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post #1 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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The Thin Red Line - Criterion Collection


Overview:

After directing two of the most extraordinary movies of the 1970s, Badlands and Days of Heaven, American artist Terrence Malick disappeared from the film world for twenty years, only to resurface in 1998 with this visionary adaptation of James Jones's 1962 novel about the World War II battle for Guadalcanal. A big-budget, spectacularly mounted epic, The Thin Red Line is also one of the most deeply philosophical films ever released by a major Hollywood studio, a thought-provoking meditation on man, nature, and violence. Featuring a cast of contemporary cinema's finest actorsSean Penn, Jim Caviezel, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, and Woody Harrelson among themThe Thin Red Line is a kaleidoscopic evocation of the experience of combat that ranks as one of the greatest war films ever produced.




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Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

My Thoughts:

This is my first experience with The Thin Red Line and I must to admit to being completely blown away by it. Far from what would typify a traditional war film it exposes about the conventional and unconventional as it takes viewers on a compelling journey as seen through the eyes of a group of soldiers in C-Company during World War II's battle of the Guadalcanal. Based on the novel by James Jones and adapted by writer/director Terrence Malick the narrative's focus is purposefully blurred and presented in a sort of metaphysical derivative based on the war and more specifically on the American soldiers tasked with taking a fortified Japanese position. We see these men not only as vehicles of war but as fallible individuals, some at their best, some at their worst and some a little bit of both but all undeniably human. We get to see them from a perspective that examines their humanity as they struggle not only for survival but for their souls in the face of unimaginable circumstances. The thin red line came out the same year as Saving Private Ryan. That may be the reason I never got around to seeing it although I had heard positive things about it. A very different film, this is a mind numbing depiction of war that features a superlative cast of talent that includes; Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Adrian Brody, Elias Koteas, Ben Chaplin, Nick Nolte, John Savage, Woody Harrelson, Jared Leto, John C. Reilly, John Cusak, and Larry Romano. The Thin Red Line runs the gamut from battle eclipsed momentum to slowly churned drama which serves to tangibly depict the plight of these men and the visually glaring contrast of the calmly provocative setting in which it takes place. In the hands of writer/director Terrence Malik and cinematographer John Toll this filmmaking of the highest order that simply isn't to be missed.




Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

100


Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 this high definition transfer was supervised by Terrence Malik and John Toll. The result is a reference quality high definition video presentation that features resplendent colors and deep, image penetrating resolution. Images boast transparent imagery, with defining sharpness that highlights fine object detail. The sweeping pans and vista views of the tropical landscapes offer three dimensional depth, lucid visual acuity and an almost tangible reach out and touch perspective. Contrast is spot on and blacks appear deep without compromise to fidelity which provides dark scenes with excellent depth of field and noticeable gradational highlights. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep, beautifully rendered primaries that stand out but appear natural and tonally delineated. The video has a filmic and light veneer of grain that perfectly suits the source material.

The surround soundtrack was re-mastered at 24 bit from the original 6-track magnetic audio source. The DTS-HD multi-channel surround mix is superb. The soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue and soft music to thunderous, dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialogue rendering is sublime. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics are demonstrative as the aggressive nature and strength of the sounds of war resonate with superior authority and enriching bass response. Hans Zimmer's lavish music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and is wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving. From the gentle effects of falling rain or blowing wind to the familiar snarl of WWII airplanes swirling overhead, sounds are seamlessly blended and create a stable and detail rich sound field. Terrence Malik recommends that this audio presentation be played back loudly and I couldn't agree more. This is among the best audio/video presentations I have the pleasure of experiencing in my theater room.





Bonus Features:


New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick and cinematographer John Toll (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
New audio commentary by Toll, production designer Jack Fisk, and producer Grant Hill
Interviews with several of the film's actors, including Kirk Acevedo, Jim Caviezel, Thomas Jane, Elias Koteas, Dash Mihok, and Sean Penn; composer Hans Zimmer; editors Billy Weber, Leslie Jones, and Saar Klein; and writer James Jones's daughter Kaylie Jones
New interview with casting director Dianne Crittenden, featuring archival audition footage
Fourteen minutes of outtakes from the film
World War II newsreels from Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands
Melanesian chants
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Sterritt and a 1963 reprint by James Jones

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post #2 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 12:33 PM
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Ralph,

Interesting that this just came out. A friend and mine, who often goes to action movies with me, reminded me of our viewing of this during its original release as we were driving home from Battle: LA. I agree with your review, but would add that it has some extremely violent and disturbing scenes that, perhaps, those who purchase and view this film should be aware of prior to viewing. Both my friend and I still remember our numbness as we left the theater to drive home. I'm a fan of war movies in general, but this film is not for the faint of heart or casual viewer in my opinion. For that reason alone, I'll have to think twice about purchasing for viewing in my home theater.
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post #3 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 01:48 PM
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Ralph,

Thanks for the review.

I teach a high school film class and we just finished a war films unit. The Thin Red Line is one of the movies I showed in class. I got a great response from my students. Most of the students are seniors, but we had to get a few permission slips from students who are juniors.

Awesome, awesome movie.
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post #4 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 02:06 PM
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Good review, and thanks for drawing my attention to a film I wasn't really aware of.

I noticed that the detailed specifications were missing from the review. Since my wife and my in-laws are from Brazil, I always like to see what languages a title offers for it's soundtrack and subtitles. And since the AVS reviews always list this information, it makes it easy for me to search the reviews for all the movies that offer Portuguese. So I hope the omission in this case was just an oversight.

Thanks again for all the great reviews! AVS is my primary source for movie reviews.

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post #5 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgar_in_Indy View Post

Good review, and thanks for drawing my attention to a film I wasn't really aware of.

I noticed that the detailed specifications were missing from the review. Since my wife and my in-laws are from Brazil, I always like to see what languages a title offers for it's soundtrack and subtitles. And since the AVS reviews always list this information, it makes it easy for me to search the reviews for all the movies that offer Portuguese. So I hope the omission in this case was just an oversight.

Thanks again for all the great reviews! AVS is my primary source for movie reviews.

Greetings,

Edgar, this is a Spotlight Review which is meant to highlight a title that we didn't receive for full review coverage or perhaps want to cover briefly as a standout recommendation. In this case both apply...

In this case there are only English and Spanish subtitles to go along with the English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack.

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post #6 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 04:35 PM
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I was surprised that the film wasn't more widely accepted at the time of release than it was. If the viewer took the time to really take it all in, it's a disturbing film that does much more than portray war in a true to life fashion, but also deeply examines the human condition to it's core where the character differences in men are more clearly drawn than in any other film i've ever watched. And for those that don't get it, the cinematography should be enough for any HT enthusiast in itself.
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post #7 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 04:58 PM
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Best looking live-action blu-ray on the market, IMO.


And a hell of a film.
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post #8 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 06:39 PM
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Saw this about a month ago and I'm surprised more critics aren't writing about the reference quality of this disc audio and video wise. Absolutely stunning. Glad to see that you gave it a 100.
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post #9 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 07:01 PM
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I will never forget how exhausted I was after seeing this in the theater. I felt like I lived the film. And that was 13ish years ago!
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post #10 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 07:03 PM
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Alright...alright , to Best Buy I go.... Thanks King P for the great review.
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post #11 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcschlic View Post

Ralph,

Thanks for the review.

I teach a high school film class and we just finished a war films unit. The Thin Red Line is one of the movies I showed in class. I got a great response from my students. Most of the students are seniors, but we had to get a few permission slips from students who are juniors.

Awesome, awesome movie.

I'm really surprised that this movie would be shown to HS students. It is an exceptionally well made movie with a riveting script. I just feel that caution should be given with regard to those who might watch it. I don't consider myself prudish or overly conservative in my choice of movies. The disturbing elements of this movie IMO are extreme. Yes, it depicts that which makes war unacceptable and maybe therein lies the lesson. As you can read, I really was bothered by scenes in this movie and I'll have to accept that maybe I'm in the minority here as far as recommending due diligence in who views this movie.
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post #12 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 08:42 PM
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This movie affected me deeply when I saw it in the theater 13 years ago. In many ways it was overshadowed by its contemporary, "Saving Private Ryan," as people thought, "Oh great. Another depressing WWII movie. And what's up with all those weird cameos?"

But IMO, and as others have noted, there's a lot more going on in this film than in SPR. The interior monologues of unapologetic poetry, the quiet moments simply observing the native people and environments of the South Pacific are every bit as powerful and crucial as the brutal depictions of war that punctuate the film. SPR only showed the latter, again and again, which did a good job of driving home the devastating horrors of war but failed to place them in context. In retrospect, I think this film holds up much better and rewards repeat viewings and deeper readings. I'm so glad it got the Criterion treatment. Don't miss it.
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post #13 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 09:06 PM
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Nick Nolte (who's really great in this) has half his division killed taking a hill for ego reasons. He says after the battle; "You know what my son is? A bait salesman!" Super movie. Thanks for giving it such a worthwhile review, Ralph.
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post #14 of 34 Old 03-22-2011, 09:39 PM
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Watched this one at the Ziegfeld, and being scared sh**less, after watching some does insane scenes and hearing bullets whizzing by my ducked head . The bombardments of cameo, after cameos really was a treat, but some scrip/dialog was a bit trippy even for me, or was it my friends funny cigarettes he was smoking earlier. I would like to revisited this one which I haven't seen since.

Thanks Mr Potts for the great review


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post #15 of 34 Old 03-23-2011, 05:45 AM
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Guess I'll have to give this one another chance. Walked out of the theater after watching it, like "wtf was that" - i remember my friend looking at me at mumbling something about a Thin Red Plot....
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post #16 of 34 Old 03-23-2011, 06:55 AM
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Thanks again Ralph, I hadn't realized that there'd been a BluRay release of this film.
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post #17 of 34 Old 03-23-2011, 08:02 AM
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Thank you, Ralph, for reminding me of this film .. it is now in my Amazon cart ..

Top of the line filmaking by any measure ..

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post #18 of 34 Old 03-24-2011, 08:35 AM
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The thinking man's war film. Can't wait to replace my dvd with the blu-ray.
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post #19 of 34 Old 03-24-2011, 11:10 AM
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Ralph,
Thank you so much for bringing this movie to my attention!! For years now, I've been digesting all I can about World War II, including reading books, watching documentaries and movies. I honestly don't know how this movie escaped me. I've heard the title but never bothered to find out what it was about.

With a such a high rating and glowing review, I had no choice but to order this blu ray . I know I will not be disappointed, but rather will have one more gem in my collection.

Thanks again!
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post #20 of 34 Old 03-24-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpellChecker View Post

Ralph,
Thank you so much for bringing this movie to my attention!! For years now, I've been digesting all I can about World War II, including reading books, watching documentaries and movies. I honestly don't know how this movie escaped me. I've heard the title but never bothered to find out what it was about.

With a such a high rating and glowing review, I had no choice but to order this blu ray . I know I will not be disappointed, but rather will have one more gem in my collection.

Thanks again!

Greetings,

You're more than welcome SC. Enjoy!

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post #21 of 34 Old 03-24-2011, 01:03 PM
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I thought everything about this movie was great except the camera work. Most of it appeared handheld. Folks should take a look at actual footage done by military camera operators during this period. I think military camera operators most would be ashamed of most modern war movie camera work. It is too bad so many directors focus their attention to the camera and not what is in front of the camera.

If amateurish, jerky camera work bothers you then this movie is not for you.

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post #22 of 34 Old 03-24-2011, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post
I thought everything about this movie was great except the camera work. Most of it appeared handheld. Folks should take a look at actual footage done by military camera operators during this period. I think military camera operators most would be ashamed of most modern war movie camera work. It is too bad so many directors focus their attention to the camera and not what is in front of the camera.

If amateurish, jerky camera work bothers you then this movie is not for you.

SP5 Wendell R. Breland
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You sure it's not intended camera work ?? if you got big explosions in a war type movie...I think a steady camera would take away from the overall effect.

Have some imagination...
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post #23 of 34 Old 03-24-2011, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post
I thought everything about this movie was great except the camera work. Most of it appeared handheld. Folks should take a look at actual footage done by military camera operators during this period. I think military camera operators most would be ashamed of most modern war movie camera work. It is too bad so many directors focus their attention to the camera and not what is in front of the camera.

If amateurish, jerky camera work bothers you then this movie is not for you.

SP5 Wendell R. Breland
US Army 1966-1968
"Directors" direct the actors and oversee the overall flow of the film , Directors of Phototgraphy are ultimately responsible for the (strangely enough) photography of the film.

If you think the photography in "The Thin Red Line " is anything other than amazing I can only assume you know precisely nothing about cinematography.

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post #24 of 34 Old 03-25-2011, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post

I can only assume you know precisely nothing about cinematography.

You do know what they say about “assume” don’t you? I suggest you check on a poster before you “assume” anything about them. My background is real easy and accessible from my signature line. I also added another reference that should have given you a clue!!

Please note, if you love the cinematography I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the cinematography and I know others dislike this style as well. I was just providing a heads up.
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post #25 of 34 Old 03-25-2011, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

You do know what they say about assume don't you? I suggest you check on a poster before you assume anything about them. My background is real easy and accessible from my signature line. I also added another reference that should have given you a clue!!

Please note, if you love the cinematography I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the cinematography and I know others dislike this style as well. I was just providing a heads up.


Yep right back at you.

I'm sorry but the cinematography on Thin Red Line : indeed all of Malick's work is legendary. You are indeed welcome to your opinions as is everyone but if you have any familiarity with cinematography then your criticism of the Thin Red Line is seriously lacking my man.

What has Military camera operation to do with it anyway ? Malick's films are visual poetry.

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post #26 of 34 Old 03-26-2011, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post

Yep right back at you.

Wrong again, I remember your post from the recent HD disc war and I looked at your Public Profile during that period. Very little info there.

Quote:


I'm sorry but the cinematography on Thin Red Line : indeed all of Malick's work is legendary.

Glad you like it!! For me, Cheap = Jerky Handheld, Well Made (read expensive) = Dolly + Tracks, Cranes, Steadicam®, Jimmy Jib®, Hydropeds, etc., etc.

Quote:


What has Military camera operation to do with it anyway ?

If you have to ask, there is no amount of words that would explain it to you.
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post #27 of 34 Old 03-29-2011, 08:35 AM
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Thanks Ralph,

I missed this in the theaters, but I had recently viewed it prior to seeing your review. I was similarly blown away by this film in all aspects. This film personifies the "art" of filmmaking as it explores contrasting extremes of imagery, behavior and psychology in a way that left me emotionally wasted by the end. The flawless audio/video transfer simply elevates this movie to one of the greatest overall I've had the pleasure to experience.

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post #28 of 34 Old 03-29-2011, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zero the hero View Post

Guess I'll have to give this one another chance. Walked out of the theater after watching it, like "wtf was that" - i remember my friend looking at me at mumbling something about a Thin Red Plot....

Heh. While I really liked this film, I remember sitting a row back from an older couple when I saw this in the theater. As the end credits started to roll, the husband turned to his wife and said, "That's it? It's over?"
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post #29 of 34 Old 03-29-2011, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

I thought everything about this movie was great except the camera work. Most of it appeared handheld. Folks should take a look at actual footage done by military camera operators during this period. I think military camera operators most would be ashamed of most modern war movie camera work. It is too bad so many directors focus their attention to the camera and not what is in front of the camera.

If amateurish, jerky camera work bothers you then this movie is not for you.

SP5 Wendell R. Breland
US Army 1966-1968

You appear to be straying a bit afield. I don't remember anywhere in the film where it was stated that it was a re-creation of military documentaries of the period. It is a fictional portrayal, driven by the director's choices.

From what I can see you are the one focusing on the camera and what is going on behind it. It is because Mailck is most interested in what is in front of the camera that he makes the choices he does, the better to get across his artistic vision.

The work is not amateurish by any definition of the word. It is an artistic choice by recognized professionals in the film business. But indeed, that doesn't mean you have to like it. You are correct in that if any camera shake bothers you then watching this film may bother you.

I guess I haven't seen much in-combat footage from this era, because most of what I have seen is even jerkier than this film. Can you point me in the direction of documentary footage with the locked-down-camera type of filming you prefer?

John K.
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post #30 of 34 Old 03-29-2011, 08:35 PM
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Wow.
For me, there's not much to criticize about Thin Red Line except that it should've have been longer, ditched the Clooney cameo and Travolta while they were at it.
While everyone has their own opinion, I find Wendell's criticism of the cinematography to be baffling in the extreme.
There are parts of this film that are nothing less than visual poetry.
The opening scenes with the kids swimming and the sun shining through the trees are jawing dropping.
The scenes of them trying to take and then taking the hill are as good as it gets.
The combination of extreme close-ups and extreme depth of field shots are just riveting.
The alternating sun & clouds illuminating the lush rippling grass, beautiful.
I could go on and on about this film.
I saw this in the original theatrical release and being able to view this anytime I want in hi-def is a joy.

 

It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that ain't so

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The Thin Red Line The Criterion Collection Blu Ray
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