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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Gold aka "Oro" [Blu-ray]

 

(Karl Hartl, 1934)

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universum Film (UFA)

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:57:28.333

Disc Size: 31,443,464,375 bytes

Feature Size: 31,147,407,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 14th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A rare science fiction film made in National Socialist Germany, Karl Hartl's GOLD is a high-tech thriller dramatizing the ongoing war between scientific progress and corporate greed (resurrecting some of the themes and spectacle of Fritz Lang's Metropolis). Hans Albers stars as Professor Holk, an idealistic scientist developing the process of atomic fracturing, constructing an enormous electrical device to transform common lead into gold. When the operation is sabotaged by corporate rivals, resulting in the death of Holk's mentor (Friedrich Kayssler), Holk must accept the backing of a ruthless English businessman, John Wills (Michael Bohnen), whose interest in atomic fracturing is purely economic. Though he makes a deal with the devil, in order to continue his research, Holk recognizes it as a golden opportunity not for a paycheck, but for payback and plots to destroy Wills's titanic gold-making machinery. While Holk enacts his revenge, he captures the interest of the millionaire's rebellious daughter (Brigitte Helm, Metropolis), who is enthralled by the scientist's vision and integrity. GOLD is not only a handsomely-produced drama of corporate espionage, it also reveals the ways in which English and American culture was subtly condemned in films made under the Third Reich.

 

 

The Film:

The German Gold predicts the postwar harnessing of atomic energy for the purposes of scientific progress (funny how the Germans couldn't put together a working A-bomb in World War II). Hans Albers plays the assistant of Friedrich Kayssler, a modern-day alchemist devoted to finding a method of changing lead into gold. Kayssler constructs a gigantic atomic reactor for that purpose, but when crass commercialism rears its ugly head, the two idealists destroy their invention. Gold was filmed simultaneously in a French-language version, with the two leads intact but with many of the supporting actors shifting their roles around. Generous portions of Gold stock footage were utilized in the 1953 American sci-fier The Magnetic Monster.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Renowned German physicist Achenbach (Friedrich Kayßler) has made a an atom-splitting machine that he is certain will be able to turn lead into gold. Wise to the implications of such a discovery, he keeps everything under lock and key, but on the eve of the definitive experiment a saboteur is able to sneak in to the lab. The saboteur replaces the lead with an explosive, which kills Achenbach (which is a name that is tremendously fun to say out loud) and one of his assistants. The press thinks it is merely an experiment gone horribly wrong, and ridicules Achenbach for his alchemist experiments, and blame him for having killed his assistant. This greatly saddens Achenbach’s closest colleague, Werner Holk (Hans Albers), since he knows that Achenbach was on the verge of a great discovery, and suspects foul play.

When two goons show up on Holk’s doorstep with a proposition from Scottish businessman and scientist John Wills (Michael Bohnen), who just happens to be working on the exact same experiment, Holk smells a rat, but decides to take up Wills on his offer, just to be able to clear Achenbach’s name. It involves continuing his work in an unnamed location, but for the benefit of Mr. Wills.

Excerpt from SciFist 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 Gold has, predictably, variable quality. There are speckles and a few frame-specific damage marks (see sample below). It has a very high bitrate but, generally, the image quality is totally at the mercy of the source and/or restoration. I noticed no noise - and a few scenes show depth and marginally layered contrast. This Blu-ray still gave me a very watchable, and pleasurable, viewing in regards to the inconsistent picture quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damage

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps in the original German language. It was an early talkie but there are some effects in the film - mostly laboratory-tube-electric-charge related stuff but inventive enough to be reused in a film 20 years later. The score is by Hans-Otto Borgmann and can actually sounds very penetrating via the lossless. The dialogue was sometimes harder to distinguish - which would probably on-par with the production. There are optional English subtitles available and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

None.

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Gold before. I enjoyed it along the lines of some of the earlier German expressionist films. It tackles the topic ambitiously and provides a decent science-related adventure. The bare-bones Kino Lorber
Blu-ray seems the only way to see this in 1080P - to date. A commentary would have been a sweet addition, though but I was entertained by the film, regardless. Recommended for purchase under $20.

Gary Tooze

March 1st, 2017

 

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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