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On the DVD: Too often the best extras come attached to films that don't really warrant them. Not so here, where a truly great film has been given the attention it deserves. The first disc presents the film in the original extra-wide CinemaScope ratio of 2.55:1, in an anamorphically enhanced transfer which does maximum justice to the film's superb cinematography. The sound has been transferred from the original six-track magnetic elements into 5.1 Dolby Digital and far surpasses what many would expect from a 1950s' feature. The main bonus on the first disc is an isolated presentation of Malcolm Arnold's great Oscar-winning music score, in addition to which there is a trivia game, and maps and historical information linked to appropriate clips.
The second disc contains a new, specially produced 53-minute "making of" documentary featuring many of those involved in the production of the movie. This gives a rich insight into the physical problems of making such a complex epic on location in Ceylon. Also included are the original trailer and two short promotional films from the time of release, one of which is narrated by star William Holden. Finally there is an "appreciation" by director John Milius, an extensive archive of movie posters and artwork, and a booklet that reproduces the text of the film's original 1957 brochure. --Gary S Dalkin
The "Bridge on the River Kwai" is a remastered version with a remixed Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. I found the stereo separation too wide for my tastes and would have liked the option of the original mono soundtrack (artefacts and all). Picture quality is fair, although there are some scratches and hairs during the opening credits as well as the occasional jump during the film.
"From Here to Eternity" has the original mono soundtrack (I believe a Superbit Dolby 5.1 version is also available, but, really, what's the point?!). Note that this film is shot in black and white.
"The Guns Of Navarone" has surround sound and the picture quality is good.
In conclusion, if you're not bothered by the lack of extras, I would highly recommend this set. At the current prices you save 10 pounds compared with buying the films separately (16 vs. 26 pounds).
One of the many pleasures of seeing this film (especially in its DVD format) is the juxtaposition of lush tropical settings with the raw emotions of those who are building the bridge and those who are determined to destroy it. I am also struck by how carefully Lean develops the semi-adversarial relationships between Nicholson and Saito and between Warden and Shears. Although "Madness... Madness" is frequently quoted as an evaluation of those relationships, I disagree.Read more ›