"Patton" and "The Sand Pebbles" blu ray reviews - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 4 Old 08-25-08, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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Richard W. Haines
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Location: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
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"Patton" and "The Sand Pebbles" blu ray reviews

I finally got a Samsung blu ray player and my first two discs in the format.
Blu ray looks identical to HD DVD so when the photography is good along
with the transfer, you could swear you were watching a film print if you
project them on a DLP.

I already reviewed the 4K restoration of "The Sand Pebbles" in two posts.
Since I screened a new 35mm print outputted from the digital master, I
can say the blu ray replicates it and looks sensational. Razor sharp with
excellent color and contrast. Rather than repeat the rest of the information,
you can refer to the earlier posts for details.

"Patton" looked even better because it was derived from a restored 65mm
Interpositive. It was photographed in "Dimension 150" along with one other
title in the sixties ("The Bible"). It was a very impressive format that was
similar to the original Todd-AO. A series of lenses were created for 70mm
that had an expanded field of view that similated your peripheral vision
like the bug-eyed lens in Todd's system. For close ups, more conventional
units were used. "Patton" was shot on location in Spain utilizing Franco's
'rent an army' that other producers had borrowed including Samuel Bronston
("El Cid"). Spain was an ideal location since parts of it could simulate Africa,
France and Germany. The Leone Westerns were shot there too.

In the Dimension 150 lenses, you feel as if you are on location. Infinite
depth of field so you can see miles into the distance. They attached the
huge camera to the backs of tanks and jeeps in some sequences so you feel
like you're in the middle of a battefield. The blu ray replicates the 70mm
Roadshow prints of the era nicely. As always the finer detail
shows up the flaws like the obvious make up and wig Scott is wearing.
The 5.1 sound mix is good although the explosions don't have the deep
bass sub-woofer kick of contemporary movies. Jerry Goldsmith's score
is spread out on all channels and the surround sound echoed trumpets
are haunting.

The movie is one of the great war epics of all time. George C. Scott gives a
sensational performance in his definitive role. Unfortunately, he never got another
character this interesting and it hurt his career to refuse the Oscar. Karl Malden
is equally fine. The real General Bradley was the technical advisor on the shoot.
As detailed in the suppliments, Francis Ford Coppola wrote the superb screenplay
and was going to direct but they replaced him with Franklin Schaefner ("Planet
of the Apes"). Schaefner does an effective job with the clever script which appealed
to both hawks and doves. This came out at the height of the Vietnam war which was
polarizing the nation. Neither Democrats or Republicans handled it well nor did they
devise a viable exit strategy so the conflict dragged on until 1975 and we ultimately
lost which was ironic since in the opening speech Patton says that America would
never lose a war. He didn't anticipate the difficulties of nation building in the third
world since World War II was fought against modern, industrialized countries.

Coppola's clever script plays it both ways depicting Patton as a military genius but
also as a madman who believed in reincarnation and had a volatile temper which
almost lost him his command. Some of the best scenes are the quieter ones when
the General stops in the middle of nowhere and recalls fighting on that location
in another century in another persona.

The battle scenes certainly show off the big budget with lots of extras shooting
at each other as tanks run them over. In the distance Patton smiles and enjoys
the chess game using human beings as cannon fodder. There's no question he
helped win the war but I sure wouldn't want to be under his leadership back then
since the casualty rate was high. The intercutting with the Nazi generals works quite nicely and serves as a counterpoint to the action. I also liked the Fox newsreels for
transitions and to bring the audience up to date on the campaign. The prologue
is one of the greatest ones in cinema history where Patton gives his idea of a
pep talk to the troops sprinkled with profanity and grotesque imagery of using
the enemies guts to grease the treads of tanks.

I highly recommend both blu ray discs which show how great older movies can
look in the format. Better than most current films because the cinematography
was superior back then. I really enjoy live action photography of tanks, ships
and explosions rather than the CGE used today. To illustrate how sharp and
three dimensional the imagery of "Patton" is in high definition, when I screened
it for my entire family my mother thought I had installed curtains on the side
of the screen at first glance, not realizing that they were on the image itself
framing the huge American flag in the prologue.

In summary for both films: Picture quality A, sound design A, cinematography A,
performances, music score, story and screenplay A.

Last edited by Richard W. Haines; 11-26-08 at 08:00 AM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-25-08, 07:10 AM
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Re: "Patton" and "The Sand Pebbles" blu ray reviews

Thanks for that Richard.

I am definitely going to check out Patton on Blu-ray. Like you, I am also ex-military and was in the second armor division. I just did a little checking on the web to see if what they 'said' was true but Patton was really in charge of 2A.D. at one time.

I also read that division was deactivated in 1995. I once read that my old cavalry unit was deactivated about that time and I think that explains it. I can't believe they can deactivate such an historic division in the US Army. It's just a sign that I am getting older

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post #3 of 4 Old 08-25-08, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: "Patton" and "The Sand Pebbles" blu ray reviews


You're welcome. However, I'm not ex-military. In any event, you'll thoroughly enjoy this blu ray presentation. The trouble is, we'll all be very disappointed if other vintage titles aren't given the same deluxe treatment (and I don't mean De Luxe

Samsung BD P1400

I'll also add my quickie review of my new blu ray player. I purchased the Samsung
BD P1400 on Amazon for about $300 which makes it one of the cheapest players that
has the 5.1 analog outputs for my set up. As I've mentioned elsewhere I also have
the top of the line Toshiba HD XA2 HD DVD machine too. The image quality is identical
in both machines when projected on the Optoma HD70 DLP. The Samsung has a slower loading time but I can live with that. The only real flaw in the unit is that it cannot be put on 'still' for longer than five minutes. If it does, it will go back to the beginning of the menu and you'll have to zoom forward to find your spot. Not a major problem for
convensional two hour features but when you have a title with an intermission like
"Patton", you'll have to keep track of the time when the audience takes a bathroom
or food break. In my family's case, it was over five minutes when everyone returned
to the home theater room and the disc had defaulted back to the beginning. For
future screenings of Roadshow films, I'll have to push play about four minutes into
the intermission then pause again to avoid this from happening. Otherwise, the
machine is a good lower end model for those on a tight budget who want to watch
high definition DVDs. I would say it navigates a bit quicker than the Toshiba once
the disc has been loaded. However, Toshiba upscales better than the Samsung
so I'll use it for standard DVDs.

Last edited by Richard W. Haines; 08-25-08 at 06:43 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-25-08, 07:50 AM
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Re: "Patton" and "The Sand Pebbles" blu ray reviews

Richard W. Haines wrote: View Post

You're quite welcome. However, I'm not ex-military.
ooops... that was wbasset... my mistake.

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