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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

No Highway in the Sky aka "No Highway" [Blu-ray]

 

(Henry Koster, 1951)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century-Fox Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:38:02.877 

Disc Size: 21,078,263,597 bytes

Feature Size: 20,087,506,944 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 7th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit
(DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

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

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Jeremy Arnold
Trailers for No Highway in the Sky (2:09), Deadline - U.S.A. (2:45), Ten Seconds To Hell (2:14) and Witness for the Prosecution (3:08)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Screen legends James Stewart (Broken Arrow) and Marlene Dietrich (Witness for the Prosecution) go behind the scenes of commercial aviation in this gripping, suspense- filled classic about one man s fight to prevent disaster in the air. An eccentric scientist (Stewart) has no proof, but is convinced that England s new Reindeer planes will fall apart after 1,440 hours of flying time. When he finds himself on a Reindeer that is about to reach that stress point, his frantic warning rings true for a famous actress passenger (Dietrich) and a flight attendant (Glynis Johns, The Court Jester) who later supports his drastic action to permanently ground the aircraft. Henry Koster (Harvey) directed this suspenseful thriller based on a novel by Nevil Shute (On the Beach), with a screenplay by R.C. Sherriff (Odd Man Out), Oscar Millard (Angel Face) and Alec Coppel (Vertigo). The stellar cast includes Jack Hawkins (The Bridge on the River Kwai), Janette Scott (The Day of the Triffids), Elizabeth Allan (A Tale of Two Cities) and Kenneth More (A Night to Remember).

 

 

The Film:

Theodore Honey (James Stewart) is a mathematician charged with discovering what caused the crash of a "Reindeer" airliner. As he travels to investigate, he realizes en route that he's flying on the very same type of airplane. Convinced it will suffer a similar accident, he deliberately sabotages it once it lands, and soon finds himself defending his sanity in an English courtroom. Fortunately, a sympathetic actress (Marlene Dietrich) and a stewardess (Glynis Johns) come to his defense.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

Henry Koster directs the 1951 aviation drama No Highway in the Sky, based on the novel by Nevil Shute. James Stewart stars as Theodore Honey, a widower and single parent to 11-year-old Elspeth (Janette Scott). He's also an absent-minded engineer who has formed a scientific theory about metal fatigue in a specific model of aircraft. He tries to convince British Airways that their airplanes will come apart after a certain amount of miles, but no one believes him. Then administrator Dennis Scott (Jack Hawkins) sends him on a flying mission to investigate a crash site in Newfoundland. Along the way, he meets stewardess Marjorie Corder (Glynnis Johns) and movie star Monica Teasdale (Marlene Dietrich).

Excerpt from B+N 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 No Highway in the Sky looks decent and pleasing in 1080P. Contrast is quite strong with frequent depth but detail a little less consistent and probably a function of the production. The source is clean, and I noticed no noise and kinda clunky grain. Great shadow-filled cinematography by DoP Georges Périnal. I thought it looked above-average for films from the period on HD. This Blu-ray gave me a thoroughly enjoyable viewing.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film - mostly plane-engine-related. They sound reasonably deep and powerful at times. The score is composed by Malcolm Arnold (The Bridge On the River Kwai, Island in the Sun, Stolen Face, Hobson's Choice) and suits the film extremely well. The dialogue was sometimes less consistent but usually always audible. There are optional English subtitles, in a small font (see sample above) offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

There is an audio commentary by film historian Jeremy Arnold. His knowledge is extensive and he is interesting to listen to - Jeremy is also a contributing author of the 2003 edition of Jeanine Basinger’s book The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre. There are also trailers for No Highway in the Sky, Deadline - U.S.A., Ten Seconds To Hell and Witness for the Prosecution.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen the relatively obscure No Highway in the Sky but enjoyed it much more than I was anticipating. I thought it was a WW2 adventure-drama but, instead, it centers on investigating the metal fatigue, and possible crash-scenario, of a new commercial airliner by an eccentric professor (played wonderfully by Stewart) who finds that he is on the very, potentially failing, plane with it imminently exceeding its hours for durability of the part in question. He tries to convince the pilot, a famous passenger (Dietrich) and crew (kind flight attendant played by Glynnis Johns)...  Great storytelling by Koster. A film that is definitely ahead of its time. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray offers even further value, beyond the impressive film, with the commentary. Certainly Recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 37% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

February 4th, 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.

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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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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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