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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cease Fire (3D and 2D) [Blu-ray]

 

(Owen Crump, 1953)

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Wallis-Hazen

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Runtime: 1:18:03.387 

Disc Size: 26,447,322,546 bytes

Feature Size: 24,157,587,456 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.24 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 21st, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2135 kbps 3.0 / 48 kHz / 2135 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1841 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1841 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

• Burned-in English for brief Korean

 

Extras:

General Mark W. Clark introductions for premiere engagements (1:20)
Restored three-channel stereophonic sound
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:31)

• 'An In-Depth Look at CEASE FIRE' - Essay by Ted Okuda

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Newly Restored in HD and 3-D from 2K Scans! One of the most unusual 3-D movies ever made, Cease Fire! began as an idea by director Owen Crump, who in the 40s scripted military-themed short films for Warner Brothers and later on produced the documentary short One Who Came Back, about the air evacuation of wounded U.S. soldiers who fought in the Korean War. Crump approached producer Hal B. Wallis (Casablanca), an old friend from his Warner Brothers days with his concept for Cease Fire! Most 3-D movies of the era used the format to accentuate and exaggerate artifice. Cease Fire! is the rare production to employ the stereoscopic process to heighten reality, emphasizing the brutality of combat, the vastness of a cold, unfamiliar terrain and the isolation felt by a patrol of valiant fighting men. Part documentary, part drama and part cinéma vérité, Cease Fire! still remains a unique and remarkable achievement in filmmaking. Cease Fire! was restored by the 3-D Film Archive. 

 

 

The Film:

Documentary filmmaker Owen Crump went "on the line" with the American peace-keeping troops during the Korean Conflict of 1950-53. Without editorializing, Crump managed to convey the frustrations and futility of this notorious "peace action." To a man, those interviewed sound upbeat and optimistic, but they can't hide those haunted looks in their eyes. Much of the footage in Cease Fire has found its way into countless Korean War TV documentaries since 1953. Given the excellence and balance of the footage, it is a shame that Owen Crump's name is not more widely known.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

A robust, hair-raising realization of the ruggedness of the foot soldiers war in the ugly hills of Korea is provided in Owen Crump's "Cease Fire!" a shot-on-the-spot battle drama that opened last night at the Criterion. Filmed in the three-dimensional process, which is superfluous and annoying, in this case, it is an admirable job of screen reporting, a match in the fact-fiction field to the official combat documentary, "This Is Korea." released two years ago.

With a skeleton crew of technicians, Mr. Crump went to Korea last spring with the idea of doing a picture that would manifest the nature of war and the irony of the expression, "A quiet day on the front." The permission and cooperation of the Department of Defense was obtained and the area occupied by the Seventh Division was set as a locale. A cast of "actors" was assembled from actual Army combat personnel, and Mr. Crump began his brand of shooting, both on the front and in the immediate rear.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

 

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

Firstly, this Kino Lorber Blu-ray package offers both the 3D and 2D (Standard) versions of the film, Cease Fire. We will only review the 2D version here although I did briefly sample the 3D on a friend's system.

 

NOTE: The menu offers an option for both 3-D and 2-D playback, but when this disc is viewed on a regular 2-D monitor and 2-D Blu-ray player, the 3-D version is prohibited showing this screen:

 

 

The Blu-ray image is mostly reasonable with occasional inconsistencies - sometimes looking acceptably crisp and bright and others times archival footage is used that looks, predictably worn with speckles. Contrast is nicely layered in spots with deep black levels. There are some pleasing grain textures and it is in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The captures below should provide a good representation of the image quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino give the option of DTS-HD Master tracks at 2135 kbps for the 3.0 channel or a 2.0 channel mono - both 24-bit. There is some depth in the artillery fire, tanks, helicopter, and explosions and the restored three-channel stereophonic sound is more buoyant - and it's nice to have that, more robust, option. Dimitri Tiomkin (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) has his (We Are) Brothers in Arms utilized throughout, plus there is Battle Hymn of the Republic with new lyrics by Owen Crump, sung by soldiers during a march. The audio has some inconsistencies and may be post DUB'ed but dialogue is discernable. There are a few times when English subtitles are shown when the Korean-langiage is heard.

 

 

Extras :

We get an introduction by General Mark W. Clark shown in the premiere engagements, and optional in 3D - as are trailers and the package has an essay by Ted Okuda entitled 'An In-Depth Look at CEASE FIRE'.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Once again, I was able to sample the 3-D on a friend's system and I thought it had some effectiveness. It is an unusual effort in that it is stated "The players in this picture are soldiers—actual fighting men who were in combat in the last hours of bitter conflict. Some have now returned to their homes. Others are still in service. Some were wounded or killed in action. To these soldiers and the men of the United Nations Command, this picture is respectfully dedicated." so it has a strong documentary feel with the air of a training film - but it suffered by surfacing late in the 3D catalog when the public was losing interest with the process. The Kino Blu-ray is admirable in being able to bring, even lesser caliber, 3-D flics to 1080P. I had never seen Cease Fire before and was thankful to view it in widescreen, stereophonic sound and in 1080P. Those keen can read the 3-D Archive article HERE on Cease Fire. This atypical war film has a historical uniqueness that will appeal to some.

Gary Tooze

November 3rd, 2017




 

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