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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Henry V [Blu-ray]


(Kenneth Branagh, 1989)


Also available on Blu-ray in Germany:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Video: Shout! Factory



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:17:48.260 

Disc Size: 23,232,917,170 bytes

Feature Size: 22,962,094,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.22 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 27th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1677 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1677 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



• Trailer (4:3/480i - 2:10)





Description: Kenneth Branagh makes his feature-film directorial debut with this adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry V. After the Chorus Derek Jacobi introduces the play, young king of England Henry V Kenneth Branagh begins an angry dialogue with King Charles of France Paul Scofield. The king's son, Dauphin Michael Maloney, insults Henry and the argument escalates into war. In flashback, Henry is seen as a young man drinking in a tavern with Falstaff Robbie Coltrane, Bardolph Richard Briers, Nym Geoffrey Hutchings, Pistol Robert Stephens, and Mistress Quickly Judi Dench. Meanwhile, Henry and his captain, Fluellen Ian Holm, assemble an army and invade France. The French greatly outnumber the British troops, yet Henry leads them to victory in the Battle of Agincourt after delivering his famous St. Crispin's Day Speech. Throughout this struggle, Henry also courts Katherine Emma Thompson and eventually wins her over.



The Film:

Branagh adapted and directed this opus as well as starring, and he's found jobs for all his pals. Look, there's John Sessions mugging frantically at the back! Scurvy knave Bardolph is a be-latexed Briers; Mistress Quickly is a dusty Judi Dench; plus there's the grim spectacle of Emma Thompson bounding around in a red wig, gabbling Franglais. Coltrane is Falstaff: great idea, but as the fat man doesn't appear in the play, he's wedged in by way of fumbling flashbacks. Most of the scenes, including exteriors, could have been filmed on the stage of the National, and devices like Jacobi's Chorus, in anachronistic black greatcoat and woolly scarf, serve to accentuate the theatricality of the enterprise, as does the fact that Hal appears to be attacking France with 25 men. The fog of war is convincingly portrayed, though other scenes have an unmistakable whiff of the BBC production: the clip-clop-whinny sound effects, the sudden downpours, the swirling dry ice. Quibbles apart, Branagh succeeds in his blunt, robust portrayl of the Soldier-King, hauling the film along in the wake of his own gung-ho performance.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Kenneth Branagh has done it. Who is Kenneth Branagh? He's the young Belfast-born actor and director, best known here for his recent appearance in the ghastly ''Fortunes of War'' mini-series on television, who has transformed what initially seemed to be a lunatic dare into a genuine triumph. Mr. Branagh has made a fine, rousing new English film adaptation of Shakespeare's ''Henry V,'' a movie that need not apologize to Laurence Olivier's 1944 classic.

The Branagh version, opening today at the Paris Theater, is comparatively small. It's almost pocket-size, but it is big enough to encompass the emotional impact of the extraordinary text as acted by the mostly superlative actors.

In addition to Mr. Branagh, who plays the title role under his own direction, the cast includes Ian Holm as Fluellen, Brian Blessed as Exeter, Paul Scofield as the King of France, Judi Dench as Mistress Quickly, Derek Jacobi as the Chorus, Emma Thompson as Princess Katherine and Geraldine McEwan as her companion.

Excerpt from NY Times located HERE


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

Henry V looks solid on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory - it is filled with gritty texture and grain. The image quality supports the realistic style. It works well with the excellent art direction and is juxtaposed by the modern narration sequences.  This is single-layered with a smallish bitrate for the 2 1/4 hour film. Certain colors are bolder and detail rises above SD-capability. Contrast is adept but with the cinematography style used there is not an abundance of depth. There are no flaws - the video is clean and produces, what appears to be, an authentic visual presentation.

















Audio :

A DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1677 kbps gives the effects some depth and the score by Patrick Doyle (Nim's Island, Alfonso Cuarón's excellent Great Expectations, Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way, and the 2011 version of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, among his credits) sounds fabulous via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.


Extras :

Unfortunately, only a trailer - but a film that deserves much more. I wonder if a Branagh commentary was every discussed? It would seem appropriate.



I love this adaptation of Henry V. It combines the nobility of Shakespeare, and includes some realistic rough and violent edges, battle adventure, brilliant performances and so much more.  The Shout! Factory Blu-ray produces a fine presentation - and the film is a 'must-own', IMO. This reasonably-priced package is very strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 17th, 2015

Also available on Blu-ray in Germany:


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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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