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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Los desnudos y los muertos")

 

Directed by Raoul Walsh

USA 1958

 

Norman Mailer's classic comes to the big screen courtesy of director Raoul Walsh (Objective, Burma!; High Sierra) and an ensemble of seasoned actors and fresh-faced up-and-comers. Raymond Massey and Cliff Robertson play officers whose opposing views on military leadership are the two poles between which a platoon's fate is stretched during the war of the Pacific. Massey's Gen. Cummings advocates fear as the guide to goading men to face death, whereas Robertson's Lt. Hearn vehemently disagrees. Hearn is hard-pressed, however, to find the better nature within the sadistic Sgt. Croft (Aldo Ray), whose own wartime ethos seems to be pure hatred. Pounded inside this crucible are the men of the platoon: pals Roth (Joey Bishop) and Goldstein (Jerry Paris), scout Martinez (Henry Amargo), medic Rhidges (James Best), older vet Red (Robert Gist), Southerner Cpl. Wilson (L.Q. Jones), nerve-case Minetta (Greg Roman) and new father Gallagher (Richard Jaeckel).

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Despite an ad campaign wherein RKO Radio congratulated itself for its "guts," this long-delayed film version of Norman Mailer's bestselling WW2 novel The Naked and the Dead still had to pull most of its punches (especially when it came to four-letter words). Aldo Ray heads the cast as sadistic sergeant Croft, who'd as soon kill one of his own men as he would the Japanese. Sensitive, moralistic Lieutenant Hearn (Cliff Robertson) tries to put a leash on Croft, but he's ordered to keep out of the situation by psychotic General Cummings (Raymond Massey), who is convinced that soldiers will fight harder the more they hate their superiors. The film wavers uncomfortably between excessive violence and excessive moralizing, with time out for a few ill-conceived slapstick setpieces (including an outsized barroom brawl) and romantic interludes with such zaftig beauties as stripteaser Lili (Lili St. Cyr) and good-time girl Mildred (Barbara Nichols). In one of his first film appearances, comedian Joey Bishop plays Pvt. Roth, whose reaction to Sgt. Croft's relentless anti-semitism culminates in a spectacular death scene. Distribution of The Naked and the Dead was taken over from the failing RKO Radio operation by Warner Bros., who also changed the name of the film's widescreen process from SuperScope to WarnerScope.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Release: November August 6th, 1958

Reviews                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                    DVD Reviews

 

Review:

Warner Archive - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Distribution Warner Archive
Region
FREE Blu-ray
Runtime 2:10:56.974    
Video

Disc Size: 39,143,880,283 bytes

Feature Size: 38,156,795,904 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate  Blu-ray
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 1837 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1837 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Archive

 

Disc Size: 39,143,880,283 bytes

Feature Size: 38,156,795,904 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
 Trailer (2:34)

Blu-ray  Release Date: August 28th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

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

Firstly, we reviewed a very poor quality, non-anamorphic, DVD of The Naked and the Dead HERE.

Warner Archive's Region FREE Blu-ray transfer is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. The 1080P presentation is in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image can be inconsistent - looking soft at times but most close-ups look pleasing. There is some stock war footage that is also markedly inferior as you might expect. In-motion it looks okay with the better-lit, outdoor, scenes appearing superior. I wouldn't say it isn't a stellar example of the format but it does carry a film-like heaviness but the occasional disparity is noticeable.

 

Warner Archive use DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit). There are some war-related battle effects - gunfire, explosions etc. that come through flat but carrying depth in lossless. The score by the great Bernard Herrmann (Hangover Square, Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, Cape Fear, The Magnificent Ambersons, Taxi Driver, The Wrong Man, Dressed to Kill, etc. etc.) and some other music; Some Sunday Morning, Blues in the Night, South American Way (played during Lt. Hearn's dream sequence), Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart - represented very cleanly in lossless. Warner Archive add optional English subtitles - see sample below - on their Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras include a only a trailer. It would have been nice to hear a commentary.

The Naked and the Dead is a metaphoric war drama with some intense characterizations. Really an interesting exploration, brilliantly realized by Walsh.
 There is plenty of value in the film despite its, relative, bare-bones status. I'd encourage many to seek this out.    

Gary Tooze

 

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CLICK to order from:

    

Distribution Warner Archive
Region
FREE Blu-ray



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