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: November 6, 2012
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.
I reviewed Patton when it was initially released on Blu-ray back in 2008. Here are my comments from that review:
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, beginning 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 slaps 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 are physically wounded. 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 which 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 though the supporting players were excellent. Karl Malden stood out as Omar Bradley and his interaction 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:
Patton comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
Back in the 2008 when Patton was originally released on Blu-ray studios where still under the impression that the same techniques they used to bring films to DVD would suffice for high definition. This meant applying heavy doses of edge enhancement and in an effort to “clean” up the image digitally scrubbed in which also removed natural film grain. My initial and erroneous reaction to that first release was generally positive. I took that as a learning experience and have had the good fortune to review a number of quality restorations/re-masters since. 20th Century Fox has finally gotten around to re-mastering Patton and this re-release is the result. Read on…
This remastered high definition rendering is superb. The film’s period colors are naturally depicted with vivid textures and pleasing primaries that appear rich without over emphasis. Fleshtones appear lifelike with a mildly warm essence that conveys rosy complexions that don’t appear unnaturally pinkish. Images are noticeably detailed and sharp which draws out plenty of delineation and texture within clothing, physical features, and objects onscreen. Long range visuals are resolved with above average clarity and depth which highlights the film’s superlative cinematography. Contrast is spot on and blacks exhibit excellent dynamic range and pop nicely when onscreen with mixed content. Dark sequences have appreciable dimension and sufficient shadow detail that combine with the video’s higher resolution to enhance depth perception. The video has an undisturbed and visible grain structure that is never intrusive. Other than a hand full of shots where minor innate softening creeps in this 1080p encoding looks amazing.
This appears to be the same lossless soundtrack contained on the original Blu-ray release. My comments from that review are included below.
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 discussion was 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 40 + 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
In looking at my closing remarks from the 2008 review I found that they very much still apply to this new release. I will include them below but would like to add that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment did a terrific job with this re-mastered high definition video presentation.
Here are my original Final Thoughts:
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 please 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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