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Five Graves to Cairo (1943)               A Foreign Affair (1948)
 

Both films in this Double Feature, "Five Graves to Cairo" (1943) and "A Foreign Affair" (1948) were directed by Billy Wilder. Wilder fled Nazi Germany in 1933 and had emerged by the 1940's as one of the most talented film writers/directors in America. In 1944 came "Double Indemnity", 1945 "Lost Weekend" and 1950 "Sunset Boulevard" among others made between 1939-1950. Presented here for the first time on DVD this Double Feature is reflective of Wilder's "astringent wit, piercing intelligence, and attraction to controversial subject matter". It is remarkable that it has taken this long for "Five Graves to Cairo" from 1943 (nominated for 3 academy awards) and "A Foreign Affair" from 1948 (nominated for 2 academy awards) until this year (2012) to be released on DVD. Mr. Wilder's career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. It is a serious treat to have yet two more of his films here made available for home theater.


(aka "5 Graves to Cairo" )

 

directed by Billy Wilder
USA 1943

 

Billy Wilder's Five Graves to Cairo is the third take on Lajos Biro's theatrical tale of romance and espionage, +Hotel Imperial. This time, the action is transplanted from World War I Galicia to World War II Egypt as Rommel's Afrika Corps viciously forces the British Army to retreat towards Cairo. Protagonist John J. Bramble (Franchot Tone) is stranded in the Sahara, the lone survivor of a British tank crew. In shock and suffering from sunstroke, Corporal Bramble deliriously staggers across the desert searching for the nearest outpost. What he finds is the Empress of Britain Hotel in the Libyan border town of Sidi Halfaya. The city has been deserted and destroyed; no one remains but the Inn's owner, Farid (Akim Tamiroff), and the French chambermaid, Mouche (Anne Baxter). To the woman's chagrin, Farid conceals the English soldier as the Germans commandeer his hotel for the lodging of General Rommel (Erich Von Stroheim). Mouche is unsympathetic toward the plight of any Englishman. She feels the British had abandoned the French Army at Dunkirk, where one of her brothers was killed and another was captured.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 4 May 1943 (USA)

Reviews                  More Reviews                DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal Studios / TCM (Directed by Billy Wilder) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Universal Studios / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:36:39
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Ben Mankiewicz Introduction (1:48)
• Galleries (Stills, Photos, Posters, Lobby Cards)
• TCMDb Article

DVD Release Date: October 15th, 2012
2 discs in a Keep case

Chapters 11

 

Comments

Two early Billy Wilder-directed films make their region 1 debut in this 2-disc package, available exclusively through TCM Shop and at the Movies Unlimited on-line store. Five Graves to Cairo has been released previously in France by Carlotta, in Germany by Universum and Australia by Madman Entertainment from their own Criterion-like "Directors Suite" lineup. Unfortunately, extra-wise those releases were light. Foreign Affair is available in many countries from Universal, either by itself or as part of Marlene Dietrich box sets. Both films utilize older transfers - no digital remastering for the minor Billy Wilder. Five Graves to Cairo looks slightly better of the two films in the collection. There are still some marks on the print, including cue marks and excessive grain is some scenes, but the contrast is very good. The mono 2.0 audio has no damage and good throughout.

Foreign Affair fares worse. We were able to compare three captures to the transfer from UK disc and the print damage in the third capture is consistent for both releases. There are a few scenes that have vertical lines running throughout. Unlike Foreign Affair UK disc, both discs in this collection are single-layered. There is a standard Ben Mankiewicz Introduction and number of galleries, but no trailer for Five Graves to Cairo is included - it can be found on an Australian disc. A fine region 1 release that could have been much better if the films were given new HD transfers, but we can still recommend this release to any Billy Wilder fan.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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  Cue Blip

 


 

 

directed by Billy Wilder
USA 1948

 

Writer/director Billy Wilder (in collaboration with producer/writer Charles Brackett) earned his first critical condemnation with A Foreign Affair. Reviewers accused Wilder (as they would so often in the future) of moral bankruptcy, challenging him to prove what could possibly be funny about the Nazi war guilt, the bombed-out city of Berlin, the postwar European black market or attempted suicide. All of these elements are in Foreign Affair, and all are very funny. John Lund is an American army captain carrying on a casual affair with Berlin songstress Marlene Dietrich, who accepts Lund's attentions so long as there are contraband cigarettes and nylons added to the bargain. Iowa congresswoman Jean Arthur is sent as part of an American fact-finding delegation to Berlin, and Lund is compelled to clean up his act--or at least pretend to. Despite her initial shock at the corruption all around her, straitlaced Arthur eventually falls for Lund, but Dietrich has been at this game a lot longer. For an interesting cinematic and sociological exercise, A Foreign Affair should be shown in tandem with Wilder's 1961 Cold War comedy One, Two, Three.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 30 June 1948 (New York City)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal Studios / TCM (Directed by Billy Wilder) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Universal Studios / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:51:24
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.17 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios / TCM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Galleries (Stills, Photos, Posters, Lobby Cards, Publicity Art, Pressbook)

DVD Release Date:
2 discs in a Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

The PAL DVD version of A Foreign Affair may be slightly sharper than it's TCM counterpart but it is the same source with the same damage marks.

 


Screen Captures

 

Marlene Dietrich (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP vs. TCM (Directed by Billy Wilder) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


 Marlene Dietrich (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP vs. TCM (Directed by Billy Wilder) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


 Marlene Dietrich (6-disc) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP vs. TCM (Directed by Billy Wilder) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Universal Studios / TCM

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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