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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Odessa File [Blu-ray]


(Ronald Neame, 1974)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Image Entertainment



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

Runtime: 2:08:36.709

Disc Size: 23,388,913,864 bytes

Feature Size: 23,039,956,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.00 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 15th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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



English (SDH), Spanish, none



• None





Description: The year is 1963. The place: Hamburg, Germany. An elderly Jewish man commits suicide, leaving a diary which falls into the hands of a freelance newspaperman, Peter Miller (Jon Voight). The diary documents the unspeakable crimes of cruelty, torture and mass murder perpetrated by SS Captain Eduard Roschmann (Maximilian Schell), commandant of the notorious wartime deathcamp at Riga, Latvia. Miller launches a personal manhunt to track down Roschmann, an investigation that leads him into the very heart of Odessa, a powerful secret organization formed by the SS to protect and re-establish its fugitive members throughout the world. When Miller finds Roschmann, he learns that the former Nazi is now the leader of a weaponry complex of international, strategic consequence.



The Film:

Adapted from Frederick Forsyth's bestseller, a straightforward slice of investigative journalism that has Young Germany trying to reconcile itself to the evils of Nazism as Voight hunts down a protected war criminal (Schell) now high up in industry. Voight's performance gives credibility to his character's obsession, but even that cannot overcome the discrepancy between the deeper themes (mass execution and the expiation of guilt) and the routine nature of this piece of box-office action adventure.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

Jon Voight, as a diligent German free-lance journalist, and Maximilian Schell, as an ex-concentration camp commandant turned industrialist, stand out in this otherwise sluggish tale of Kennedy-era espionage and political double-dealing. Frederick Forsyth's thriller gets a more pedestrian treatment from Ronald Neame than his Day of the Jackal got from Fred Zinnemann, and the surprises increasingly fail to surprise. Neame has done better, if not particularly exciting, work with plays like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Tunes of Glory —but Voight has rarely been better (1974).

Excerpt from The Chicago Reader located HERE

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

The Odessa File appears on Blu-ray from Image Entertainment. The single-layered image quality if decent if not stellar. It probably looked quite similar to this theatrically almost 40 years ago. There is no noise - the black and white 'historic' sequences are a shade muddy but overall this is a leap beyond SD. No strong grain is visible but the image runs well in-motion. Colors lean to earthy browns and greens. The transfer is competent without manipulation. There is a tad amount of depth seen here and there. This is about the level I was anticipating.

















Audio :

The linear PCM Audio 2.0 channel at 1536 kbps seems modest but the film is not rife with aggressive action - it's more a mystery/thriller. Some depth but, obviously, no crisp rear channel separations. The Andrew Lloyd Webber (yes, that one) score is quite intense - standing out against some scenes. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No extras - not even a trailer.



Great film! Another Neame masterpiece - Voight is magnificent. The Blu-ray is highly recommended at this price (around $10). I enjoyed the 1080P presentation - I'd love to watch it all over again. This will make for a very entertaining Home Theater night! 

Gary Tooze

May 12th, 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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