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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by David Lean
UK / USA 1957

 

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a towering triumph of a motion picture. It has the definite stamp of class about it and stands out as one of the greatest war pictures ever made. The first of David Lean's epics, it is primarily set in a Japanese World War II POW camp. It is at the same time a definitive character study of an obsessive British Army Officer and a savage indictment of the futility of war acutely symbolised by the fate of the eponymous bridge. Made in glorious Cinemascope the film looks really spectacular on the Big Screen, Jack Hildyard makes masterful use of his cameras.

From an acting point of view, Alec Guinness dominates this picture. He delivers a flawless performance as the by-the-book Colonel Nicolson, a man determined to teach the Japanese Camp Commandant (Sessue Hawakaya) some lessons. However, he is admirably supported by William Holden as the obligatory cynical American; Jack Hawkins as the British Officer out to blow up the Bridge; and the wonderful James Donald as the British doctor who sighs the memorable line "Madness! Madness!".

Excerpt from Edinburgh University Film Society located HERE

 

***

Spectacularly produced, and the winner of seven Academy Awards® (1957), including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Alec Guinness), THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI continues to be one of the most memorable cinematic experiences of all time. Experience director David Lean’s legendary classic like never before with this 60th anniversary edition.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 2nd, 1957

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Review: Sony - Region FREE - 4K UHD

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD
Runtime 2:41:28.678         
Video 2.55:1 2060P 4K Ultra HD
Disc Size: 94,228,673,043 bytes
Feature: 92,969,226,240 bytes
Video Bitrate: 55.811 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

Dolby TrueHD + Atmos English 5358 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 5358 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3693 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3693 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Czech 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Polish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Russian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

Subtitles English, English (SDH), Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Russian, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: S
ony

 

2.55:1 2060P 4K Ultra HD
Disc Size: 94,228,673,043 bytes
Feature: 92,969,226,240 bytes
Video Bitrate: 55.811 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

 

Edition Details:

On the Included Blu-ray (same as 2010 issue - same VoB-fiiles)

Crossing the Bridge (Pictures-in-Graphics Track )
Making of The Bridge on the River Kwai (53:03)
The Steve Allen Show with Holden and Guinness (6:30)
The Bridge on the River Kwai Premiere narrated by William Holden (1:50)
Rise and Fall of a Jungle Giant (6:13)
USC Short Film introduced by William Holden (15:52)
An Appreciation by John Milus (8:07)
Photo Gallery (7:31)


4K Ultra HD
Release Date:
October 3rd, 2017
Standard 4K Ultra HD Case inside cardboard sleeve

Chapters 16

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the discs.

ADDITION: Sony 4K UHD (April 2020): Sony transferred David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai to 4K UHD. There are differences from the included 2010 Blu-ray (which is actually the same as the compared 2010 Blu-ray HERE - see the VoB files date HERE). The new 4K UHD has HDR applied and the resulting image shows breathtaking contrast as compared to the 1080P. The 2.55:1 transfer, occasionally shows more information in the frame on the edges - but it is not substantial. The Bridge on the River Kwai 4K UHD can also look slightly horizontally compressed - just like the 2010 Blu-ray. In-motion neither of these are noticeable or impinging on the consistent presentations, imo. The contrast on the 4K UHD of The Bridge on the River Kwai is... stunning. Brighter daylight scenes and darker interiors. Skin tones improve and there is more depth. The grain is so rich and textured (see the 'flag' capture) and while detail remains modest - the overall look is a significant jump over BD. The 4K UHD has about 2.5 X the bitrate of the Blu-ray for this 2 3/4 hour masterpiece.

I was asked a question in Twitter over a year ago - about the best 4K UHD transfer I had seen. My response was that I was most impressed with... <drum roll>...  The Bridge on the River Kwai  - stating that I thought it was one of the biggest jumps over the previous digital editions. Unfortunately, our simulation captures don't do justice to this improved contrast. Trust me - it is fabulous - like watching the film for the first time.  

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 55 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures for Patrons are available HERE.

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

If you are fortunate enough to have a setup that allows for Dolby Atmos or Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Sony's 4K UHD track has select moments with much of the film having subtle, but noticeable, jungle sounds (birds, etc.) The robustness of the audio transfer can be intense with the effects (minimal guns, explosions, train etc.) and the impacting score by Malcolm Arnold (The Holly and the Ivy The Captain's Paradise, Tunes of Glory, No Highway in the Sky, Island in the Sun, Stolen Face, Hobson's Choice, Suddenly, Last Summer) plus the, always inspiring  'Colonel Bogey March'. There is a delicate balance with the audio, maintaining plenty of background separations. There are multiple optional foreign language DUBs and subtitle options including English and English (SDH) and as with all 4K UHD discs, this Sony package is Region 'Free' (Blu-ray too!) playable worldwide. 

NOTE: For Atmos many non-compliant systems will recognizes it as TrueHD 7.1, but from Wikipedia: "Because of limited bandwidth and lack of processing power, Atmos in home theaters is not a real-time mix rendered the same way as in cinemas. The substream is added to Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus. This substream only represents a losslessly encoded fully object-based mix. This substream does not include all 128 objects separated. This is not a matrix-encoded channel, but a spatially-encoded digital channel. Atmos in home theaters can support 24.1.10 channel, but it is not an object-based real-time rendering. Filmmakers need to remix and render the TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks with Dolby Media Producer."

Sony's 4K UHD disc is bare-bones (no extras) but the included Blu-ray still has no commentary and the supplements duplicate most of the video extras from the 2000 DVD including the 53-minute Making of The Bridge on the River Kwai, the John Milius appreciation, the USC short film introduced by William Holden and the 6-minute featurette The Rise and Fall of the Jungle Giant. What we do get that what new in 2010 is the Crossing the Bridge: Picture-in-Graphics track which, frankly, I didn't care for. What happens is the film appears in a smallish window surrounded by, essentially boring, factoids. No, I wasn't crazy about this feature. There is also 1-minute 50-seconds worth of discovered archival audio of William Holden narrating The Bridge on the River Kwai Premiere, and some posters in a photo gallery. So nothing new - in fact mostly repeated from the 20-year old DVD! Come on Sony!

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a classic that you can watch yearly for the rest of your life. My 4K UHD viewing (my third since I bought the package) continues to astound me. Easily the best home theater presentation of the film short of owning the 70mm film itself.  Our highest recommendation to those who have adopted this new format. This is an absolute keeper - an essential part of my digital library.

Gary Tooze

 


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1) Columbia / Tristar (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP
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1) Columbia / Tristar (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP
2) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia / Tristar (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2,4 - PAL - TOP
2) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) Sony (CE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Sony - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 

 


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Box Cover

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Distribution Sony - Region 'FREE - 4K Ultra HD


 


 

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