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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

80






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
Resolution: 1080p/24


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"



Film Synopsis:




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.



My Take:


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.






Parental Guide:


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)


Audio: 74


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 86


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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

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.



Bonus Features:




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.


Disc 1:

  • Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola

  • Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola


Disc 2:
  • 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





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 gladden fans. For me this was my first (and not the last !) experience with this great film. What a spectacular introduction.Highly Recommended.













Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



Sony VPL-VW50 SXRD 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player

Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Was there even a hint of edge enhancement?


Thanks,

Tom
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow /forum/post/13911189


You lucky guy..getting to see Patton for the first time...and in HD!!


Fascinating movie.


Nice review, Ralph.

I agree 100%. Those of us who have known for years about the greatness of "Patton" as a film were looking forward to your reactions to the initial experience! I can't wait until my pre-ordered (along with "The Longest Day") copy arrives!!


In regards your comments about the sound--- I saw this film about three times in its initial 65-mm Roadshow presentation in New York's Criterion Theatre (where "My Fair Lady," the film, premiered) and the sound was fine and definitely excellent for-the-day stereo. I believe that the picture was awarded the Best Sound Oscar.

But the movie on VHS, laserdisc and earlier DVD (haven't seen the 2-disc second-release edition) had really tinny sound.

Looking forward to hearing the great Goldsmith score in what has to be vastly improved sound.


Ralph-- you've only seen this film once. Here's hoping you have many more viewings! It grows on you and you have to give in to occasional Scott-as-Patton cravings!


OH-- and now you've got that "clout" with these studios, prevail on Fox to add "Tora! Tora! Tora!" to that list of essential "war" film releases. They owe it to us if only to apologize for "Pearl Harbor."


Scott as "Patton": (on hearing he lost the D-Day command after slapping a soldier):

"Hell. I wish I'd kissed the son-of-a-*****!"
 

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I watched Patton again last week but, unfortunately, it was on a 480p DVD, not Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray would have to make this spectacular film even better, but it's outstanding, even on a conventional DVD. George C. Scott, a great actor by any measure, gave the performance of a lifetime in the role of a lifetime.
 

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Hi Ralph,


These guys smell DNR. Do you ?


My copy of Patton has already been shipped and I would be terribly disappointed if the transfer was DNR-ed.

http://www.dvdreview.com/reviews/pages/2834.shtml

Quote:
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has now brought to Blu-Ray Disc the spectacular Special Edition that was previously released on DVD. Offering a high definition transfer of the movie in its original 2.20:1 widescreen aspect ratio, I swear that I did a double take when I first put in the disc. The film's opening sequence showing Patton in front of the American flag is simply mind-blowing. The image is so razor-sharp and stable that it looks as if you were looking at a static image on your computer. The colors are so rich, the edges so perfectly defined that it is hard to believe you are looking at a motion picture if it weren't for George C. Scott strutting about in front of it. It will leave you gasping.


However, this kind of stellar cleanliness in the presentation is also one the transfer's shortcomings. In order to achieve this kind of perfect look, a lot of clean-up has been performed on the transfer. You won't find a hint of film grain or dirt anywhere on this release - and I mean anywhere. It is so clean that it is unreal already. Using digital technologies the studio seems to have eliminated all grain from the transfer and while that creates a very clean image, it also has side effects. As a result skin tones look very pasty throughout the movie, as if every actor was wearing a little too much make-up, as if someone forgot to dust of the excess powder on their faces. It is kind of weird to look at Scott's craggy face, hear his throaty, bellowing voice and looking in his super-smooth, glamour-shot style face while body parts explode around him in the battlefield. I am sorry but for all the cleanliness it may have given the transfer I would have preferred the film's original grittiness and edge. Fox clearly went overboard here creating a transfer that no longer represents the original filmmakers' intentions, and while this may please the masses I do not think it is the way to treat a film.



Other than that the transfer does look fantastic with great detail throughout and strong colors that truly pop off the screen. You will see seams and details that you could never see on the DVD. I doubt you could even see them during theatrical presentations either. Contrast is wonderfully balanced with great blacks and strong highlights. There are a few minor coloration issues where shots are slightly off-colored and skin tones suddenly appear with yellow or green tinges but given the film's age and brutal length, a handful of slightly faded shots are certainly excusable.
 

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Thanks a ton Vincent for the clarification.
 

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After looking at the screens on blu ray.com the faces do look a little 'smooth'(Like they went to the Wayne Newton school of 'How do I look?'). It does actually appear to have 0 grain.


I don't think Pan's Labyrinth looked like that at all.

The more I look at the screens the more it does look like it is DNRd.
 

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Greetings,


Don't worry about the quality of this video presentation. Its not perfect but it looks beautiful and if you like this film you won't see it look any better than this.



Regards,
 

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Ralph, others have said it already, but wanted to chime in and say I really like your reviews. They're smugness-free and straight-shootin'. You've also been very even-handed, which is refreshing from the reviews we see on other sites, where you wonder if the reviewer really spun the disc to give it a fair shot.


Was going to wait for a deal on this as I do for most Fox Blu-ray$, but may have to make an exception. Screenshots posted in the blu-ray.com review make this look like a movie released today. For those of us w/front projectors, hope the DNR is minor.
 

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Vincent, I hope you don't mind, but I thought it would be helpful to post the content of your link to your comments on why there is little/no grain in Patton. This is excellent information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira /forum/post/13912906


PATTON was shot in 65mm, so it should be practically grain-free without the need of any "DNR". I wonder if the reviewer, shocked at the lack of grain and not understanding that PATTON, although a dreaded "old movie", was filmed in 65mm which is practically grain-free, perhaps imagined some of the so-called "DNR artifacts" that they thought they saw in the transfer simply because it didn't have the grain they were used to from more recent, often Super-35mm shot films? His comment about the film's supposed "original grittiness and edge" certainly doesn't jive with the look that any movie shot in 65mm would ever have had originally.


Vincent
 

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According to a film buff at another forum it should be nearly impossible to see the film grain even on a 20' wide screen especially with how Fox has treated the master with care.


I think if anything it showed the dvdreview guy to be ignorant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh /forum/post/13914424


Ralph, others have said it already, but wanted to chime in and say I really like your reviews. They're smugness-free and straight-shootin'. You've also been very even-handed, which is refreshing from the reviews we see on other sites, where you wonder if the reviewer really spun the disc to give it a fair shot.


Was going to wait for a deal on this as I do for most Fox Blu-ray$, but may have to make an exception. Screenshots posted in the blu-ray.com review make this look like a movie released today. For those of us w/front projectors, hope the DNR is minor.

Greetings,


Thanks for your comments. I believe you will be happy with this one.




Cheers,
 

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I recently re-visited this film when Fox re-released this as a 2-disc edition with the 70mm transfer. Such an amazing movie, even after 35 years. It practically defines the term "epic" in regards to war films, and it was perhaps the last great war epic to come out of Hollywood. Following that, most WW2 films were overlooked since they whole theme had been so tried and done(Saving Private Ryan would change all of that.


It was sort of controversial for its day, given it was released at the very height of Vietnam. The Academy and movie-goers didnt seem to think so.


Another war epic needing the HD blu-ray treatment is Tora Tora Tora, released the same year to equal acclaim but less box office returns. I am suprised Fox didnt includ it along side The Longest Day and Sand Pebbles, along with a Bridge Too Far, Battle of Britain.
 

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This use to be my childhood favorite for a time being. I sneaked into the X rated movie when I was like 12 and watched it in an afternoon showing. There were like 20 people in the theater and it was wonderful. I love George C. Scott in that role of Patton!


I have a VHS copy of it and a DVD. I try to buy it locally and see it on Memorial Day!
 

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I watched this recently for the first time and I'm definitely looking forward to it. I may even not wait for a sale (as I usually do for Fox titles), since they ported the extras over.
 
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