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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Flat Top [Blu-ray]


(Lesley Selander, 1952)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Monogram Pictures

Video: Olive Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:55.049

Disc Size: 16,843,727,629 bytes

Feature Size: 16,722,511,872 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 27th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 933 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 933 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Sterling Hayden (Johnny Guitar) plays the steel-nerved Commander Dan Collier who trains Navy Carrier Pilots during the Second World War while battling the kind Lieutenant, Joe Rodgers (Richard Carlson, Retreat, Hell!), who is more concerned with being popular with his men than being their actual leader. In the tradition of Henry King's Twelve O'Clock High - Flat Top deals with various psychological and personal conflicts that pilots face as they move toward the thick of the battle. The film employed actual newsreel footage and the effective usage added realism to the picture. This action-packed WWII classic was directed by Lesley Selander (Fighter Attack) and features wonderful performances by William Phipps, John Bromfield, Keith Larson and William Schallert as the young pilots. Editor William Austin (Wichita) received an Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing..



The Film:

In an obvious attempt to recreate some of the power and impact of Henry King's Twelve O'Clock High, Lesley Selander's Flat Top tells its story in flashback as Dan Collier (Sterling Hayden), a senior officer, recalls from the bridge of the carrier Princeton during the Korean War, the first squadron he commanded on the ship during World War II. Arriving as green recruits, the men resent Collier's grounding the most dedicated man in the squadron (Keith Larsen) for ignoring a wave-off; even more so, they fail at first to understand his sometimes harsh efforts at preparing them for battle against the Japanese -- we also get to meet the various men of the squadron, who are mostly identified by what they did in civilian life -- William Schallert plays a poet-turned-pilot named "Longfellow"; John Bromfield plays an ex-football player nicknamed "Snakehips". Most of the conflict centers on Collier and his efforts to make a good executive officer out of Joe Rodgers (Richard Carlson), who was already in the navy when he transferred to aviation but is too concerned with being popular with the men to be a good commanding officer. Meanwhile, the pilots face various conflicts, psychological and personal, as they move toward the thick of battle.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The film begins away from the coast of Korea during the Korean War. Commander Collier (Hayden) is in charge of air operations on a carrier, or 'flat top'. When asked about how he first handled his job, he goes back to the time of World War II, where the film takes place. Told in flashback form, Collier recounts the war in the Pacific, working flight ops on the same carrier with a new second officer, Lt. (j.g.) Joe Rogers (Carlson), and getting a group of pilots ready for the tough fight to come against the Japanese.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

Flat Top has a color issue on Blu-ray from Olive Films. I found it most notable in the skin tones and tried to give a sample below. If you take the large version of the two images - that are only seconds apart in the film - the facial skin tones go from tan to unhealthy red. These fluctuations in temperature may be a registry issue but bottom line is that within the same scene the flesh tones can gravitate till some of the cast are looking like cooked lobsters. It doesn't look right and I found it distracting as I watched the film. The majority seems fine but there are definitely unnatural color swings here. There is still nice grain and decent detail. There is a lot of stock footage - naval and aircraft - and it was interesting when it was blended with the real feature although the disparity in quality is quite obvious.  I will try to investigate further about this Blu-ray and I suspect the source may be compromised.




Color anomalies (toggle between large versions)











Audio :

Audio is in the form of a DTS-HD Master mono track at 933 kbps. It sounds predictably flat but Marlin Skiles (Queen of Outer Space, My Gun is Quick, Dead Reckoning) score boosts many scenes with some notable depth. It seems a faithful transfer without flaws. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with almost all of their releases.



Personally, I wasn't that keen on Flat Top. Something about it seemed very artificial to me. I had no problem with the performances - although Hayden was his usual.  The Blu-ray image distracted me and I wasn't so taken with the film. To each his own. I'd say this is worth a pass. 

Gary Tooze

August 16th, 2013

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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze






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