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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Ice Station Zebra [Blu-ray]

 

(John Sturges, 1968)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:29:10.983

Disc Size: 41,029,875,203 bytes

Feature Size: 39,994,275,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.93 Mbps

Chapters: 19

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 9th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3482 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3482 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

'The Man Who Makes a Difference (7:14)

• Trailer (2:39)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The U.S. nuclear sub Tigerfish churns toward the North Pole. Its mission: rescue the imperiled members of weather outpost Ice Station Zebra. On board are Cmdr. Ferraday and his crew, several unexpected arrivals with secret orders - and enough suspicions, suspense and twists to make Ice Station Zebra an engrossing espionage thriller. The Cold War heats up as John Sturges (The Great Escape) directs Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown and more in this epic adventure nominated for two Academy Awards and featuring taut action set pieces above and below the ice. All hands to stations for excitement!

 

 

The Film:

A top-secret Soviet spy satellite -- using stolen Western technology -- malfunctions and then goes into a descent that... lands it near an isolated Arctic research encampment called Ice Station Zebra, belonging to the British, which starts sending out distress signals before falling silent. The atomic submarine Tigerfish, commanded by Cmdr. James Ferraday (Rock Hudson), is dispatched with orders to get to Ice Station Zebra carrying three passengers, a Englishman going by the name of David Jones (Patrick McGoohan), a Soviet turncoat named Boris Vaslov (Ernest Borgnine), and an American Marine officer, Captain Anders (Jim Brown), who is supposed to command the Marine unit assigned to the mission. Jones is problem enough, as he is in command of the mission and he prefers to withhold as much information as it's possible to do from Ferraday, even at the risk of the Tigerfish's safety. Add to that the fact that Anders is suspicious of Vaslov, and Vaslov seems much too inquisitive and is telling even less of what he knows about the mission, and Ferraday has his hands full trying to get these men to the polar ice -- 600 miles of dangerous travel -- in just two days. When an attempt to break through the ice -- coupled with some timely sabotage -- kills one man and nearly destroys the boat, the men surrounding these contending parties start to understand just how high the stakes are for everyone. It turns out that the Soviets want what was aboard that satellite as much as the West does; indeed, both sides are frantic to get it, and, just as much, to keep the other side from getting it -- and they're prepared to take it by brute force. Once Ferraday and his men arrive at Zebra, they find a disaster and still more mystery, with most of the men dead and the object that Mr. Jones is supposed to secure nowhere in evidence, and he and his two fellow men of mystery suddenly showing their killing instincts quite freely. And with the storm clearing from the Soviet side first, their planes and their paratroops are closing in on Ferraday, and his relative handful of men.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Ice Station Zebra looks very strong on Blu-ray from Warner.  The image has impeccable contrast with impressive detail.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and black levels are intense. There is no noise and the 2.35:1 aspect ratio shows some depth. Colors are tight and bright. There is a modicum of gloss. This Blu-ray is consistent and very clean easily eclipsing the last SD editions. This looked great on my Home Theater screen.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

A solid bump with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3482 kbps. The separations aren't always as crisp as modern transfers but there is some subtleties that work well for the aura. Michel Legrand shows his versatility and adds some situational intensity  via his score that may be the biggest beneficiary of the uncompressed track. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Extras include The Man Who Makes a Difference is a 7-minute MGM short film focusing on cinematographer John M. Stephens. There is also a theatrical trailer for the film.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Ice Station Zebra is an engaging spy-espionage yarn with a solid cast. It holds up just as well today and the Blu-ray produces a solid a/v presentation. Not as good as the Alistair MacLean novel - but not far off either. I think many will be pleased with the viewing experience in their Home Theaters. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

October 3rd, 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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