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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Wild Geese [Blu-ray]


(Andrew V. McLaglen, 1978)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Richmond Film Productions

Video: Severin



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

Runtime: 2:14:44.159

Disc Size: 24,798,373,155 bytes

Feature Size: 18,748,422,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.25 Mbps

Chapters: 14

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 11th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-2 Video



Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio Corsican 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps






• Audio Commentary With Producer Euan Lloyd, Star Roger Moore, Second Unit Director John Glen, Moderated by Filmmaker Jonathan Sothcott

• The Wild Geese Director - Exclusive New Interview With Director Andrew V. McLaghlen (16 mins)
The Mercenary - Exclusive New Interview With Military Advisor Mike Hoare (10 mins)
The Last of the Gentleman Producers - Documentary on Producer Euan Lloyd Featuring Lloyd, Roger Moore, Joan Armatrading, Ingrid Pitt & more (33 mins)
The Flight Of The Wild Geese - Vintage Featurette
The Wild Geese Royal Charity Premiere Newsreel (7 mins)
Theatrical trailer





Description: Screen legends Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris star as a team of aging mercenaries hired by a wealthy industrialist for one final mission: Recruit and train a squad of desperate commandos, parachute into an unstable African nation, snatch its deposed President from a maximum security army prison, escape via the military-controlled airport, and massacre anyone who gets in their way. Getting to the target will be murder. But when the group is double-crossed, getting out alive may be impossible. Hardy Kruger (A BRIDGE TOO FAR), Frank Finlay (THE THREE MUSKETEERS), Barry Foster (FRENZY) and Stewart Granger (KING SOLOMON'S MINES) co-star in this blood & guts action classic, now packed with all-new Bonus Features and fully re-mastered in explosive HD for the first time ever in America!



The Film:

The plot concerns a band of seasoned mercenaries hired by a wealthy British industrialist (Stewart Granger) to execute a mission in Africa. This tiny army, recruited by Mr. Burton, Mr. Harris and Roger Moore, is being sent to kidnap an African leader (Winston Ntshona) who has long been held prisoner and is believed by his followers to be dead. At the time the story starts, it suits Mr. Granger and his copper-mining interests to restore this leader to the public eye.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

The plot of this of this adaptation of the Daniel Carney's novel, sprinkled throughout a series of extended Sam Peckinpah-inspired action sequences, deals with a collection of mercenary toughguys -- Colonel Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton), Lieutenant Shawn Fynn (Roger Moore), Rafer Janders (Richard Harris), Pieter Coetzee (Hardy Kruger) -- who are hired to parachute into the African bush country and abscond with deposed African president Julius Limbani (Winston Ntshona) and reinstall him as a reigning monarch of an African country, to satisfy British mercantile interests. The action sequences were successful enough to spawn a sequel -- appropriately titled Wild Geese II.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

The Wild Geese gets an MPEG-2 transfer on Blu-ray from Severin.  Despite that it doesn't look too bad - very bright and clean. It is 1080P and the image looks reasonably sharp with some scattered depth. Without using AVC or VC-1 the grain is not as dynamically supported. It is single-layered with a modest bitrate.  I suspect it is not far off the theatrical color scheme - it just loses some of the film-like qualities.  Contrast exhibits decent to strong levels. Daylight scenes are crisper. This Blu-ray gives a decent, if not stellar, presentation in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
















Audio :

Unfortunately the audio is an unremarkable Dolby Digital stereo track that lacks depth. The Roy Budd score supports the action but isn't rendered to export its best attributes. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Severin include an audio commentary moderated by filmmaker Jonathan Sothcott - it has producer Euan Lloyd, Roger Moore, and second unit director John Glen reminiscing about the production. There are also over an hour's worth of interviews (with Director Andrew V. McLaglen and Military Advisor Mike Hoare), a documentary on producer Euan Lloyd featuring Lloyd, Roger Moore, Joan Armatrading, Ingrid Pitt plus a vintage featurette and a Wild Geese Royal Charity premiere newsreel clip. There is also a trailer.



The Wild Geese has the star power - maybe a bit past their prime making it somewhat hollow but the camaraderie remains a benefit. If you are in the correct mood - it can be a worthwhile ride. The Blu-ray has solid extras but some, dismissive, transfer limitations (MPEG-2, no lossless audio). Arrow in the UK have also released it on Blu-ray HERE and I will assume it is a more robust rendering - perhaps we will compare one day.  

Gary Tooze

December 8th, 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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