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on 25 December 2012
I presume most people wanting to buy this Blu-ray digibook edition have already seen the film, so you already know whether you like it. For my money, it's a very good period romance, but never quite steps over into great (except, of course, John Barry's wonderful score). The film alone would get four stars from me.

I'm mainly writing this review to make clear that Universal have taken the cheapskate option with this release. Unlike the US digibook, which has exactly the same cover design, the disc you'll find inside this one is the same disc as the previous release - the one with poor picture quality. It's blurry, smoothed over, lacking in detail and generally everything else that can go wrong with a HD transfer.

If you want this digibook, go for the American version (which is region free). Alternatively, go for the US 100th Anniversary release in the standard plastic case - it's cheaper and the digibook packaging doesn't offer much beyond looking nice.
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on 12 March 2017
Out of Africa is simply a masterpiece of cinematic art. This film does an exceptional job of delving into each of the characters and creating an understanding of what it is that makes all lovers and humanity itself such a difficult and complex chain of events.

Meryl Streep proves once again what an acting legend she is by playing Karen Blixen, a Danish "immigrant" to Eastern Africa and how she learned to fall in love with the land, the people, and of a British hunter named Denys, played by a very American Robert Redford. Their relationship is unique and genuinely romantic, certainly one of the great epic romances of all time. Their love is a play between what your heart needs and what your head tells you what you should do with your life. In the end, their love is not of this world, it is not ours. It is a lesson in learning that nothing is forever, nothing is owned by us, not even the love we create for ourselves and then discard. This earth, represented so well by Africa, owns everything we think we have, and ultimately, like Denys, we all go back to whence we come.

Out of Africa is a gorgeously filmed movie, with some of the most spectacular scenery ever recorded on film. The flying over Africa scene is romance and adventure next to none. The film score by John Barry is certainly one of the best of all time, and it perfectly captures the romantic grandeur of this woman and that man in their glorious attempt at forever possessing each other's heart, only to learn that their love is not to remain constant, just like the beauty of the African savannah is not to be consistent. A romantic, visual, musical, and historical achievement, until now poorly served by video. The DVD was lousy, and the first Blu ray, released in 2010, was so so.

So "so so", in fact, that Universal offered (in the US only, unfortunately...) disappointed buyers a free exchange for this 2012 released 100th anniversary new version, this time fully and magnificently restored - picture and sound. Not the absolute perfection of "Ben Hur", "The Ten Commandments" or "Lawrence of Arabia", but not far from it.

At long last, justice has been done to this masterpiece. Purchase STRONGLY recommended.
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In April 2012 Universal Studios was 100 years old - and to celebrate that movie-making centenary they had 13 of their most-celebrated films fully restored for BLU RAY. 1985's "Out Of Africa" is one of them and like the other titles in this series so far - the print quality of this beloved film is extraordinary and the presentation classy (a full list of titles in the 100th Anniversary BLU RAY Series is in the attached 'comment' section - including DVD releases).

Issued in the US 6 March 2012 (later given a UK release) - "Out Of Africa Collector's Series" comes in a gorgeous limited edition 44-page hardback 'Book Pack' (use Barcode 025192127793 on the Amazon search bar to get the right issue). It's a 2-disc set with the BLU RAY to the front and the Anamorphic Widescreen DVD to the rear. There's also a foldout insert included that has a code for a Digital Copy via download from Universal's website valid until 31 December 2013.

But the really great news for film fans everywhere is a stupendously good print and a REGION FREE release - so it will play on ALL BLU RAY machines and PlayStation 3 Consoles too (there was a preceding version on BLU RAY that received bad reviews re print - this version is not that one). Also note: there is a cheaper standard packaging version due 4 September 2012 in the USA with slightly altered front artwork - again it has a BLU RAY, DVD and Download - so check you're using the Barcode provided above to get the 'best' version).

Digitally remastered and Fully Restored from Original Film Elements - Universal are reputed to have stumped-up over $300,000 for the restoration - and the results have already received huge praise on web sites dedicated to the format. This overhauled 2012 "Out Of Africa" print is a full 1080p High Definition release with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. What that means is the picture fills your entire screen without stretching - and combined with the gorgeous transfer - the effect is truly cinematic. For example the movie opens with a sunrise on the African Plains - all yellows and gold and browns. With the natural heat haze the land would produce and the semi-lighting conditions - this is a very difficult moment to get right - yet it is fantastically clear and clean. But even this is aced a few moments later when a bi-plane flies over the open plains during the daytime and it's little short of gobsmacking (dialogue from it titles this review). There then follows a scene in Denmark in snowy fields at a shooting party where I swear it looks like Dr. Zhivago (it's that good). In fact it's in these outdoor scenes (of which there are many) that the beautiful 'look' of "Out Of Africa" really excels - and it does so right through to the very end when Karen (Streep) bids farewell to her trusty steward Farah (played by Michael Bowens) at the train station.

It should be stressed however that it isn't perfect at all times by any means - there is some shocking fuzziness and grain on indoor shots - sequences at night around campfires and tents with Redford. There's a scene where Michael Kitchen as the dapper Englishman Berkeley Cole is talking to Meryl Streep at dinner in her home - the camera cuts to Streep and the print is perfect - but it then flicks back to Kitchen and the shot is suddenly covered in speckles of grain. They were either filmed apart or on two cameras - but the cleaned up print has only made the discrepancy more apparent and not less so.

But for the most part this is a joy to look at and at last gives full reign to David Watkin's sumptuous cinematography and Milena Canonero's crafted outfits (aristocratic European fashions alongside the colourful garments of African tribesmen). Throw in John Barry's most magisterial score ever - and as you can imagine - the impact is properly beautiful. A good example of all three occurs when the credits role - a steam train trundles across the wide-open expanses of 1913 Kenya in East Africa as we see the Danish Baroness standing at the back of her carriage in her immaculate outfit - then John Barry's score just nails it as the title of the film goes up onscreen. It's both fabulous to look at and moving too...a rare combination indeed.

The 44-page booklet inside the hardback outer is pure eye candy as you can imagine. It opens with a 2-page appreciation by film-critic and historian Leonard Maltin, has reproductions of several script pages, US, Polish and East German advert posters, a Cast of Characters, a piece on the political makeup of Kenya at the time - the British to the North and the Germans to the South and essays on the principal leads Streep, Redford, the Composer John Barry and Director Sydney Pollock. There's interesting trivia items dotted throughout the text - for instance Redford initially played the Englishman Denys Hatton with an English accent - but Pollock felt no-one would accept Redford as a Brit so he had him re-record all of the parts in American. Or that during the tender hair-washing scene wild Hippos were in the river nearby and they kill more people than lions if they feel their territory is threatened - so Streep was more scared of them than bullwhipping lions. The quality of the colour photos is top-notch too.

Clocking in a whopping 1 hour and 12 minutes Charles Kiselayk's "A Song Of Africa" is a substantial bonus feature that has charming, insightful and witty contributions from Streep, Redford and Pollock - intermixed with archive footage of the young, older and near-death Karen Blixen. It fills out a lot of the gaps as to what happened before and after the films' parameters where she left Africa in 1931 after 17 years - 46-years old, childless, penniless, divorced and broken-hearted. She then wrote over 10 books under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen between 1935 and 1996 and suffered from Syphilis all her life. This extra is also in standard 480p definition - so when you see the washed-out widescreen stock footage - you begin to realize just how astounding the cleaned-up 1080p fullscreen print really is. The only mild irritant is the overly wordy narration where the speaker wants to prove he's Kahlil Gibran every few moments, as he waxes lyrical about the lady's journey. The 15 or so Deleted Scenes (Widescreen and in Standard Definition) come fast and furious – they’re very short and although one or two with the Farah character are interesting - you can see why most were cut...

With 18 Oscar nominations and 3 wins to her name - you can't imagine any other actress ballsy enough to take on such a difficult, willful and frustrated woman. Yet Streep chews it up. Her accented Karen Blixen is wholly believable - vulnerable, proud, literate, deep, religiously repressed yet wanting to be sensually liberated - and reaching for it with the man she grew to adore and love - the English and debonair African hunter Denys Hatton. This is a big and romantic canvas - and both principals have affection for each other and respect for their various skills - their on-screen chemistry being a lovely thing to see. The scene where Denys takes her up in the bi-plane and flies across the landscape of mountains, rivers, waterfalls, zebras, giraffes and a lake full of birds to show her the real beauty of Africa - is breathtaking and even a little spiritual. Pollock's use of the indigenous tribes is superbly done too. Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Gough, Leslie Phillips, Shane Rimmer and the sorely missed Irish actor Donal McCann as her Doctor - all wonderful. Blink and you'll miss IMAN - David Bowie's wife - nursing the Michael Kitchen character whose contracted black water fever...

To sum up - clocking in at 2 hours and 40 minutes - "Out Of Africa" may seem a tad indulgent by today's standards of chop-em-out-fast-and-leave-em-panting blockbusters - but it works precisely because its epic. It was a mammoth undertaking at the time made by maverick people (Pollock worked on the script with Kurt Luedtke for over a year - Pollock sadly passed away in 2008) and this BLU RAY reissue does it proud.

And as with the other titles in this series - it's also heartening to see Universal Studios finally throw some proper money at the preservation of their movie legacy and be proud about doing so too. I'm collecting the whole series and live in hope that other studios respect their past in the same glorious way.

BLU RAY and DVD Specifications:
1. Deleted Scenes - over 15 short segments (about 15 minutes)
2. A Song Of Africa - An Original Full-Length Documentary On The Making Of The Film and Karen Blixen's Life by Charles Kiselayk (72 minutes)
3. Theatrical Trailer
4. Feature Length Commentary With Director Sydney Pollack
5. My Scenes
6. BLU RAY Exclusive: Pocket BLU - For Tablets and Smartphones - take the content on the go
7. BLU RAY Exclusive: BD Live - Internet-Connected Feature

VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.85:1
BLU RAY AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 DTS Surround
DVD AUDIO: English Dolby Digital 4.1 and French Dolby Digital 2.0
SUBTITLES BLU RAY: English SDH (Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing), Spanish and French SUBTITLES DVD: English SDH (Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing)
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on 17 September 2015
Maybe not the best Pollack but a dramatic and romantic film that sticks out of the average mainstream cinema: Pollack is always great to touch the emotional side of us and create appealing scenes, and he wonderfully direct two actors giving a true star performance.
Out of Africa is less common and "only for women" than it looks: it is a romance where feelings are always shaded by a sense of loss and bitterness, that you get when you are living a unique and liberating experience (here is love and the majestic poetry of African nature).
Blu ray pretty well presents the classic and photographic look of the film, making it even more enjoyable and engaging.
A story where, a part from some more clichè and mainstream moments, is genuine and true.
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on 31 May 2017
I never liked Robert Redford as an actor but I love Merryl Streep. When I watched this film on TV the first time many years ago, it did it out of boredom, I had been ill & inside the house for a few days.
I'm so glad I had such a horrible flu. This movie is so wonderfully tender, courageous, romantic but no cheese. And Redford & Streep have a wonderful chemistry. The settings in Africa, the colours, the beautiful background music.... and the scene of Redford washing Streep's character hair.... I think is one of the most romantic scenes ever.
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on 20 November 2017
Whilst historically inaccurate, a great film, though if you enjoyed it, try reading "Too close to the sun" by Sara Wheeler, a great book, that gets deeper into this interesting time in Africa, whilst examining the fascinating life of Denys Finch Hatton, who was a product of the English class system, which makes his role in the film by Robert Redford, seem totally out of place.
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on 10 December 2013
This is a review of the UK (Region B) Universal 100th Anniversary Collection Digibook Blu-ray release.
I have read negative reviews about this release but can confirm that the picture quality of this edition is far better than the original 2011 release. I have seen the US digitally remastered & restored 100th Anniversary Edition and to my eyes (viewed on my 42" Samsung LED TV) the UK release is the same transfer, even though there is nothing to state this on the packaging...
The Hardback Digibook is filled with exquisite colour stills and information about the film, cast, Director (Sydney Pollack) and Soundtrack composer (John Barry), along with snippets of filming and location trivia. The only disappointment is the flimsy removable card that wraps around the book. This card has all the usual technical information that could have been printed on the back cover of the Digibook itself (the US version does) and I can only assume this was a cost saving exercise that slightly cheapens the overall package.
In summary though, I have never seen this wonderful film look this good before and readers should be very sceptical of the negative reviews about picture quality.
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on 30 July 2012
Since this isn't available in the UK yet I took the risk and ordered from the US.

The BluRay is all region and so works fine on any player. (The DVD is region 1 and so needs a multiregion DVD player).

Fantastic film and BD transfer looks excellent.

Having said that, I got stung by Royal Mail for import duties and their processing prices (which were always a riopoff) have rocketed. I paid £19.18 including postage via Amazon marketplace. The import duty on my purchase including Royal Mail's charge came to £11.11 - so be warned!!!
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on 5 April 2014
Have not seen this film for yearsHave just given in and bought this from Amazon as it is on TV with a logo Loathe a film with a logo Sacrilege! This is quite simply one of the best films of all time Every part of it is perfect,other than Robert Redford's English accent,but so what if he can't do English,he's great in the role It is a film to be watched again and again Wonderful film and story Can not recommend it too highly
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on 25 June 2017
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