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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Lord Jim [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Brooks, 1965)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia British Productions

Video: Wild Side Video

 

Disc:

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

Extended Runtime: 2:34:16.121

Theatrical Runtime: 2:22:01.471

Disc Size: 48,521,686,519 bytes

Extended Feature Size: 24,963,846,144 bytes

Theatrical Feature Size: 22,986,983,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.87 Mbps (both)

Chapters: 16 (both)

Package: (see below)

Release date: July 2nd, 2014

 

 

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.20:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio (both):

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1638 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1638 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1611 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1611 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

French, none

 

Extras:

Box-book containing:
Blu-ray version of the movie theaters (142 ') and a long version (154')
DVD of the film (137 '- VF 2.0mono DD / DD and DTS 2.0mono VOST)
-
The book "Lord Jim, Second Chance" by Patrick Brion, illustrated with photos and rare archival documents (204 pages in French)
Master restored HD
Trailer Original (3:07)

 

Bitrates:

1) Extended Version Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Theatrical version- Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Description: Richard Brooks, one of America’s most influential and successful directors, teamed with Peter O'Toole, James Mason and Jack Hawkins for this ambitious adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s high-seas adventure, LORD JIM. The story of an idealistic Merchant Marine officer who disgraces himself when he abandons his ship, Conrad’s classic tale of cowardice and redemption was a stark departure for Brooks. Better known for the contemporary realism of such seminal hits as Blackboard Jungle, Elmer Gantry and In Cold Blood, Brooks was eager to tackle LORD JIM's epic themes. The casting of Peter O'Toole, a top box-office star, paved the way for the high-budget production to begin. Aided by an outstanding supporting cast, which includes Curt Jurgens and Eli Wallach, Brooks and his stars faithfully captured all the action, drama and depth of Conrad’s unforgettable adventure.

 

 

The Film:

Joseph Conrad's cerebral, philosophical novel Lord Jim is streamlined and simplified by producer/director/writer Richard Brooks for the action-and-adventure crowd. Peter O'Toole plays the first officer of a tramp steamer, who, during a hurricane, cravenly abandons ship, leaving the passengers to drown. Disgraced, O'Toole seeks out ways to redeem himself--not only in the eyes of the British maritime commission, but in his own eyes. He signs on to deliver a shipment of dynamite to a tribe of natives somewhere in the uncharted Orient. He also joins the natives' fight against feudal warlord Eli Wallach, hoping perhaps to die in their service, thus purging himself from shame (and, in true Messianic fashion, becoming a martyr in the process). Despite the impressive star lineup of O'Toole, Wallach, Jack Hawkins, Curt Jurgens and Paul Lukas, most press coverage went to leggy leading lady Daliah Lavi--including the 1964 Saturday Evening Post article about the making of Lord Jim, written by Richard Brooks himself. Filmed in Cambodia and Hong Kong, Lord Jim isn't precisely the Conrad novel, but fans weaned on O'Toole's Lawrence of Arabia will be satisfied.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Brooks' adaptation of Conrad's novel is immeasurably better than its reputation, and a scene towards the end - on a raft in the middle of a fog-bound river as O'Toole's Jim and Mason's Gentleman Brown discuss the age of the world and the price of evil - is an extraordinary attempt to convey Conradian metaphysics. 'Attempt', because Brooks is not entirely successful, with a major structural flaw (as in the novel itself) when the story ends two-thirds of the way through and has to start up again. Nevertheless, the film's pleasures far outweigh its inadequacies: Freddie Young's photography does for the Asian jungles what he did for the desert in Lawrence of Arabia, and the same might be said in praise of O'Toole's all-aquiver, neurotic performance.

Excerpt from TimeOut  located HERE

 

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

Lord Jim appears fairly soft on Blu-ray from Wild Side in France. The reason, may be, is that they have loaded two lengthy versions of the film on the lone BD disc and the bitrate is extremely low. BTW, it is a duplicated, technical, transfer for both 'theatrical' and 'extended'.  There is some inconsistency with the visual quality varying throughout - it seems to improve after the first 20-minutes. It certainly looks like it may be over-digitized (where is the grain?) but on my 60" system - it actually looks superior to the static capture below. So, it is somewhat 'better' in-motion. Still, I think not dividing this onto 2 Blu-rays is a mistake. We are talking almost 5 hours of film - when the two versions are added together - housed on the dual-layered Blu-ray. Or how about seamless branching? The resulting image looks flat and lifeless - often faded, muddy and soft. Characters can look a bit waxy too. This Blu-ray has the film at 2.20:1 aspect ratio. I'd love to see it, and compare, with a significantly higher bitrate.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Wild Side offer the original English track in a DTS-HD Master stereo at 1611 kbps. There is also a similarly robust French DUB. Seafaring effects have some depth but the score by Bronislau Kaper (Them!, The Naked Spur, Welles' The Stranger) and to quote HERE; "powerful main theme and beautiful secondary melodies for Jim's spiritual journey and romance with a native girl (Daliah Lavi). The balance of Kaper's score features symphonic action music as well as authentic source cues for gamelans." It sounds quite epic and heavily orchestral in the first 1/3 of the film. The lossless shows itself with some penetrating depth and bass. There are optional (via the remote - not the menu) French subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray players worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

With the Blu-ray overloaded with the 2 versions (theatrical - 142 ' and extended - 154) There isn't much room for anything else - although a very poor quality trailer is housed on the BD disc. The package is notable for its size and including the book "Lord Jim, Second Chance" by Patrick Brion, illustrated with photos and rare archival documents (204 pages with French text.) There are 100's of beautiful photos. There is also a dual-layered, Region 2-locked, PAL DVD with a 137 ' version (4% PAL speedup?) - also with only a trailer as an extra.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Lord Jim is an excellent film - with so much going for it including a highly impressive score. I really enjoyed watching it. The Blu-ray has a notable weakness (discussed above). Fans of the film and those keen on the large, heavy, French-text, book included may wish to indulge but we can't give a full endorsement despite the many positives. I love seeing packages like this, Wild Side's Blu-ray sets of Gun Crazy. and Night of the Demon. Let's hope The Big Heat - released later this year 'avec livre' is of superior quality. As for Lord Jim - devout fans may, or may not, wish to purchase. 

Gary Tooze

July 17th, 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 3500 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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