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The National Health [Blu-ray]
(Jack Gold, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 35,235,595,684 bytes
Feature Size: 28,846,089,792 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.01 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: August 28th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.75:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), none
• New audio commentary with star Jim Dale
Description:Jack Gold's film about life and death in a shabby London hospital interweaves the story of the real hospital with a fantasy one which exists in the soap-opera world of 'Nurse Norton's Affair', where everything is fully funded and patients are miraculously cured. A darkly funny satire on the state of the nation and also a deeply prescient comment on TV's ability to turn tragedy into entertainment, The National Health sits somewhere between the bawdy antics of the Carry On films and the angry satire of Lindsay Anderson’s Britannia Hospital, but emerges as a starkly prophetic film, more relevant now than ever.
In fact, the impact of seeing the same performers at one moment
pale, over-worked but concerned with their scruffy patients, and the next
involved in an absurd six-sided romance that culminates in an interracial kidney
transplant, is, if anything, intensified by the quick cuts possible only in
The British National Health System is skewered in this comedy set in a rundown London hospital. The hospital is filled with wacky staff members and patients, and the film strives to get all it can from their humorous escapades. The movie also includes a satire-within-a-satire, with "Nurse Norton's Affair" providing a send-up of TV hospital soap operas and giving some cast members the chance to play two roles. It tries for both comedy and social commentary but can't quite pull it off, although the competent cast does its best with the material.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The National Health arrives on, Region FREE, Blu-ray from Indicator out of the UK. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and exports flawless quality. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows pleasing grain, a dark, presumably authentic, image and realistic, if passive, colors. There is strong detail in the film's many close-ups. The 1.75:1 image is solid, clean and consistent. This Blu-ray offers a pleasing presentation in 1080P.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a use a linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track at 1152 kbps sounding authentic and flat. The dialogue is all clear and audible. The Carl Davis score has plenty of Tchaikovsky (Piano Concerto No.1, Serenade for Strings, Symphony No.4 in F Minor, Symphony No.6 in B Minor, None But the Lonely Heart, Fantasy Overture: Romeo and Juliet, Marche Slav etc.) and is often used in a melodramatic soapy way. It sounds authentically flat, but still faux-serious. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable world-wide.
Indicator add a new audio commentary with star Jim Dale (Dr. Neil Boyd) who actually started his career as a stand-up comic and was a regular member of the Carry On cast. He's still amusing and the light discussion adds value and appreciation to the viewing. There is also a new, 24-minute, interview with playwright and author Peter Nichols, also known for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. There is an original theatrical trailer, an image gallery of on-set and promotional photography and the package contains a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Laura Mayne, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film. Being dual format a DVD is included and this edition is limited to 3,000 copies.
August 25th, 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 3500 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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