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252 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this the best Hi Def transfer yet?, 3 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Zulu [Blu-ray] [1964] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
In March of this year, Paramount Pictures and Sky got together to restore two British films for a Hi Def release. Those films were "Zulu" and "The Italian Job".
The former was originally shown following its restoration on Sky's Hi Def TV channels and has now made it to Blu-ray. Originally this was to have been an HD DVD release back in June but like so many others with that format's abrupt termination, "Zulu" is now belatedly out on Blu-ray.
"Zulu" is one of my favourite films of all time. It is one of the very best war films to ever come out of the UK, indeed, some maintain it to be the greatest of all.
It tells of the heroic stand by just over 100 British troops at an isolated mission station called Rorke's Drift in 1879 South Africa, following the annihilation of a British Army at Iswandlana by the Zulu Nation.This army of 4000 strong Zulu warriors then headed to Rorke's Drift to dish out a similar fate to the small British force stationed there....
What follows is a sustained battle, the ferocity of which will linger long in the viewer's memory. "Zulu" boasts an all star cast headed by Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, and in his first film role - Michael Caine.
The subject matter could have been a minefield to film but "Zulu" just shrugs this off and portrays the Zulus with awe and respect, depicting them as almost a force of nature against whom the British Army look small and almost frail....
The film boasts a thunderous score courtesy of John Barry and although this is not in 5.1, the stereo mix is still very good, indeed, and does what it is supposed to do with aplomb.

However, the picture itself is most definitely the star on show here. The restoration to Hi Def is nothing short of astounding and I can only assume that a 70mm print was used. From the old Paramount logo at the beginning of the film itself, the viewer is treated to a visual spectacle that simply could have been made yesterday. This is akin to and even possibly better than seeing a pristine 70mm print of this film in a cinema. Light and colour are gorgeous and the clarity is unbelievable.
Flies land on the face of Jack Hawkins' preacher as he tries to persuade Stanley Baker's commander to release his wounded men. The stunning Natal scenery is simply three dimensional and you can see every blade of grass and rock on the mountainsides. The uniforms almost glow with detail and are incredible to see. The huge marriage dance at the beginning of the film in King Cetawayo's Kraal is simply unbelievable though, restored to a detail so clear that it simply leaves you wondering how they got it to look that good.
My only gripe with the disc is that they did not provide a 5.1 soundtrack. That said the remixed stereo soundtrack is more than adequate and does the job.
Visually though this film takes Hi Def to a new plateau. It is simply unbelievable that this was made in 1962, again it has the look and clarity of a film made yesterday. It's Hi Def picture exceeds that of even the highly acclaimed "Black Narcissus", in fact I cannot think of any film on either BD or HD DVD that can rival "Zulu" in Hi Def.
Films like "2001" and "Bladerunner" are great Hi Def transfers but "Zulu" simply betters them.
Is this the best Hi Def transfer to date? I seriously am beginning to think that it is. Treat yourself to this incredible Hi Def experience and pick up a copy of this disc without delay.
Believe me, the end result will exceed your expectations, it is that good.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Nov 2008, 16:12:44 GMT
Steve says:
mines on the way sounds great, shame about the sound I was hoping for a 5.1 job what with the (train in the distance thing) and so on, I wonder why they didn't up grade?
Still if the picture is as good you say it's all worthwhile, any new extras? Many thanks for your review very inlightning.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2008, 19:46:13 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Nov 2008, 02:38:07 GMT
I have not yet gotten around to viewing the extras but it is a shame about the 5.1 sound, especially when you bear in mind that the film originally had a six channel magnetic soundtrack.....
The stereo sound is above average but yes 5.1 would have been even better.... Maybe on a future edition?

Posted on 2 May 2010, 09:13:47 BST
S. Turnbull says:
Hi, you mention the stereo soundtrack on this BD yet a lot of reviews which I've read say that it has a mono soundtrack. Does that only apply to the DVD version? & does this BD actually have stereo? Thanks.

Posted on 23 May 2011, 23:33:02 BST
Savs says:
A great review, i'm in the process of ordering my copy now. One small criticism, this film made a star of Michael Caine but it most definitely wasn't his first.

Posted on 21 Nov 2011, 12:39:17 GMT
lorneMowers says:
After the exit of preacher Jack Hawkins, does anyone spot a white car in the background going up the hill, or is it something else.

Posted on 21 Mar 2012, 16:43:34 GMT
ARC says:
vlarity of picture is due primarily to camera/photographic system used - technirama.
using 35mm film but with a double-frame size negative passing thgrough the camera horizontally.using a special anamorphic lens attaxhment. the website widescreenmuseum has a whole section on the process.zulu was the last or one of the last films using the process.
high-def, superb, i just hope we can see hd-video reach a similar standard, 4k maybe.
i think 'pin-point# stereo sound can trump surround-sound sometimes. capturing that out in the african filming locations can't have been easy!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jul 2012, 22:06:43 BST
probally the same car that was seen in the back ground of Shane or maybe, some of Back To future deleted scenes

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2015, 21:46:46 GMT
AJ says:
That was me going to the pub oooppps,,,
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Review Details



D. I. Shipley

Location: KENT United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 120,963