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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Lion of the Desert aka Omar Mukhtar [Blu-ray]


(Moustapha Akkad, 1981)


Already Released, also by Anchor Bay, in the UK in July, 2012


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Falcon International Productions

Video: Anchor Bay



Runtime: 2:51:28:030

Disc Size: 46,368,191,671 bytes

Feature Size: 46,198,087,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 20

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)






• None





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:

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.

Mr. Quinn looks most lofty and wise as the troubled leader who hates war but fights it as his duty to God. It cannot be a coincidence that his carefully stressed beliefs in a fundamental kind of Islam evoke the image of Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, where most of the film was shot, nor that the Libyan leader sees himself as the leader of that part of the Moslem world that rejects the international policies of someone like President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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.




















Audio :

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.


Extras :

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.



Another missed opportunity by Anchor Bay - while I thought the film had something to offer, (however embellished on the bio front) we don't recommend this bare-bones Blu-ray in the hopes of a superior release one day in the future. The film deserves better.

Gary Tooze

November 9th, 2013

Already Released, also by Anchor Bay, in the UK in July, 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:

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Gary W. Tooze






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