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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Buccaneer [Blu-ray]

 

(Anthony Quinn, 1958)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:00:46.530

Disc Size: 22,153,276,984 bytes

Feature Size: 21,977,008,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.20 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 28th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 882 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 882 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Cecil B. DeMille was set to direct a remake of his 1938 swashbuckler classic, The Buccaneer, he suddenly fell very ill and his son-in-law and screen legend, Anthony Quinn jumped in and took over the directorial duties… this was the first and only film directed by Quinn. Yul Brynner plays the debonair pirate Jean Lafitte who historically aided General Andrew Jackson (Charlton Heston) against the British during the War of 1812. Lafitte has been carrying a discreet love affair with Annette Claiborne (Inger Stevens), the daughter of governor William Claiborne (E.G. Marshall) who promises to pardon the pirate and his men. The stellar cast includes Charles Boyer as Lafitte’s right hand man and Claire Bloom as the daughter of a rival pirate. Credited as Supervising executive producer, this was Cecil B. DeMille’s final film; he died shortly after the release of this film.

 

 

The Film:

After learning that Washington had been burned by the British, Jackson (Charlton Heston) is sent to defend New Orleans. Aware that the bayous are the key to the city’s defence, when he hears that Jean Laffite controls the best approach to the city, he thunders that he will hang the pirate, not deal with him. Laffite (Yul Brynner) leads a group of pirates who sell their captured cargoes at Barataria. A noble pirate who is in love with Louisiana Governor William Claiborne’s daughter, Laffite forbids the capture of American ships. The daughter of a rival captain also wants Laffite, which sets the stage for a love triangle.

Excerpt from History on Film located HERE

Take a large portion of Cecil B. DeMille's epic storytelling, mix with the star power of both Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston, add a dash of Anthony Quinn's directorial chops, and a thin layer of historic verisimilitude for the War of 1812's famed Battle of New Orleans, and you'll have a gumbo stew known as The Buccaneer (1958).

During the War of 1812, General Andrew Jackson (played by Charlton Heston) has only 1,200 ragtag, tired soldiers left to defend New Orleans when he learns that a British fleet will soon arrive with an overwhelming force of 60 ships and 16,000 men to take the city. In this dire situation an island near the city becomes strategically important to both parties, but it happens to be inhabited by the most powerful pirate in the Gulf of Mexico, Jean Lafitte (Yul Brynner). When the big battle draws near, Lafitte must choose where his loyalties lie, despite his mercenary nature. His heart belongs to America, but his people urge him to join the party that's more likely to win.

Released in 1959 by Paramount Pictures, The Buccaneer was the last film to bear the stamp of one of Hollywood's founding fathers, the legendary Cecil B. DeMille.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

The Buccaneer on single-layered Blu-ray from Olive Films looks totally unremarkable. Colors show flashes of brilliance but detail is kept in-check and I wouldn't say much in the 1.78:1 frame speaks of the higher attributes of the new format.  The bitrate is at the low end of the scale. Contrast may be more substantial than SD - but it is not a dramatic improvement. Perhaps this is the best this film can look but dual-layering could have raised it to the next level. As it stands we have visuals that are superior to DVD - but not by enough to matter.

NOTE:

Oliver tells us in email "I have read this or something similar a few times too often recently so I am writing to you to point out that a VistaVision production like The Buccaneer will look better if treated properly. This an 8-perf horizontal 35mm format and if you want to know how good this can look just check out The Ten Commandments and The Searchers.

Maybe the cinematography of The Buccaneer was not quite up the standards of the two previous productions but certainly it could have looked better than the current Blu-Ray version and imo the fact that Paramount lets Olive films release this
Blu-ray is a strong indication that they do not plan to spend much money on this one."

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost - just the original mono track pushing through a modest DTS-Master. The action had a bit of 'umppff' but nothing noteworthy. Elmer Bernstein's score seems fine - but not particularly memorable. If I didn't know it was lossless - I wouldn't have guessed. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Typical of Olive films - no extras at all.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Buccaneer is not a film I would give a strong recommendation to. It seems a little low on action and big on stuck-up bravado. It has a few positives but not enough to encourage repeat viewings. The Blu-ray is mediocre, at best, and with no extras - seems pricey for the limited value offered. I'd say 'pass' on this one. 

Gary Tooze

February 26th, 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 5000 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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