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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Heaven Knows Mr. Allison [Blu-ray]

 

(John Huston, 1957)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player) Limited to 3,000 Copies!

Runtime: 1:46:09.905

Disc Size: 32,898,369,761 bytes

Feature Size: 31,911,665,664 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1059 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1059 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -3dB)
Isolated Score: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1815 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1815 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -3dB)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

MovieTone news (10:26)

Theatrical Trailer (3:14)

Isolated Score

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: With a clever script by director John Huston and screenwriting veteran John Lee Mahin, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) stars Roberts Mitchum as a no-nonsense Marine and Deborah Kerr as a dedicated nun: a decidedly odd couple stranded on a South Pacific island overrun by hostile Japanese forces during World War II. Their struggle to survive and their growing friendship are beautifully captured by the camera of superb cinematographer Oswald Morris, and given further support by composer Georges Auric’s lovely score (available on this Twilight Time release as an isolated track).

 

 

The Film:

A two-person character study directed by John Huston, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison stars Robert Mitchum as a World War II Marine sergeant and Deborah Kerr as a Roman Catholic nun. Both nun and sergeant are marooned on a South Pacific island, hemmed in by surrounding Japanese troops. Mitchum does his best to make the nun's ordeal less painful, but is torn by his growing love for her. Kerr is equally fond of Mitchum, but refuses to renounce her vows. Their unrealized ardor mellows into mutual respect as they struggle to survive before help arrives. Based on a novel by Charles K. Shaw, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison was coproduced by Eugene Frenke, who later filmed a low-budget variation on the story, The Nun and the Sergeant (62), which starred Frenke's wife Anna Sten.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

On the one hand, Huston's typically wry contribution to Hollywood's long-established, censor-baiting fascination with nuns. On the other, a quirky and superior reworking of his own The African Queen. Deborah Kerr, back in the habit ten years after Black Narcissus, is stranded on a Jap-held Pacific island with Marine corporal Mitchum, whose wonderfully low-key portrait of melting machismo is everything Bogart's respectably Oscar-chasing irascibility wasn't. The favourite film of its veteran screenwriter, John Lee Mahin.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

Firstly, this Twilight Time Blu-ray transfer of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is at their usual high standards - dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. But there are issues with the appearance. I can't say for sure - but would lean to their being registry issues. Colors and contrast waver and it also looks like it may require a thorough cleaning to boot. The first time you see Sister Angela (Kerr) her Nun's outfit is fluctuating with purple infestation. It doesn't look impressive but it appears to be source-related as opposed to a flaw with the transfer. The image is flat, lifeless and lacks strong definition. There is a touch of edge-enhancement (see subtitle sample capture) but I am less-concerned with that. These other issues come up less-frequently and some of the island scenery looks quite pleasing. I imagine a costly restoration would be required to eliminate the weaknesses.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Twilight Time use a DTS-HD Master mono transfer at 1059 kbps that sounds very consistent. Effects exist and seem authentically flat but carry some minor weight. Dialogue isn't crisp but is audible with a bit of a rough edge. The score is by Georges Auric (It Always Rains on Sunday, Dead of Night, The Innocents, Lola Montes, Rififi, Wages of Fear) - also offered as an isolated score and effects track - and the music has some presence - supporting the film pleasingly. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Not too much, no commentary - but a 10-minute 'MovieTone' newsreel, a theatrical trailer, the afore mentioned isolated score and the package has 8-pages of liner notes by Julie Kirgo.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is an excellent film - an unfortunately forgotten one. John Huston has been quoted as saying "Allison is seldom referred to. But I think it was one of the best things I ever made".  So a fabulous choice to bring to Blu-ray by Twilight Time. In spite of the source quality issues (hopefully a restoration will transpire one day) - this still provides a decent 1080P presentation of a great piece of cinema. Definitely a film I will revisit and cherish. If you have not seen this masterfully told story and entertaining film - you should indulge. Just beware that those with discerning systems - the video is imperfect. 

Gary Tooze

June 23rd, 2014


 

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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