196 of 197 people found the following review helpful
A nigh-on flawless presentation for a true British classic,
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This review is from: The Dam Busters [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)
Anyone who has only ever seen Michael Anderson's definitive 1954 war film on a muddy, soft television transmission or the previous standard definition DVD should prepare themselves to be floored when they sit down to watch this new 1080P Blu-Ray.
The visual presentation is nothing short of perfection, and I do not say such things lightly. To their credit, Optimum have got absolutely EVERYTHING right on this one.
Firstly, the frequent temptation with HD to crop films that were originally shot Academy down to fill a 16:9 frame has been resisted, with the film retaining its full original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, pillar-boxed within the 16:9 frame.
The clarity of the image is so stunning that I cannot imagine they used anything other than the original negative, which would mean that the film would have had to have undergone a full-blown restoration (not cheap!)
Grading is absolutely first rate, with a terrific grey scale and no discernible clipping of white areas of the image. I did notice some slight black crush on very dark jackets, but this may well just be my TV. The image is as sharp as a razor, with the amount of extra detail being revealed nothing short of staggering for a film made over fifty years ago.
Most importantly, this sharpness is entirely natural and I did not detect the slightest bit of artificial processing of any kind; no edge enhancement, no artificial sharpening and no DNR.
The image retains a wonderfully natural, film-like quality with grain present throughout, as it should be, but always mild and controlled, and never bothersome.
They've even left the original, beautifully ornate BBFC censor card on the front, a lovely touch which is much appreciated as it helps transport you immediately back to the time that the film was made (well, it does me, anyway!).
Sound-wise, things aren't quite as impressive. The film is constrained by the inevitable technical limitations of the time, and I suspect by the rather compressed, mid-rangey sound that they used an optical track rather than a superior magnetic one. However, not knowing what sound materials survive on the film, it is not really fair to criticize. The Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 track (most likely twin-channel Mono) is completely adequate for a film of this period, and as long as you don't go into it expecting a full immersive surround sound mix and accept it for what it is, you shouldn't be disappointed.
Extras wise, there is absolutely squat, unfortunately, not even a trailer, but again expecting reams of bonus features for a film of this vintage (the term 'making-of' hadn't even been invented yet!) is rather unfair. An interview with Richard Todd would have been nice, though.
Finally, for purists who may be worried, don't be... they've left the dog's name alone!
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Sep 2009 23:09:51 BDT
Thanks for the review, it was very helpful. Just one minor point though, you seem to imply that the 1.33:1 ratio is Academy ratio, but Academy ratio is actually 1.37:1. I'm assuming that this version is 1.33:1?
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Sep 2009 08:08:55 BDT
Martin Thomson says:
My mistake. You're right about academy, and I'm pretty sure this is 1.33:1 (although not knowing exactly how much overscan is on my TV it is difficult to be absolutely accurate in this respect).
Glad my review was helpful, though!
Posted on 8 Dec 2009 07:01:19 GMT
B. G. Jackson says:
Can you advise if Dam Busters Blu Ray is Region 0 (all region)? I would love to see this movie on my US video equipment and it is not available at Amazon.com. Thanks in advance.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2010 16:21:07 GMT
Neil Wilson says:
Sorry - Dam Busters Blu Ray is Region Locked B.
Posted on 23 Jun 2010 08:35:31 BDT
S. Harrison says:
Thanks MT for the excellent review but Amazon - this is a review of the blu-ray and you've posted it under the DVD. Further down there are reviews noting that the DVD transfer is poor so this is a significant boo-boo.
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2010 18:18:10 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Aug 2010 18:19:28 BDT
Paul Magnussen says:
It's Amazon that have done that -- they splatter the same review over every available edition.
But if you look at the top it says 'This review is from: The Dam Busters [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)'.
Posted on 28 Oct 2010 22:29:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2010 22:30:35 BDT
This 2010 version is advertised as being 'digitally re-mastered', yet at least one reviewer is adamant that this is untrue. Well, is it digitally remastered or isn't it? If not, I'll just make do with the version I bought a couple of years ago.
Posted on 4 Jan 2011 09:33:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jan 2011 09:33:55 GMT
Steven Duckworth says:
As for leaving Nigger's name alone (Gibson's dog), it's not a matter of being a purist but of historical fact. Change that and you are attempting to change history to fit the mores of modern politcal correctness, ARE YOU LISTENING PETER JACKSON!
Posted on 1 Feb 2011 19:59:11 GMT
Peter Taylor says:
No extra's ?? The version I was sent - same edition as this - has a very interesting colour documentary about the background to the Dambusters raid narrated by some of the original participants. Suggest you check your menus - you may be missing something.
Regards Peter taylor
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2011 02:53:13 GMT
F. Lane says:
Thanks, Peter, that answers my question! whenever I see a DVD edition of a video I previously bought, I look to see if there are any extras - I object to paying twice for exactly the same product!