image released this on DVD back in 2010. This Blu-ray has strong textures - heavy grain and some noise. I suspect that this probably gives a decent, and un-manipulated, representation of the film. It's consistent and very clean and is pretty solid for an entertaining night in the Home Theater.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Image Entertainment utilize a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps. It's modest with no range but exports depth decently through the uncompressed track. Herbie Hancock supplies a mixed score that ranges from atmospheric and tense to light-hearted. It sounds quite good in lossless. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Nutt'in... not even a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Norman Jewison has been making great films for as long as I've been alive - from titles like The Cincinnati Kid (1965) to The Hurricane (1999). The Blu-ray is typical Image Entertainment - single-layered and bare-bones but the price is right for this above-average crime-thriller with racial overtones. Certainly recommended at the reasonable price! 

Gary Tooze

January 25th, 2012

 


 

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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