A Bridge Too Far (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=110448&d=1210878756
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

71






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1977
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 176 Minutes
Genre: War Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-2
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Lossless, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean
Starring: Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Edward Fox, James Caan, Elliott Gould, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neil, Maximilan Schell, Liv Ullman
Directed by: Richard Attenborough
Music by: John Addison
Written by: William Goldman based upon the novel by Cornelius Ryan
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 3, 2008







"Operation Market Garden"



Film Synopsis:

A Bridge Too Far is an epic war picture that painstakingly recreates actual battlefield locations and boasting a remarkable cast that includes Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Sir Laurence Olivier and Robert Redford. accurately recaptures the monumental scope, excitement and danger behind one of the biggest military gambles in history. In September 1944, flush with success after the Normandy Invasion, the Allies confidently launched Operation Market Garden, a wild scheme intended to put an early end to the fighting by invading Germany and smashing the Reich's war plants. But a combination of battlefield politics, faulty intelligence, bad luck and even worse weather led to disaster beyond the Allies' darkest fears.



My Take:

A Bridge too far is certainly an epic style war film in every sense of the word. The huge ensemble cast, large sets, and big budget are all ingredients that go into such a big undertaking. For me it just didn’t have the cohesive feel and well paced story telling of several of the war epics that I have reviewed recently. I felt that the film was a bit too long and could have been scaled back by 30 minutes or so. I realize that there was a lot of material to cover but I felt that things were spread too thin. This made it hard to connect with all but a few of the characters. I really enjoyed the performances by Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Maxmilian Schell, and Hardy Kruger. A few that I could have lived without were Elliott Gould, Ryan O’Neil, and Gene Hackman’s Polish accent. There was a lot like about this film though. I liked how it depicted in detail the devastating effects that war can have when fought among people homes and towns. The sacrifices made by those (civilian/underground) that opted to support the Allied Troops and in some cases paid for it with their lives. I appreciated the attention to detail when simulating the paratroopers jumping from airplanes and the great camera work that was used to that end. This was a poignant film that told the story of a large Allied mission that failed during World War II. It is hard to imagine what those men must have gone through. The sacrifices that they and their families made were insurmountable. While this was not my favorite “classic” war film I believe that it has a position of significance among them.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for war violence and scenes of battle field death. I would not describe it as graphic in nature.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 72



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692



Video: 70


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

A bridge too far comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p MPEG-2 encoded video with an average bitrate of 23 mbps and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio Lossless sound with an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.

This video presentation did not compare favorably to the recent classic war films that I have reviewed from Fox on Blu-ray. I would describe the image quality as soft, and lacking the clarity, sharpness and depth associated with high definition video in general. There is some filtering that was applied (probably in post production) which gave the video a hazy cast that I found distracting. That coupled with the aforementioned softness had a definite impact on perceivable resolution. Colors were muted but rendered naturally with slightly warmer tonality. Fleshtones looked fine but lacked delineation among the varying cast members. Blacks were fairly deep without being crushed and visible detail in low light and shadowy backgrounds was very good. Video noise was clearly visible in the background during several scenes. At the end of the sequence when the last of the planes/gliders takes off from Holland the sky in the distance is crawling with noise. The same is true in Chapter 21 during the river crossing. The sky in the background is quite noisy. Grain is plainly visible in a few scenes but overall appeared to be well preserved.

The audio fared slightly better than the video but not by much. Dialogue was intelligible but anemic sounding during busy sequences. I was pleased with surround sound envelopment within the mix and thought that efforts made to blend the front and read soundstage was obvious. The problem is that blend was not always seamless led to fluctuations in the perception of volume during front to rear pans. The recording showed its age which I think manifested itself by intrinsically lower dynamic output. The various tank assaults, shelling and gunfire didn’t have the dynamic attack and feel that accompanies today’s digital soundtracks. I wasn’t disappointed with it and thought that for a 30 + year old film it sounded just fine. I would describe low frequency detail in the same way. Clarity and detail were above average but lacked fine articulation and subtle reproduction of sounds within the recording.



Bonus Features:



Fox has only included the Theatrical Trailer along with this Blu-ray release which fans will find disappointing.



  • Theatrical Trailer



Final Thoughts:



A bridge too far is considered by many to be a classic war film. Personally I didn’t see it in the same vein as some of the other war classics released on Blu-ray recently. I found the quality of the video on this catalog title to be underwhelming. That coupled along with its lack of bonus features doesn’t make this a very attractive upgrade for fans. I would recommend a rental prior to purchase.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 10:09 AM
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My general says there is no point in continuing this fighting. He is willing to accept your surrender.

We can't accept your surrender.

What?

We'd like to, but we haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner. Sorry.
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richter View Post

My general says there is no point in continuing this fighting. He is willing to accept your surrender.

We can't accept your surrender.

What?

We'd like to, but we haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner. Sorry.


Greetings,

Richter, GREAT line ! I though it interesting that he didn't choose to use the response given to him by Col. Frost (Anthony Hopkins)..

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post #4 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 11:37 AM
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Thanks Ralph,

Even with it's faults, and you summed them up well, this is one of my favorite WWII films. Hackman's accent was pretty bad!

So thanks for the rental advice. I probably would have just purchased it. In my Netflix queue.

Joe
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 12:11 PM
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Did this just get the same film score as "Meet the Spartans"?!?!?
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post #6 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Quote:
Did this just get the same film score as "Meet the Spartans"?!?!?


I rate films by genre. For me lumping all films into one rating category would not be appropriate or practical. The film you mention is in a different genre and would not be rated against this one.

Thanks very much for your input.

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post #7 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 12:52 PM
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Actually ABTF is one of the better war movies. The 'weak point' is that it more like a war documentry than a movie in the traditional sense. As such it is less 'entertaining' than D-Day was but more accurate in outlining the actual events.

PS there is a slight bias as I was fortunate to be able to visit the actual film set in deventer and witnessing the paradrop during the filming.
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Quote:
My general says there is no point in continuing this fighting. He is willing to accept your surrender.

We can't accept your surrender.

What?

We'd like to, but we haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner. Sorry.

Classic line, love it, the look on the germans soldiers face is priceless. I like this movie a lot too, but from the sounds of this review I will rent it and keep my DVD.
BTW, great reviews Ralph, thank you.
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post #9 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Derks View Post

Actually ABTF is one of the better war movies. The 'weak point' is that it more like a war documentry than a movie in the traditional sense. As such it is less 'entertaining' than D-Day was but more accurate in outlining the actual events.

PS there is a slight bias as I was fortunate to be able to visit the actual film set in deventer and witnessing the paradrop during the filming.

Greetings,

Great stuff Frank ! Thanks for your input..



Quote:
Classic line, love it, the look on the germans soldiers face is priceless. I like this movie a lot too, but from the sounds of this review I will rent it and keep my DVD.
BTW, great reviews Ralph, thank you.

Thanks and you are more than welcome.


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post #10 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 02:31 PM
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"There is some filtering that was applied (probably in post production) which gave the video a hazy cast that I found distracting. That coupled with the aforementioned softness had a definite impact on perceivable resolution. Colors were muted but rendered naturally with slightly warmer tonality"

The reason for the above described softness is due to the original photography.The D.O.P Geoffrey Unsworth liked to use Fog filters on the front of the camera.This filter will cause the image to look foggy,colour's to be muted,softens the image and causes halation with lights.It can also exaggerate grain.This look can also be found on some of his other work , such as 'Superman' and 'Cabaret'.
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-02-2008, 09:50 PM
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There is a scene in this film after the Brits have established a CP at the Arnhem bridge at night when the two, rather hapless, soldiers move up at night with a flame thrower to take out an OP. They wind up missing and setting off an ammo repository. Some of the dialog between the two is quite funny.

Point is in my last viewing probably about 2 years ago the blocking noise in the entire scene, but especially after the explosion on the DVD was horrible. The DVD pq was pretty poor throughout.

My hope with BD catalog releases is that they can approach the quality of good, not great mastered DVD's when upconverted and not still look like dreck.

A good example is imho the best basketball movie ever made "Hoosiers", also Gene H. without the accent. The original DVD did not look all that superior to VHS. The BD is such an improvement and I agree with it's placement in the tier 4 Copper category in the AVS thread.

Another great WWII movie that needs the BD treatment is Memphis Belle. The original film elements are probably easier to deal with with that title.

OK I'll stop,

Joe
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post #12 of 21 Old 06-03-2008, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide View Post

"There is some filtering that was applied (probably in post production) which gave the video a hazy cast that I found distracting. That coupled with the aforementioned softness had a definite impact on perceivable resolution. Colors were muted but rendered naturally with slightly warmer tonality"

The reason for the above described softness is due to the original photography.The D.O.P Geoffrey Unsworth liked to use Fog filters on the front of the camera.This filter will cause the image to look foggy,colour's to be muted,softens the image and causes halation with lights.It can also exaggerate grain.This look can also be found on some of his other work , such as 'Superman' and 'Cabaret'.

Greetings,

davide, great info ! Thanks for sharing...

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post #13 of 21 Old 06-03-2008, 04:24 PM
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While I m a huge fan of the film, your review is pretty accurate, just picked up this film today. I compared it to my '98 MGM dvd and it blows it away. Far sharper and cleaner than the dvd.
You mentioned the noise apparent in the scene where the planes leave for holland, do you think this is an encoding error or in the source and is due to the use of plates? Its also present in the dvd which is from a different master than the blu-ray.

And one last question, is your score judging reflective of the best in can look or how it compares to the best of the best? (The longest day is criminal in how good it looks)Thanks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdssrugby View Post

While I m a huge fan of the film, your review is pretty accurate, just picked up this film today. I compared it to my '98 MGM dvd and it blows it away. Far sharper and cleaner than the dvd.
You mentioned the noise apparent in the scene where the planes leave for holland, do you think this is an encoding error or in the source and is due to the use of plates? Its also present in the dvd which is from a different master than the blu-ray.

And one last question, is your score judging reflective of the best in can look or how it compares to the best of the best? (The longest day is criminal in how good it looks)Thanks

Greetings,

I had never seen the film prior to this review so I couldn't comment regarding the presence of the noise in the scene referenced on other video releases. Your right though that if it is present on the DVD then it may be inherent.

My ratings are based upon other high definition media that I have seen/reviewed so I would say that best of the best is how I would look at it.


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post #15 of 21 Old 06-03-2008, 05:40 PM
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Ok, thanks for the clarification Ralph. Are you going to do a Battle of Britain review soon?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdssrugby View Post

Ok, thanks for the clarification Ralph. Are you going to do a Battle of Britain review soon?

Greetings,

Yes.....


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post #17 of 21 Old 08-29-2010, 09:04 AM
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thanks, whenever a non-Military type reviews one of the greatest war movies of all time and sez give it a rent...

I PURCHASE it as fast as I can...

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post #18 of 21 Old 08-29-2010, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide View Post

"There is some filtering that was applied (probably in post production) which gave the video a hazy cast that I found distracting. That coupled with the aforementioned softness had a definite impact on perceivable resolution. Colors were muted but rendered naturally with slightly warmer tonality"

The reason for the above described softness is due to the original photography.The D.O.P Geoffrey Unsworth liked to use Fog filters on the front of the camera.This filter will cause the image to look foggy,colour's to be muted,softens the image and causes halation with lights.It can also exaggerate grain.This look can also be found on some of his other work , such as 'Superman' and 'Cabaret'.

Yes my thought is that the BD production people trying to produce what is a "top quality BD" would have had tough work to do. So they may have done some things that made some problems worse rather than better or maybe not.....nevertheless, I always liked the movie as a youngster!!!

nice small summary of his work....

http://www.filmreference.com/Writers...-Geoffrey.html

like it or not, much of the possible issues one might have with the film were probably the result of artistic intent.....I remember seeing the movie in the theater and thinking it had sort of an odd, older color film atmosphere of the early color films in the fifties, when they were first being put into production, and therefore, a cheap production with poor lighting, ---but I was young, and barely into college



As to Battle of Britian, I have the Blu ray that came out sometime back. Great movie, but it also has some similair issues that I suspect originate in the film. When I saw the movie in the theater, I was also disappointed in the picture quality, because with such great flying, why not a better quality film used???

At the time, I figured it might have had to do with the possible use of actual color photo footage from the war, so they tried to blend that war footage into the film by reducing the quality of the overall quality of the film to make it less noticeable. ....again I was young and barely into college, and obviously wrong about that as well, but I had reached the stage of serious still photograghy and was noticing such things about movies.

In any event, neither movie seems to me to have been as distastefully ruined by the techies as in such as Out of Africa, which in terms of photography and music, remains as one of my favorite combinations that i have seen in the theater and later ruined by the BD production.

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
TOO LATE; Out of Africa is out-the worst ever
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-27-2010, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

While this was not my favorite classic war film I believe that it has a position of significance among them.

I'm curious to know which are your favorite war films.

After reading many of your reviews, I realize we have very similar tastes. I really enjoy reading your excellent reviews...keep 'em coming!

-Shimon
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post #20 of 21 Old 11-07-2010, 08:10 AM
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I just finished this book...It's a long one. That said, any true fan of WWll should get this movie. Considering the complexities surrounding this operation the movie did a nice job. Great addition to a quality video war library.

Love for all things Hi-def...Losing count; 200 plus bluray, 500 plus dvd, 30 plus HDdvd and a rapidly growing 50 plus in the cloud.

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post #21 of 21 Old 11-07-2010, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shimonmor View Post

I'm curious to know which are your favorite war films.

Can I bite as well? Patton, The Longest Day, A Bridge To Far, Stalingrad, Saving Private Ryan, Midway, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Where Eagles Dare....Best series and best overall..."Band of Brother"...Best documentary..."Apocolypse, WWll" by Smithsonian

honorable mention: Bridge over the river Kwai, Kelly's Heroes, Tora Tora Tora, We were Heroes and Apocolypse Now....

Love for all things Hi-def...Losing count; 200 plus bluray, 500 plus dvd, 30 plus HDdvd and a rapidly growing 50 plus in the cloud.

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