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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Pork Chop Hill [Blu-ray]

 

(Lewis Milestone, 1959)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: United Artists

Video: Film Media

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:37:55.870

Disc Size: 21,930,014,278 bytes

Feature Size: 21,247,346,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 7th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1580 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1580 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1597 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1597 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

French, (non-removable on some machines when English dialogue is chosen)

 

Extras:

• Introduction by Patrick Brion (6:40 in 576i - French language)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Pork Chop Hill was based on the eyewitness essays of ex-soldier S. L. A. Marshall. The film is set during the Korean... "police action." While diplomats argue pointlessly over the shape of the negotiation tables at Panmunjon, United Nations troops bleed and die. Lieutenant Gregory Peck leads a 135-man unit on the attack of the Chinese-held Pork Chop Hill. When reinforcements finally arrive, only 25 of Peck's men survive (and they aren't the usual survivors we've come to expect from earlier, cliché-ridden war films). Among the American troops are such dependable performers as Harry Guardino, Woody Strode, Rip Torn, Barry Atwater, George Peppard, Robert Blake and Martin Landau. Former cowboy-star Bob Steele also shows up briefly as an American general. According to director Lewis Milestone, Pork Chop Hill was cut by nearly twenty minutes because the wife of star Gregory Peck felt that her husband made his first entrance too late into the picture. True or not, the film does show signs of post-production tampering, with flashes of several excised scenes showing up under the main title credits.

 

 

The Film:

The use of a battlefield loudspeaker as an instrument of war to spray psychological discouragement over attacking infantrymen is the one novel feature that has been added to the familiar front-line war film formula in "Pork Chop Hill," which opened at the Roxy yesterday.

Actually, the enemy in this picture about an American infantry assault upon a nominally strategic position on the battlefront in the Korean conflict is not the faceless North Koreans and Chinese who resist the assault. They are merely the human mechanisms that fire the rifles and fling the hand grenades that make the advance of the Americans up the barren hill so grim and perilous.

Excerpt from NY Times located HERE

The Korean War saga, Pork Chop Hill (1959), was based on the eyewitness accounts of ex-soldier S. L. A. Marshall. It takes place during the final hours of peace negotiations between Korea and the U.S. and recounts the capture of Pork Chop Hill by American troops, an action ordered only to demonstrate to Communist negotiators that the U.S. would continue to fight if an agreement was not reached. Told with a hard-nosed style of harsh realism and fluid action, the film stars Gregory Peck and a bevy of up-and-coming actors, such as George Peppard, Martin Landau, Rip Torn, Harry Guardino, Harry Dean Stanton, Robert Blake, and Woody Strode. But despite the presence of new talent in front of the cameras, it was the sure-handed direction of veteran Lewis Milestone that determined the impact of Pork Chop Hill.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

Pork Chop Hill looks pretty sweet on Blu-ray from Film Media in France. The aspect ratio is a surprising 1.66 where I believe the original film would have been 1.85:1. Contrast exhibits a grayish/slightly green tinge but I don't know that this darker look is not totally accurate to the original production. It is consistent, clear with impressive detail. This Blu-ray has only a small amount of noise - a spark of grain - and generally looks to service the film in a strong way.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We are provided with a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo at 1580 kbps. Sounds clear - the battle sequences (explosions, gunfire etc.) have some 'presence'. I can only expect this is a faithful rendition of the original sound. It sounded solid to me without, obviously surround separations. There was a bit of perception of such within the HT space. There is a lossless French DUB and the French subtitles are only removable (when English dialogue is chosen) on some machines - but not all machines. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

The only extra is 7-minute introduction by cinema historian Patrick Brion - only in the French language - no subtitles.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Great war film - actually great film - period. All the foibles of combat war come to the surface - especially sacrifice. The Blu-ray isn't perfect but it gave me a wonderful presentation of a true classic - far superior to the lesser format. Many fans will be very happy with viewing this in their Home Theater. 

Gary Tooze

April 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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