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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Purple Plain [Blu-ray]


(Robert Parrish, 1954)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Two Cities Films

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:41:56.193

Disc Size: 24,103,387,861 bytes

Feature Size: 22,247,565,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 5th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, None



Trailers for On the Beach  (4:46), The Wonderful Country (2:57) and Billy Two Hats (3:59)





Description: The Blinding Sky... The Blazing Sands... The Merciless Jungles of Burma s Purple Hell ... Comes the Mightiest of all Adventures Between Heaven and Earth! Screen icon Gregory Peck (On the Beach, Moby Dick, Night People) gives a commanding and convincing performance in this exotic World War II drama. An engrossing and visually alluring film full of harrowing suspense, The Purple Plain is a classic war film everyone should see. After his wife is killed during the Blitz, Forrester (Peck) is bent on achieving one thing in the war: his death. But when his plane crash-lands in enemy territory, he realizes that he must save himself in order to guide his two injured companions to safety. As they cross the Burmese desert with no food and little water, Forrester's will to live grows stronger than ever! Stylishly directed by Robert Parrish (The Wonderful Country, The Destructors) and based on a novel by H.E. Bates (Summertime).



The Film:

An H.E. Bates novel was the source for this psychological wartime drama set in Burma. Canadian pilot Gregory Peck and two comrades-in-arms crash in the Burmese wilds. The three men are forced to hack and crawl their way to safety, surrounded on all sides by the Japanese. Peck's subordinates don't completely trust their leader, and not without reason: Peck's nerves have been at the breaking point for months, and this experience may send him around the bend. But the ordeal strengthens Peck's psyche. Despite its American star, director and distributor (United Artists), The Purple Plain is a British production; thanks to its top-drawer production values and evocative color photography by Geoffrey Unsworth, the film brought in customers on both sides of the big pond.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


Hollywood's love affair with international production proved a boon in 1954 when Gregory Peck starred in The Purple Plain, a thought-provoking World War II picture about a Canadian flyer trapped behind enemy lines in Burma. Although it ultimately underperformed at the box office, The Purple Plain has become one of Peck's most respected pictures while also serving as the highlight of director Robert Parrish's unjustly sporadic career.

In the '50s, new tax laws offered major tax breaks to U.S. citizens who worked outside the country for extended periods. As a result, several Hollywood stars based themselves overseas for a few years, with only brief return visits home as allowed by Internal Revenue. Peck signed a two-picture deal with British producer John Bryan to take advantage of the new laws. They had started their partnership with Man with a Million (1953), an adaptation of Mark Twain's story "The Million Pound Bank Note." Then Paramount's decision to shoot director William Wyler's Roman Holiday (1953) made it possible for Peck to continue working outside the country. During filming of that classic, Bryan approached Peck about starring in a 1947 novel by H.E. Bates, best known for such comic romances as Love for Lydia and The Darling Buds of May. Peck accepted the project on condition that it be filmed on location and that his character's Asian love interest be played by an Asian actress.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Purple Plain varies in quality in 1080P. The image shows inconsistencies not just the aircraft stock footage and but others sequences notable later in the film in the night scenes. The source has a few speckles and the stock footage is rife with vertical scratches. I think this may have been originally in 1.37:1 but this Blu-ray is 1.66:1 and for the most part has impressive detail in close-ups and looks quite pleasing in-motion. This Blu-ray is subject to the available source and I'm more keen to have seen it than complain about the image irregularities.


















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1559 kbps in the original English language. There are effects in the film - mostly the aircraft bombing scenes and the crash. They sound quite effective. John Veale's score is less committed but adds some flavor in the lossless. It sounds solid. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Only trailers for On the Beach, The Wonderful Country and Billy Two Hats.



I was very pleased to finally see The Purple Plain - this is an impressive film and a stellar performance by Peck. Like "Bridge on the River Kwai" it was shot in Ceylon. Written by Eric Ambler it is a deeply penetrating war-based story. I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing. The bare-bones Kino Lorber
Blu-ray is a fabulous way to see this in your home theater despite the video inconsistencies. A commentary or other extras would have been an appropriate addition - it's a good enough flic, but I was still interested in simply seeing the film. Certainly recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 42% OFF - pre-order - at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

March 14th, 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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