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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Holcroft Covenant [Blu-ray]


(John Frankenheimer, 1985)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:53:00.773 

Disc Size: 29,354,895,956 bytes

Feature Size: 27,553,701,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.84 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 19th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1685 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1685 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps)



None (burned-in English for German language)



• Audio Commentary by Director John Frankenheimer

• Trailers (The Holcroft Covenant - 2:49, The Destructors (2:51), Billion Dollar Brain (2:44), 52 Pick-up - 1:44, The Fourth War - 2:07)





Description: Newly Re-mastered in HD! Noel Holcroft (Michael Caine, The Destructors, Get Carter) is a New York architect who receives an unexpected inheritance from his ex-Nazi father: $40 billion in funds stolen from the Third Reich, now intended to aid Holocaust survivors. But as Holcroft delves into the treasure's mysterious history, he is thrust into a pulse pounding adventure in which he alone stands in the way of a plan that is moving inexorably toward its terrifying conclusion: the rise of an all powerful Fourth Reich! The great John Frankenheimer (Seconds, The Train) directed this top-notch espionage thriller based on a book by Robert Ludlum (The Bourne Identity) with a screenplay by George Axelrod (The Manchurian Candidate), Edward Anhalt (The Satan Bug) and John Hopkins (Thunderball, The Offence). The stellar cast includes Victoria Tennant (Flowers in the Attic), Lilli Palmer (Cloak and Dagger), Michael Lonsdale (OUT 1) and Anthony Andrews (Under the Volcano).



The Film:

Director John Frankenheimer and writers Edward Anhalt and George Axelrod try to inject some life into this adaptation of Robert Ludlum's best-selling espionage novel. Michael Caine stars as Noel Holcroft, who was adopted in Germany by an American family in the waning days of World War II. Now middle-aged, Noel learns that his biological father, who had been one of Hitler's key economic advisors, left him more than $4 billion at his death. Noel is supposed to dispense the money to specific individuals who had suffered under the oppression of Hitler. But Noel comes to realize the money is, in fact, being used by fascists starting a new Nazi regime. When the neo-Nazis find out Noel is wise to their plans, they chase him through Europe, trying to assassinate him and make way for a Fourth Reich.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE


From the blood soaked ashes that is Berlin 1945, rises a mighty plan hatched by the doomed ‹bermensch, involving some $4bn and a vault in Geneva. Caine, as the unwitting son of the ringleader, is elected to administer the fund; a job which entails spending most of the movie jetting to international tourist locations so that he can be filled in on the next plot twist by an obliging minor character. From the blood soaked ashes of a dog's dinner like this it is yet possible to glean moments of derisive pleasure.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The dual-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Frankenheimer's The Holcroft Covenant looks quite consistent in 1080P. The most notable attributes seem to be detail, in the film's many close-ups, and frequent depth. Contrast is a little wanting and there may be some very minor waxiness to the flesh - but I don't suspect any manipulation. Colors seem true without being overly exuberant. The source is clean, and I noticed no noise - not even in the opening 1.33:1 black-and-white sequences. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable, and surprisingly strong, viewing in regards to the picture quality.

















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1685 kbps in the original English language. It is mostly passive and dialogue-driven but there are effects in the film (explosions, car etc.) - and the lossless gives them some weight. Stanislas Syrewicz's score sounds supportive but not particularly remarkable. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras : Kino add, the older, audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer originally on the 1999 DVD (I think) but it is, still, excellent with extensive details on scenes and specifics on the production. There are also trailers for The Holcroft Covenant, The Destructors, Billion Dollar Brain, 52 Pick-up, The Fourth War.



I had seen The Holcroft Covenant many years ago but couldn't recall much of the plot or my initial reaction. It's not an easy film to embrace. Caine is his usual strong, intense character - Frankenheimer moves through the story well, although the pace seems less consistent than we have seen from him in the past. I appreciated it more by listening to the commentary and it made me want to give it another chance - which I will do, one day. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray
seems the best way to see the film in your home theater. Recommended at the current 47% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

March 11th, 2016


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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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