S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Lion of the Desert aka Omar Mukhtar [Blu-ray]
(Moustapha Akkad, 1981)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Falcon International Productions
Video: Anchor Bay
Disc Size: 46,368,191,671 bytes
Feature Size: 46,198,087,680 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 12th, 2013 / UK version came out July 2nd, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution:1080i / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1456 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1456 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Description: The year is 1929 and dictator Benito Mussolini is still faced with the 20-year long war waged by Bedouin patriots to combat Italian colonization and the establishment of the "Fourth Shore." Mussolini appoints General Rodolfo Graziani as his sixth Governor to Libya, confident that the eminently accredited soldier can crush the rebellion and restore the dissipated glories of Imperial Rome. Omar Mukhtar - a teacher by profession, guerilla by obligation, fights against his oppressors and commits himself to a war that cannot be won in his lifetime. With Omar Mukhtar as their inspirational leader, the Bedouin troops fight on horseback against the tanks and planes of the Italian Army. As the conflict between the two implacable enemies deepen, the Bedouin suffer crippling losses, but still they fight on.
The film, which has been well photographed by Jack Hildyard, is
virtually an unending series of big battle scenes. These are interrupted
from time to time by scenes set in Italian planning rooms or Bedouin
planning oases and by montages depicting the ferocious means by which
the invaders eventually subdued the Bedouins. These scenes are effective
in the way that all scenes showing oppressors and oppressed usually are.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Lion of the Desert (a pretty good film, although not at the level of The Message, IMO) came out on Blu-ray in the UK in July 2012 in a poor interlaced transfer from Anchor Bay. Unlike our review of The Message I have the US Blu-ray version of Lion of the Desert and can confirm, it indeed, is the same as its UK counterpart (also released by Anchor Bay). So, unfortunately, it suffers from the same deficiencies. Actually it seems even worse. We've included a panning shot (last capture) and the 1080i (interlaced) visuals are also waxy and soft. The aspect ratio has been rendered to 1.78:1 from the original 2.35:1. The cinematography is strong but the transfer doesn't take advantage and it could look significantly better, IMO.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is offered in two flavors - a linear PCM, original 2.0 channel, at 2304 kbps and a surround bump via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at, a meeker, 1456 kbps. There is some depth in the stereo and it sounds acceptable. I didn't watch with the surround. As with The Message, Maurice Jarre (The Tin Drum, The Man Who Would Be King, The Damned) via the lossless sounds quite crisp and 'epic'. There are no subtitles offered.My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No supplements, again, which is a shame as this is a film offers some things to talk about even if it is what has transpired politically in the past few years with Libya.
November 9th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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