The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1970
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 172 Minutes
Genre: War Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.20:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Lossless, English Dolby 5.0 Surround, Spanish/French Mono
Subtitles: English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Starring: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong, Carey Loftin, Dumortier
Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 3, 2008
"A cinematic classic gets the Blu' treatment"
Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role (George C. Scott), Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Art Direction, the sweeping WWII epic PATTON (1970, Fox) tells the story of one of the most extraordinary generals, George S. Patton, Jr., whose lust for glory swept through the North African battlefield and across Europe, earning the fear and respect of his enemies, as well as the resentment of his allies.
Wow ! Believe it or not I had never seen Patton going into this review. George C. Scott won an Oscar for his portrayal of General George S. Patton and I can see why. He gave a riveting and powerful performance that surely must have been taxing on him. The film documents the story of Patton during the second World War. It begins with his taking charge of the American forces in North Africa after the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, and then leading them to victory at the Battle of El Guettar. After he successfully invades Italy he visits some of the wounded and ends up slapping a young soldier who is suffering from what appears to post traumatic stress. Patton sees him as weak and a coward for being in the hospital with other men who have been physically wounded in battle. Word of the incident gets out and Patton is subsequently relieved of his command. This seemed to mark the beginning of a number of troubling incidents that keep Patton in trouble with his superiors which eventually leads to his losing his command. The Germans see him as a battle hardened and strategic leader who stops at nothing to win. In light of that they base a number of their military plans around their anticipation of what he will do next. This is used successfully by the Allies to decoy the Germans. Patton is a Christian but for some reason believes pretty seriously in reincarnation. He strongly believes that he was put on this earth for one purpose and that is to lead men in times of war.
I was impressed with this film. At 172 minutes it is certainly not short but I never felt like it was dragging. I have to believe that when it was released it must have been shocking to audiences in its gory depiction of body strewn battle fields. Along with Scott I thought the supporting players were excellent. Karl Malden stood out as Omar Bradley and his interaction onscreen with Scott solidified both roles.
I read that In 2003, Patton was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". I would say that I would have to agree.
The rating is for war violence, battlefield gore and some language.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Pattoncomes to Blu-ray disc sporting a 1080p AVC encoding that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio Lossless sound with an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.
Fans have been anticipating this release in high definition and my opinion is that the wait was well worth it. This is a beautiful presentation that boasts a wide color palette that really comes to life in high definition. Colors are well saturated and warm which made them very pleasing against the war time backdrops and cinematography used in the film. Blacks are not inky but have enough dynamic range to keep them from looking flat. Lower light sequences exhibited plenty of detail within backgrounds and shadows. Fleshtones appeared a bit pasty and uneven which I think is attributable to the style of makeup used. They didn't come across with natural tonality in every case (especially George C. Scott) but I didn't find it overly distracting. I would describe this presentation as being extremely film like. It exhibited a crisp razor sharp image that revealed fine textures and minute physical detail. This was regardless of the aspects contained within the scene. Occasionally definition and dimensional perception lessened to a degree. This didn't negate the feeling of watching high definition but rather the feeling of wow factor. Considering the age of this film I was stunned at how good it looked. I suspect fans will have plenty to like about it.
The DTS-HD audio featured an interesting mix which made use of the entire surround platform. Dialogue sounded clear and intelligible through the center channel but didn't have the concise and crystalline texture of the better of today's soundtracks. A few times I found myself turning up the volume to better hear dialogue in scenes where there was background noise. One on one conversations were not a problem. The front soundstage sounded moderately compressed which impacted imaging across the three channels. The surrounds were used to reproduce a variety of surround effects as planes flew overhead, tanks exploded, or to help fill the entire room with the beauty of Jerry Goldsmith's music score. The bombastic nature of the battle sequences were probably quite impressive at the time this film was released theatrically. By today's standards they seemed pretty dated but I appreciated their aggressiveness. The sounds of exploding tanks, artillery volleys, machine gun fire and strafing airplanes lacked the dynamic presence and impact associated with today's digitally recorded sound mixes. That is not a complaint but rather an observation. I think that most should find the audio presented here to be very close to what the theatrical experience must have been like 30 + years ago.
This is an excellent bonus set that provides a near 360 degree look at this film. The commentary and introduction by writer Francis Ford Coppola on Disc 1 provides some great insights into the script, its history, shooting the film, and some detail about how it was received. Disc 2 contains the bulk of the material and is in fact a Standard Definition DVD. There are three documentaries that look at the film from a number of perspectives, as well as George S. Patton himself and his legacy. These are full length pieces that provide some very interesting and comprehensive material. There are two still galleries, one that is accompanied by Jerry Goldsmith's Academy Award nominated score in Dolby Digital Stereo. The other is set to an audio essay on the historical George S. Patton. The original theatrical trailer is included as well. I tend to gravitate toward films that have historical backgrounds and having bonus features that include a look at the basis for the film is always welcome.
- Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola
- Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
- History through the lens: Patton - A rebel revisited documentary
- Patton's Ghost Corps documenatry
- The Making of Patton documentary
- Production still gallery accompanied by Jerry Goldsmith's complete musical score
- Behind the scenes still gallery accompanied by an Audio Essay on the historical Patton
- The original Theatrical Trailer
- Blu-ray Disc Trailer for Jumper
Patton is a catalog title that fans have eagerly been anticipating in high definition. Fox Blu-ray has brought it forth with resplendent video quality and a set of extensive bonus features that is sure to gladden fans. For me this was my first (and not the last !) experience with this great film. What a spectacular introduction.Highly Recommended.
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