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Ten Seconds to Hell [Blu-ray]
(Robert Aldrich, 1959)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 19,555,849,666 bytes
Feature Size: 19,064,150,016 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.92 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 24th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1563 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1563 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Trailer (2:15)
Description: Newly Re-mastered in HD! In Ten Seconds Thousands Will Be Blown to Hell! From Robert Aldrich, the legendary director of The Dirty Dozen and Too Late the Hero, comes another WWII classic. Jeff Chandler (Merrill's Marauders) and Jack Palance (Attack) co-star as German demolition experts Karl Wirtz and Eric Koetner. Returning to bombed-out Berlin the two men accept the very dangerous, but high paying job of defusing unexploded Allied bombs scattered throughout the city. The two men and other members of the bomb squad soon agree to a macabre pact donating half their paychecks into a pool that in three months would be split evenly between the survivors... as Karl and Eric vie for the affections of Margot Hofer (Martine Carol, Lola Montès), adding to the growing tension between the two men. Aldrich pays meticulous attention to the details of bomb deactivation and Ernest Lazlo's (Stalag 17) crisp monochrome camerawork a dark and grim version of the German capital.
This film is a 1959 WWII drama that focuses on members of a German bomb squad. The fatalistic soldiers pool part of their paychecks into a fund that the last surviving member of the squad will get to keep. One by one, the men meet their deaths until only two remain: Karl Wirtz (Jeff Chandler) and Eric Koertner (Jack Palance). The two men vie for the affections of Margot Hofer (Martine Carol), which adds to the growing tension between them. In the film's climax, Wirtz and Koertner are summoned to dismantle a huge bomb, which adds tension to an already stressful situation between the two of them. Director Robert Aldrich pays meticulous attention to the details of bomb deactivation.
Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) was made at a low point in director Robert Aldrich's career. He was embroiled in a law suit against Columbia Pictures after being fired on the set of The Garment Jungle (1957) and this period of inactivity lasted more than eighteen months, causing him considerable anxiety about being able to continue working as a film director. His luck seemed to change when he received an offer to make a film in Germany to be co-produced by Hammer and Seven Arts and distributed by United Artists. The project, based on the novel The Phoenix by Lawrence Bachmann, would be filmed at Germany's UFA Studios and on location in Berlin and Aldrich agreed to co-write the screenplay with Teddi Sherman. He was also given some freedom in hiring the cast and key crew members he wanted which meant a reunion with such trusted former collaborators as cameraman Ernest Laszlo and actors such as Wesley Addy, Dave Willock, and Jack Palance, who had previously turned in such impressive performances in Aldrich's The Big Knife (1955) and Attack (1956).
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Robert Aldrich's Ten Seconds to Hell has made it to Blu-ray from Kino-Lorber and it looks very strong. Aside from the stock war footage (bombing raid) used in the title credits the image quality is very impressive with rich, deep, black levels and a smattering of grain. This is single-layered with a middling bitrate but I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. The contrast has some magnificent layering showcasing tight lines. The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 (UK US production filmed in Berlin). I saw little-to-no damage, speckles or scratches and no digital artifacts. This Blu-ray's 1080P video did a great job of presenting the film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1563 kbps in the original English. Effects are modest and the tension-filled score by Kenneth V. Jones (Tower of Evil, Tomb of Legeia, The Horse's Mouth) is supported well via the lossless. There is some minor depth via the uncompressed transfer. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Only a trailer where I think some discussion may be warranted. Its a darn good war-suspense film with solid characters. But, anyway, a bare-bones Blu-ray.
January 8th, 2015
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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