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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Pride and the Passion [Blu-ray]

 

(Stanley Kramer, 1957)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Stanley Kramer Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:11:47.024 

Disc Size: 24,165,986,761 bytes

Feature Size: 24,041,256,960 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 16th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1989 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1989 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: "Cary Grant (North by Northwest), Frank Sinatra (From Here to Eternity) and Sophia Loren (Two Women) set the screen ablaze with a burning passion in director Stanley Kramer's (Judgment at Nuremberg) epic The Pride and the Passion.

Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Cary Grant stars as Captain Anthony Trumbell, a British soldier tasked with securing a large cannon abandoned by the Spanish army when Napoleon s troops marched through and conquered Spain. The cannon, believed to be the largest in the world, would help England in their fight against the French. With the aid of peasant rebels lead by Miguel (Frank Sinatra) and Juana (Sophia Loren), Trumbell must first agree to help them restore the gun to defeat the French on Spanish soil.

The Pride and the Passion is directed by nine-time Academy Award nominee Stanley Kramer from a screen story and screenplay written by Edna Anhalt and Edward Anhalt based on the C.S. Forester novel The Gun, photographed by five-time Academy Award nominee Franz Planer (Champion, Roman Holiday) and features supporting performances by Theodore Bikel (My Fair Lady), John Wengraf (
Judgment at Nuremberg) and Jay Novello (What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?)."

 

 

The Film:

As was his custom, producer/director Stanley Kramer made some iconoclastic casting decisions when mounting his $5 million production The Pride and the Passion. Adapted from The Gun, a novel by C. S. Forester, the film is set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars. Captain Anthony Trumbull (Cary Grant), a British military officer, is ordered to retrieve a large and unwieldly abandoned cannon, then transport the weapon to the British lines, where it will be used to attack the French garrison at Avila. Hotheaded guerilla leader Miguel (Frank Sinatra) agrees to help Trumball move the cannon over hill and dale, even though he hates the Englishman's guts. Tagging along on the arduous odysseys is Miguel's fiery mistress Juana (Sophia Loren), who develops a yearning for the stolid Trundall (then-lovers Loren and Grant would later be teamed in Houseboat). Pride and the Passion made a mint at the box-office for both Kramer and United Artists.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Based on The Gun, C.S. Forester's 1933 novel, The Pride and the Passion (1957) is a film epic of monumental proportions which is remembered by film historians and moviegoers for all the wrong reasons. Director/Producer Stanley Kramer has referred to it as his most difficult and disappointing experience and in his autobiography, A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Harcourt, Brace & Co.), he provides some fascinating details about the troubled production from the beginning.

To get permission to film in Spain, Kramer had to meet with the Spanish dictator, Franco, a former ally of Hitler and Mussolini, despite strong anti-fascist sentiment within the Hollywood community. The casting was more problematic. Kramer originally wanted Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, and Ava Gardner for the three key roles but after Brando rejected the script, Kramer offered the role to Frank Sinatra. Since Sinatra was estranged from his wife at the time, Ava Gardner, it was decided her role should go to Gina Lollobrigida but she was already committed to Trapeze (1956) with Burt Lancaster. Carlo Ponti then stepped in and convinced Kramer to cast his "discovery", Sophia Loren, as Juana, the paramour of guerrilla leader, Miguel (played by Sinatra). Grant immediately voiced his objections, saying to Kramer, "My God! You want me to play with this Sophia somebody, a cheesecake thing? Well, I can't and I won't." He had a point. It would be Loren's first film in English and she could hardly speak the language.

Once Grant met Loren, his opinion changed drastically and he soon found himself falling in love with her on the set, despite the fact that he was married to Betsy Drake or that Loren was romantically linked with Carlo Ponti. Frank Sinatra was initially interested in Loren himself but became antagonistic toward her when it became clear she favored Grant's company. He would taunt her with remarks like "You'll get yours, Sophia" to which she eventually responded, "But not from you, Spaghetti Head." Meanwhile, relations between the married screenwriting team of Edna and Edward Anhalt reached a breaking point and they refused to work together, forcing Kramer to act as intermediary.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

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

The Pride and the Passion comes to Olive Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with their uncharacteristic low bitrate. The visuals are reasonable but not overwhelming. The image is heavy and flat while colors carry a richness and depth. It looks consistent but unremarkable in-motion with no flagrant damage or speckles.  I see no evidence of manipulation or noise but it is in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray gives a reasonable presentation with it's major attribute over SD being how the colors are exported even though they can shift (fade and bleed) in a few spots.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1989 kbps (24-bit) sounds clean with a few richer moments in pushing the film's less frequent effects and depth. The score by George Antheil (In a Lonely Place, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), Sirocco (1951), House by the River (1950) Tokyo Joe (1949) and other Ray films, including, Knock on Any Door (1949) along with Rule, Britannia! which is a kind of theme music to the film. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No extras whatsoever. It's possible there isn't anyone saying anything remotely positive about the film to add as a supplement.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Pride and the Passion is one of the prime examples of how simply throwing a large budget, major talent, including the director, at a film project - can also produce a clunker although it initially did well at the box office based on Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and ol' blue eyes marquee. The Olive Blu-ray provides a modest but watchable presentation - but only fans of the stars should consider. In the unspoken battle of 'presence on screen' Sophia Loren won hands down. 

Gary Tooze

October 6th, 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
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
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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