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(aka 'Die Vier im Jeep' or 'Quatre dans une jeep')

 

Directed by Leopold Lindtberg, Elizabeth Montagu
Switzerland
1951

 

Intrigue and danger follow the International Police on their rounds in post-WWII Vienna in this suspenseful made-on-location drama. The city is divided between the U.S., England, France and Russia, and each Jeep patrol is comprised of one sergeant from each country. The beautiful Franziska (Viveca Lindfors) wants to leave the Russian zone with her husband, an escapee from an interment camp, and American sergeant Ralph Meeker is sympathetic. But will the Russian sergeant say nyet?

 

Winner of the 1st Berlin International Film Festival - Golden Bear (Drama). Nominated at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or! The Soviet Union authorities, who felt insulted by the way the USSR is depicted in the story, protested against the release of the film in April 1951. This was the first film of, actor, Ralph Meeker.

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Theatrical Release: March 30th, 1951

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DVD Review: VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:38:06 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio French/English/German/Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (burned-in)
Features

Release Information:
Studio: VCI Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Your Job in Germany - 1945 (13:26)
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: October 26th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

Co-incidentally we just reviewed the 59th Annual Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear Award (Best Film) winner in The Milk of Sorrow (2009) - and this, Four in a Jeep is the very first Golden Bear award winner back in 1951!

Frankly, I couldn't get into this film - and you can plainly see one of the reasons. The VCI, single-layered, image quality is quite poor. On their website they claim that this is 'Digitally Remastered' (which, actually, means very little) and also "Restored". But, truth be told, it has damage marks beyond minor speckles, from a very weak source, muddy contrast and plenty of artefacts. The left side of the frame is uneven and frayed. It's hazy, dark and, perhaps, most detrimental of all - the burned-in subtitles are some of the worst I've ever encountered. They are small, hard to read and are surrounded by artefacts. The transfer is also interlaced and, overall, this borders on being labeled unwatchable - certainly not worthy of the film. I don't know the condition of other available sources of Four in a Jeep but if there was a superior DVD version - we would probably compare it. This doesn't support much of a presentation.

The audio is in no better shape with drop-outs and erratic volume levels. Probably less than half the film requires the subtitle translations and every time they came onscreen it became problematic. In the age of 1080P HD home theater viewing - this is a real come-down.

What I thought was shocking was the 1945 U.S.-made extra 'Your Job in Germany' made right after the war. It blatantly tells people never to trust Germans or forgive them by using historical data going all the way back to 1870 as reference! Even post-war this 13.5-minute instructional film demands people never fraternize with the German people or their children showing bombings of major European cities and human atrocities as supporting evidence. Wow - it was an eye-opener to see this ever... existed. The stern voice narrating sounds beyond bitter - almost like a fascist order. There is also some trailers.   

I'd really like the opportunity to see Four in a Jeep again - with clearer, more discernable, a/v. This poor transfer and source elements didn't ingratiate me to giving the film a fair chance. So, despite the low price - this VCI DVD is not recommended. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC



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