[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9015[/img]Title: Chariots of Fire
Starring: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Nicholas Farrell, Cheryl Campbell, Ian Holm, Alice Krige, Peter Egan, Patrick Magee, Brad Davis
Directed by: Hugh Hudson
Written by: Colin Welland
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 124 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 10, 2012
HTS Overall Score:89
Based on a true story of two athletes from England, Harold Abrahams (Cross) and Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), who are pitted against each other to compete as Englishmen against one another at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Abrahams is a Jewish Englishman who is faced with overcoming class prejudice as well as anti-Semitism to prove himself as he attends school at Cambridge University. Abrahams begins to make a name for himself with his ability to run as he victoriously defeats opponents in competition after competition. Eric Liddell, a Scottish man, was born in China to Scottish missionaries and grew up with the expectation that he was going to do the same thing as his parents. As he begins to pursue his desire for competitive running, the disapproval from his sister weighs on him greatly.
As the two meet head-to-head for the first time, Abrahams suffers a surprising upset as Liddell beats him, and breaking his undefeated streak. Livid, Abrahams seeks the help of a coach, Sam Mussahini (Holm), who stated he could improve Abraham's technique. The two train and condition for the next 5 years in order to go to the 1924 Olympics, but with their individual life struggles that make their pursuit that much more difficult. Both of them are anticipating the 1924 summer games, where they will meet and race against each other once again.
I'd not seen 'Chariots of Fire' in quite a while so I did not remember much about the film. After viewing it again, I am more appreciative of the pomp that supported this film during and trailing the initial theatrical release. This film was thoroughly engaging and it certainly does merit the praise that this film got in past years.
Rated PG for Thematic Material
For a film that is nearly 30 years old, Warner Brothers was able to produce amazing results with 'Chariots of Fire'. This is one of the best restorations for catalog titles that I've seen and given the quality of the film, I'd expect no less. Resolution and detail are stark and colors are vivid, yet very natural. Overall contrast plays very well at emphasizing the detail in the image. Black levels are rich and even in the darker sequences resolve the image very well and produce a lot of dimensionality to the picture. There is a noticeable amount of film grain that is present throughout the film. The grain is never distracting and what's more - it certainly is a relief to know that over-usage of image softening wasn't used to clear up the grain to produce a "smooth"-looking transfer. I would like to see studios take the time to reproduce classics and catalogue titles like this more often.
The lossless audio track for 'Chariots of Fire' is done well, however I think given catalogue titles audio sources, the results aren't as apparent as with the video transfer. Still, there is plenty to like about the audio portion that will satisfy fans of the movie. Dialog comes off as natural and clear and while the film is mostly in the front stage, there is still some activity in the surround. Surrounds are used mostly for ambiance and atmosphere, but are present. Subwoofer activity is present, but is mainly only used to support the soundtrack.
• Audio Commentary with the Director
• 'Chariots of Fire: A Reunion' - Featurette
• 'Paris, 1924: Birth of Modern Games' - Documentary
• 'David Putnam: A Cinematic Champion' - Featurette
• Screen Tests for various actors
• 'Sprint around the Quad' - Featurette
• 'Famous Opening Shot' - Featurette
• 'Wings on their Heels: The Making of 'Chariots of Fire'' - Featurette
• 8 Deleted Scenes
The last two catalog titles that I have reviewed from Warner Brothers both have been phenomenally done, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and now 'Chariots of Fire'. It's wonderful to see the time and effort of studios to give their classics a proper restoration for the blu-ray format. I hope that this is a trend that continues not only with Warner Brothers, but also other studios as well. 'Chariots of Fire' is a great film that should be seen by all and easily gets my recommendation.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended!
Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring