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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Lady Hamilton')

Directed by Alexander Korda
UK 1941

 

One of cinema’s most dashing duos, real-life spouses Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier live their greatest on-screen romance in this visually dazzling tragic love story from legendary producer-director Alexander Korda. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars of the late eighteenth century, That Hamilton Woman is a gripping account of the scandalous adulterous affair between the British Royal Navy officer Lord Horatio Nelson and the renowned beauty Emma, Lady Hamilton, the wife of a British ambassador. With its grandly designed sea battles and formidable star performances, That Hamilton Woman (Winston Churchill’s favorite movie, which he claimed to have seen over eighty times) brings history to vivid, glamorous life.

***

Being Churchill's favourite film may not be much of a recommendation, but it's easy to see why he welcomed this wartime offering from the English community in Hollywood. Olivier may be outrageously hammy, but his Lord Nelson is an icon of eccentric English heroism. Patriotism is only half the story, though. Olivier and the splendidly coquettish Leigh distil the essence of their stormy off-screen romance so effectively that the Americans insisted on a ridiculously prurient prologue showing its unfortunate consequences for the lady.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 3rd, 1941

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

   

   

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #487 - Region 1 - NTSC Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:05:24 

English Version: 2:04:54.375 

French Version: 1:59:06.208 

Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.80 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

English Version:

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,372,735,343 bytes

Feature: 21,412,915,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

French Version:

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 20,422,010,880 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Criterion:

Bitrate: English Version: Blu-ray

Bitrate: French Version:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 

English Version:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1573 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1573 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

French Version:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1583 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1583 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English, None French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary featuring noted film historian Ian Christie
• New video interview with author and editor Michael Korda, Alexander’s nephew, who discusses growing up in the Korda family and the making of That Hamilton Woman (34:46)
• Theatrical trailer
• Alexander Korda Presents, a 1941 promotional radio piece for the film (14:34)
• 18-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Molly Haskell

DVD Release Date: September 8th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Elephant Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

English Version:

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,372,735,343 bytes

Feature: 21,412,915,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

French Version:

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 20,422,010,880 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• None

Blu-ray Release Date: December 10th, 2012
Black
Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters:
12 + 12

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Elephant Films - Region 'B'  Blu-ray - September 2017: As we recall the Criterion was pictureboxed, limiting resolution. As presentation devices got larger the deficiencies (compression limitations) became more visible. Higher resolution provided a vastly superior image quality - visibly notable in many areas.

The Elephant Films Blu-ray has two, separate (not seamlessly-branched) versions on their dual-layered disc. Both the, 6-minute longer (prologue) English version and the French version both use the 'Lady Hamilton' title (see above). While they  are transferred equally (same bitrate) the image are different. The French DUB version is darker and shows a bit more damage. Both opening sequences have flickering contrast and there are many light scratches visible - often just under the surface. The benefits over the SD are the grain support, no artifacts, layered contrast and it looks smoother in-motion (after the flickering). It's actually a decent 1080P image if you are accepting of light damage.

Elephant Films use a DTS-HD Master mono track (16-bit) and it does export some bass in the ship's cannon-fire but also apparent in the iconic Miklós Rózsa score (Eye of the Needle, The Killers, The Lost Weekend, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity,) It's wonderful, highlighting drama. There are optional French subtitle (both versions) on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

No extras at all - making the Criterion, with the commentary, interview, radio piece and booklet - a keeper.

Vivien Leigh's innocence and facial expressions rule the film and it was a pleasure seeing it in HD. Hopefully Criterion will upgrade their SD... with the extras - one day.

***

NOTE: There is a bare-bones Region 4 (Australia) DVD of That Hamilton Woman already released but I don't have access to it for comparison purposes.

The 1.33, progressive, Criterion transfer is pictureboxed (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review). NOTE The Criterion captures below have been put in their own table to show the amount of pictureboxing (black bars circumventing the edge). Where this may benefit systems that produce overscan (ex. production cathode ray tubes) - the lesser resolution detracts from systems that do not requite it (ex. HTPC). There are plenty of vertical light scratches, that after the digital restoration, appear just beneath the surface of the image. It's not particularly detailed and doesn't export Criterion's usual level of contrast although the latter attribute is certainly acceptable. We can only suspect that any weaknesses are inherent in the source and as much was done as possible for SD. On the positive, the image is consistent and certainly watchable.

Audio is about as imperfect as the image quality with some consistent, but light, hiss. The mono track is only capable of doing so much with the wonderful Miklos Rozsa score. It's important to remember this film is 68-years old now - the track reinforces that realization. There are optional English subtitles.

Supplements are typically Criterion-strong. British film historian Ian Christie gives a great commentary - professional and loaded with information from bio minutia to intriguing production factoids. Alexander Korda Presents, contains a 15-minute group of 1941 promotional radio pieces for the film featuring excerpts from the film and commentary from the set. We get a 35-minute interview with author and editor Michael Korda, Alexander’s nephew, who discusses growing up in the Korda family and the making of That Hamilton Woman. There is a theatrical trailer and an 18-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Molly Haskell.

This is a wonderfully romantic period-piece - especially for those keen on older, historically-based, cinema but I find the Criterion price quite high for those who may only have a passing interest in vintage film. The commentary alone is worthy for fans of Olivier and Leigh. Especially the latter as a vehicle showcasing her star-quality which is strongly displayed by this Korda effort (although, some may say, wasn't everything). Those who do decide to indulge will, most likely, be vey satisfied at seeing the film and it's two stars in such strong roles. The bountiful supplements are very much worth accessing as well.  

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 

Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films (English) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Elephant Films (French) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Capture


 Box Covers

 

   

   

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #487 - Region 1 - NTSC Elephant Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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