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Krakatoa East of Java [Blu-ray]
(Bernard L. Kowalski, 1968)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Cinerama Productions Corp.
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,763,690,783 bytes
Feature Size: 22,625,765,376 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.50 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 12th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1698 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1698 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Five trailers of other films
Description:The Epic Adventure that Shook the Earth to its Core! In Singapore harbor, 1883, Captain Chris Hanson (Maximilian Schell, Judgment at Nuremberg) of the Batavia Queen embarks on a perilous search for sunken treasure off the island of Krakatoa. To find a fortune in rare pearls, he must brave a boiling sea, douse an uprising by a horde of convicts, and outwit a greedy crew desperate for more than their fair share... only to confront the most devastating and catastrophic volcanic explosion the modern world has ever felt creating giant tidal waves that engulf the island and endanger all aboard the Batavia Queen. TV veteran Bernard L. Kowalski (Stiletto) directed this widescreen spectacle that featured a splendid cast that included Diane Baker (Marnie), Brian Keith (The McKenzie Break), Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause), Rossano Brazzi (South Pacific), John Leyton (The Great Escape), J.D. Cannon (Cotton Comes to Harlem) and Marc Lawrence (Custer of the West) with a rousing score by Frank De Vol (The Dirty Dozen).
Smartly scripted, well paced and, for the most part,
solidly acted, this is a much better film than its
latter-day Sunday afternoon TV slots might suggest. What
really lifts it is its cinematography. Clever use of
filters, lighting and smoke create a shifting landscape
that becomes truly alien and a mood far more effective
than anything that could be conjured up with the
standard flashes and bangs. The weirdness of it is
genuinely disturbing, building a sense of fear and
impending danger in the latter third, when the crew's
aged boat may prove the only hope of safety for
endangered islanders. A couple of twee subplots at this
stage may distract somewhat from the overall tension,
but rarely has the horror of mass destruction been
conveyed so effectively with so little.
A guilty pleasure, Krakatoa, East Of Java's principal claim to fame is its title, which erroneously places its subject on the wrong side of the island. Directed by Bernard Kowalski, whose rare non-TV credits include Attack Of The Giant Leeches (1959), and SSsssnake (1973), the film is probably his best, aided immensely as it is by some excellent widescreen cinematography emphasised with some convincing location shooting - facts rarely allowed for in the usual criticisms of a film which in addition was cut by almost 30 minutes for an American re-release. Allowing for the passage of years, the special effects, largely achieved through miniatures and blue screen work, range from passable to excellent. Even now, in this era of eye watering CGI, there's still a fascination is seeing how well such a catastrophe was portrayed. Doing justice to the original events, however - one of the greatest eruptions ever known, leading to perhaps the single loudest noise ever heard on the face of the Earth from the main paroxysm, and a resulting 120 foot high tsunami killing over 30,000 - inevitably was going to be near impossible.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Krakatoa: East of Java looks exceptional. This was one of the epics shot in the Cinerama process. It was in Super Panavision 70 and this 1080P image looks stunning. This Blu-ray image is very tight, super-clean, crisp and shows impressive colors and detail. There is plenty of depth and the 2.35:1 widescreen presentation is impressive. What a marvelous video image - kudos to the cinematography, as well.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Where the 70 mm theatrical had a 6-Track (Westrex Recording System), Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1698 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are plenty of effects in the film - massive explosions, fire, sea-faring vehicles etc. They sound quite deep and ominous at times.Frank De Vol's (The Flight of the Phoenix, The Dirty Dozen, Kiss Me Deadly, The Big Knife (1955), What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, McLintock) score is suitable in supporting the film's adventure and advance it's epic qualities. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Only five trailers of other films.
September 8th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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