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The McKenzie Break [Blu-ray]
(Lamont Johnson, 1970)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,334,771,672 bytes
Feature Size: 22,530,643,968 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.91 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 15th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1730 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1730 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:27)
Description: Brian Keith (Violent Road) leads an acclaimed international cast in this poignant and powerful WWII thriller fraught with action, suspense and the haunting reality of war. Keith stars as Captain Jack Connor, a fast-talking, hard-drinking, tough-as-nails Irishman assigned to investigate an impending escape by a group of German POWs led by the charismatic Kapitšn Schleutter (Helmut Griem, The Damned). The camp commander (Ian Hendry, Get Carter) has been unable to contain the prisoners, but Connor's brash and unusual approach solves the problem...for a while. In a race against time and with growing animosity from the commander - Connor surpasses even his own previous unorthodox methods when he devises a scheme so daring that it will either make him a hero... or prove to be the most fatal mistake of his career. Stylishly directed by Lamont Johnson (Kona Coast) with a beautifully written screenplay by William W. Norton (White Lightning, Gator) based on a book by Sir Sidney Shelley.
Rare reversal of the PoW camp formula, with Germans the potential escapees from a Scottish internment. Keith and Hendry do ideological battle with fanatical Nazi Griem, who is willing to sacrifice half his less politicised men to cover his planned breakout. Elaborated with unusual care for authenticity, it's tautly handled by Johnson (better known for abrasive telemovies), and adapted from Sidney Shelley's novel by William Norton (father of Convoy adaptor and More American Graffiti director BWL Norton).
The McKenzie Break is an unusual POW escape drama in that the would-be escapees are German prisoners, held in a Scottish camp. When a Luftwaffe pilot is murdered in the compound, British major Ian Hendrey investigates. He suspects that the killing is tied in with a complex escape plan, engineered by German commander Helmut Griem. Before the inevitable break, the prisoners form into the sort of separate factions and pressure groups that fomented the Nazi upheaval in Germany in the first place. Based on a novel by Sidney Shelley, The McKenzie Break was actually filmed in Ireland rather than Scotland.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
A, kind of, lesser-seen war gem, The McKenzie Break, has made it to Blu-ray via Kino Lorber. The image favors grittiness over crispness with some thick textures consistent throughout the presentation. The transfer is single-layered with a decent bitrate and I suspect the appearance is more a function of the film's original production than the 1080P rendering. Close-ups can show some HD detail but generally the film is fairly flat with only a few instances of depth. The thickness is film-like and only a few times do colors show some richness. It is transferred in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with letterboxing for the opening credits. This Blu-ray video is not exceptional in any way, but provided me an acceptable, fairly clean (very minor speckles) way to enjoy this war thriller.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
White optional subtitles for English dialogue
Non-removable yellow subtitles for German dialogue
The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1730 kbps handles the war effects - plane and truck engines etc., - and various instances of depth and aggression. The score by Riz Ortolani (Day of Anger, Il Sorpasso, Woman Times Seven, Cannibal Holocaust, The Voyeur, Mondo Cane) with metronomic bass plus a smattering of Beethoven - sounds excellent without flaws of any kind. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Only a beat-up trailer. I think the film has enough value to have warranted some discussion or even a commentary - but it is, essentially, bare-bones.
April 15th, 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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