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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Twilight's Last Gleaming [Blu-ray]

 

(Robert Aldrich, 1977)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:24:52.684

Disc Size: 41,526,735,675 bytes

Feature Size: 28,387,074,048 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 13th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 824 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 824 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core:
1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Aldrich Over Munich - Making of Twilight's Last Gleaming (1:09:41)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Legendary director Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen) delivers a nail-biting thriller starring screen legend Burt Lancaster (The Professionals) in an unforgettable performance as Lawrence Dell, a highly decorated US Air Force Colonel who escaped for a military prison and with the help of three other convicts (Paul Winfield, Burt Young, William Smith). The four men take over a nuclear base and hold America hostage. This fully restored director's cut was re-mastered by the Bavaria Film Studios. The stellar cast includes Richard Widmark, Joseph Cotten, Melvyn Douglas and Charles Durning as the American President.

 

 

The Film:

Nuclear missiles raise their warheads, but this time the paranoia is inward, and it's American vs American as Lancaster's renegade Air Force General captures a Montana missile base in order to 'blackmail' the President into revealing the shameful secrets of former administrations. The plea for 'open' government makes this in many ways the first film of the Carter administration. On reflection, the script is often contrived and the acting less than dynamic. But praise to Aldrich for his no-nonsense direction, which fashions the material into a fairly riveting computer hardware thriller. His handling of the countdown - 'It stopped at 8. Next time they go!' - is sufficiently convincing for one to think that the film and everything else might end prematurely. Aldrich turns in a neat, professional job, and even his use of split-screen is unusually uncluttered.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Soured on America by his experiences as a POW in Vietnam, General Lawrence Dell (Burt Lancaster) hopes that his government will someday tell the truth about the Southeast Asian debacle, thereby allowing his country to embark upon a healing process. Regarded as a dangerous embarrassment by the higher-ups, Dell is framed on a manslaughter charge and sent to prison. Escaping with three hardened convicts (Paul Winfield, Burt Young, and William Smith), Dell takes over an SAC base, threatening to launch nine Titan missiles if his demands that top-secret Vietnam files be made public are not met. Thus, the fate of the world rests in the hands of the mentally unbalanced Dell, his former superior General MacKenzie (Richard Widmark), and U.S. president David Stevens (Charles Durning). For this picture, Edward Huebach and Ronald M. Cohen adapted Walter Wager's novel Viper Three.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Twilight's Last Gleaming is given a decent Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. As it encompasses a feature-length documentary in HD as a supplements the disc is dual-layered and there is a supportive bitrate. As with all Olive transfers - this is mostly dependant on the source condition as they don't do any manipulation or 'restoration'. Detail is respectable and there is no damage nor speckles. Nothing is stellar but there is some minor depth is spots and no intrusive noise. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering - hopefully the screen captures will give you an idea of the quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost here - another DTS-HD Master mono audio transfer at a lowly 824 kbps but Jerry Goldsmith provides a great score that benefits from the lossless rendering. There are a few effects but dialogue is a big part of the film. Gunfire exists in certain scenes but the score builds the tension very well.  There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Included is one of the wonderful FICTION FACTORY documentaries from the Munich-based film production company. This is entitled ALDRICH OVER MUNICH: The Making of Twilight's Last Gleaming and runs about 1 hour 10-minutes in 1080P. It is accurately described as "Maverick director Aldrich shot the film in and around Munich, Germany, with the Oval Office and other interiors built by Rolf Zehetbauer on sound stages at the Bavaria studios and locations in rural Bavaria standing in for Montana. Featured in the documentary are Aldrich’s daughter Adell, assistant director Wolfgang Glattes, veteran actor Gerald S. O’Loughlin, camera operators Gerhard Fromm and Dieter Matzka, as well as Aldrich expert Alain Silver." It's a super addition to the Blu-ray that Aldrich fans will relish.

NOTE: A warning comes at the start of the documentary that there is some minor ghosting prevalent but I didn't notice anything detrimental.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This was fairly riveting. Twilight's Last Gleaming has a stellar cast and a nice edginess although segments are less-explored than, I presume, were fleshed-out in the book. The Blu-ray provided a decent presentation - nothing demo - but adept enough to appreciate the film. This is a suspenseful thriller with political overtones - and we can certainly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

November 11th, 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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