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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 [Blu-ray]

 

(Adrian Wood, 1924-2017)

 

This is the 1st Blu-ray of Criterion's Thirty-Two Blu-ray Special Edition 100 Years of Olympic Films that contains 53 newly restored films from 41 editions of the Olympic Games, presented together for the first time. It boasts landmark 4K restorations of Olympia, Tokyo Olympiad, and Visions of Eight, among other titles with new scores for the silent films, composed by Maud Nelissen, Donald Sosin, and Frido ter Beek. It also contains a lavishly illustrated, 216-page hardcover book, featuring notes on the films by cinema historian Peter Cowie; a foreword by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; a short history of the restoration project by restoration producer Adrian Wood; and hundreds of photographs from a century of Olympic Games.  This package will be released on December 5th, 2017. We will review/compare each disc as we view them.

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: International Olympic Committee

Video: Criterion Collection (Part of Spine #900)

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:50:05.195 

Disc Size: 47,749,254,251 bytes

Feature Size: 47,566,718,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.30 Mbps

Chapters: 35

Case: Custom Blu-ray case (see below)

Release date: December 5th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Intertitles:

English

 

Extras:
The package contains a 216-page hardcover book, featuring notes on the films by cinema historian Peter Cowie; a foreword by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; a short history of the restoration project by restoration producer Adrian Wood; and hundreds of photographs from a century of Olympic Games.

 

Bitrate:

 

 

 

Description: Newly restored and assembled by the International Olympic Committee, The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 (Stockholm 1912) is the earliest comprehensive moving-image record of the modern Olympic Games that survives today.

 

 

The Film:

The 1912 Summer Olympics (Swedish: Olympiska sommarspelen 1912), officially known as the Games of the V Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Stockholm, Sweden, between 5 May and 22 July 1912. Twenty-eight nations and 2,408 competitors, including 48 women, competed in 102 events in 14 sports. With the exception of tennis (starting on 5 May) and football and shooting (both starting on 29 June), the games were held within a month with an official opening on 6 July. It was the last Olympics to issue solid gold medals and, with Japan's debut, the first time an Asian nation participated. Stockholm was the only bid for the games, and was selected in 1909.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

In May 1912, the exclusive rights to film the Stockholm Olympic Game were awarded by the Organising Committee to the Swedish joint venture Svensk-Amerikanska Film Kompaniet.

Under this agreement a series of short films were produced in relation to the Games and events surrounding them. These were submitted to the Swedish Film Censor for approval between July 17th and August 24th, 1912.

In 1915 the original elements were re-edited into a shortened version for a 3rd anniversary celebration of the Games in Sweden.

In the years following ownership of the original film material changed hands, further re-editing was carried out and loss through natural decomposition occurred.

Duplication in the 1960s has enabled the producers to understand what survived at that time.

The IOC has undertaken full photochemical and digital restoration of all surviving nitrate and unique acetate elements in their original form, including the recreation of the original title cards.

What follows is a chronological assembly of the events in Stockholm in 1912 from the inaugurations of the Olympic Stadium on June 1st to the closing events on July 22nd, arranged in four discrete chapters.

Preface to the Blu-ray presentation

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

The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 looks magnificent on Blu-ray from Criterion. The image is as fresh and clean as a well-maintained old photograph. Contrast and detail are at hallmark levels for Silent Era film. The events shown included Modern pentathlon (riding), Diving, Rowing, Swimming, Equestrian, Modern pentathlon (shooting), Cycling, Equestrian, Cycling, Sailing, Tennis, Football (soccer), Shooting, Athletics, Gymnastics, Modern pentathlon (running), Tug of war and Wrestling. The restoration is incredibly impressive reproducing an amazing 1080P presentation. I was blown away by the HD appearance. It can, predictably, be a bit jerky in-motion and contrast levels have minor flickering but the 100-year+ visuals are almost hard to believe with their high level of detail. Absolutely outstanding as the screen captures can attest.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Criterion use a linear PCM 2,0 channel track at 2304 (24-bit) - and the score presented here, was composed and recorded in 2017 by Donald Sosin. It includes many national songs and Swedish music of the period. The re-created intertitles are in English (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Criterion add no digital extras to this Blu-ray disc but the package has a lavishly illustrated, 216-page hardcover book, featuring notes on the films by cinema historian Peter Cowie, along with a letter from Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, a short history of the project by restoration producer Adrian Wood, and hundreds of photographs from a century of Olympic Games.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 is another fascinating piece of history and the restoration looks awe-inspiring in HD. The complete
Blu-ray package is overflowing with valuable, educational, inspiring, historically-relevant content and this first disc was like taking a time-machine back to the 1912 Olympic Games. My sons and I started watching and the time flew by. Silent Era fans should definitely indulge. This is brilliant. It's a magnificent part of Criterion's Thirty-Two Blu-ray Special Edition.

Gary Tooze

September 30th, 2017


 




 

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