|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Bridge aka "Die Brücke" [Blu-ray]
(Bernhard Wicki, 1959)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Fono Film
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #763
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 45,170,538,584 bytes
Feature Size: 30,272,335,872 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: June 23rd, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio German 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), none
• New interview with writer Gregor Dorfmeister, on whose
autobiographical novel the film is based (22:41)
Description: Bernhard Wicki’s astonishing The Bridge was the first major antiwar film to come out of Germany after World War II, as well as the nation’s first postwar film to be widely shown internationally, even securing an Oscar nomination. Set near the end of the conflict, it follows a group of teenage boys in a small town as they contend with everyday matters like school, girls, and parents, before enlisting as soldiers and being forced to defend their home turf in a confused, terrifying battle. This expressively shot, emotionally bruising drama dared to humanize young German soldiers at a historically tender moment, and proved influential for the coming generation of New German Cinema auteurs.
Bernhard Wicki's directorial debut, this is an excellent little film with little plot and no known names on the roster. In the final days of World War II, German teenagers join the Nazi army in a futile attempt to stop the enemy invasion. A sympathetic officer places the boys as guards of a seemingly unimportant bridge. The seven youths are thrown into battle when American tanks unexpectedly appear and try to cross the bridge. The film has a definite anti-war message.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Despairingly—almost masochistically, as if it were purposely designed to
reopen the healing wounds of the German people and make them suffer
again some of the final agony of World War II—it tells of the useless
courage and senseless deaths of seven teen-age German lads hastily
conscripted into the Nazi army and put to defend an old stone bridge in
the last few days of the war.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Bridge looks quite good on Blu-ray from Criterion. Their 2K restoration can look very impressive in the many close-ups seen later in the film. The image has some softness that seems consistent throughout and must surely be a function of the original source. There are two of three scenes with visible vertical scratches but they don't last long. This is dual-layered with a max'ed bitrate and the contrast is a highlight as well as some heaviness connoting a film-like presence. They are a few instances of depth. This Blu-ray provides a strong 1080P presentation - surely the best it ahs ever looked for home theater consumption.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Criterion remain authentic with the audio transferring via a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. The dialogue is flat but the aggressive effects do pack some punch - and there are quite a lot of them later in the film. The notable score with a lot of emotion is by Hans-Martin Majewski. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Criterion load up with some interesting extras. We get a new, 23-minute, interview with writer Gregor Dorfmeister, on whose autobiographical novel the film is based. Criterion visited Bavaria in March 2015, where Dorfmeister, 86-years of age, now lives. He describes how he remembers the key events. There is a 1/4 hour excerpt of an interview from 1989 with director Bernhard Wicki from the German television show Das Sonntagsgesprach (Sunday Talk) and he discusses making The Bridge. There is a new 10-minute interview with filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff about the film’s impact on German cinema and younger Germans and the affection his generation of filmmakers - collectively known as the New German Cinema - had for director Bernhard Wicki. There is a 9-minute excerpt from a 2007 documentary by Elisabeth Wicki-Endriss with Wicki’s widow, featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot. The package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty.
June 2nd, 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
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS