The Wipers Times (2013)

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Released 15-Oct-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Interviews-Cast & Crew
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 91:43 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andy De Emmony
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ben Chaplin
Steve Oram
Julian Rhind-Tutt
Ben Daniels
Michael Palin



Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     World War I has not been the subject of as many movies lately as World War II. This is very British take on World War I and tells a lesser known story of life in the trenches of France. It is based on a true story involving a company of soldiers who while searching for anything useful to salvage from a bombed village find a printing press and decide to launch a trench newspaper. It is a story of resilience in the face of adversity and the use of humour to lighten a dark situation rather than the usual war film about great bravery. It is interesting, entertaining and well-acted.

     As many will be aware a lot of World War I was fought in trenches in France and Belgium between the Allies and the Germans. The trenches were cold, wet, full of disease and little progress or movement was sometimes made for months on end. In this environment a company commander, Captain Roberts (Ben Chaplin) is leading his men through an abandoned and bombed village in search of anything they can use to reinforce their trench. As they are searching through a building, one of the men, Sergeant Harris (Steve Oram) finds an abandoned printing press and due to his background in the newspaper trade realises quickly that it is perfectly functional. In conjunction with his subaltern, Lt Pearson (Julian Rhind-Tutt), Roberts decides to start a trench newspaper with a view to keeping his men occupied, entertaining the troops and poking fun at the top brass. They decide to name the paper, The Wipers Times after the name that the English soldiers called Ypres as they could not pronounce it properly. There was also the obvious joke of how the paper might be used once it had been read. Obviously, their activities are greatly enjoyed by the troops but they soon come to the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Howfield (Ben Daniels) who takes great offense and takes the matter up with his superior, General Mitford (Michael Palin). General Mitford takes a very different view to Howfield, believing that it is good for morale and that humour is useful considering the situation. Accordingly, they are allowed to continue publishing their paper despites the risks. The film follows the company as they move around the battlefield and try to keep up with their publication at the same time.

     The film is well put together and written, using some interesting devices to bring the various jokes and stories used in the paper to life, either role playing usually by the two main characters or by what seems to be a dreamlike sequence involving the company putting on a show for the troops. The film is certainly amusing aided by the wonderful performances from Chaplin and Rhind-Tutt who are dryly amusing, sarcastic and yet still very human. It was shot in Northern Ireland and seems to have been mostly funded by the BBC despite getting some limited theatrical release and appearing at a few film festivals.

     Definitely worth seeing especially for those interested in military history or British humour. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This video transfer is decent without setting the world on fire. There is some mild grain throughout, heavier in some scenes, and some motion blur. The picture is reasonably sharp and shadow detail is decent although restricted by what is I presume a realistic lighting approach. The colour is seemingly meant to be quite reserved focused on khaki and the brown of the mud. It is 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

     There are no subtitles which is a shame.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     This is quite a good soundtrack for a DVD although the dialogue is somewhat difficult to make out at times. The music is from the period so is hardly going to fill the soundstage although the surround speakers come alive during bombing raids and gunfire. The subwoofer also gets some work to do during bombing raids. Technically, it is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in the original English.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A good selection of extras for a small film, although the interviews are EPK style.

Menu

     The menu features music.

Interview - Producer David Parfitt (1:46)

     He discusses developing the project plus choosing the director and cast

Interview - Director Andy De Emmony (5:25)

     Covers cast, characters, locations and release.

Interview - Writers Ian Hislop and Nick Newman (13:02)

     They discuss their careers together, the story, their writing, their on set involvement and shooting in Northern Island.

Interview - Ben Chaplin (5:23)

     Covers his character, the story, his attraction to the role and the shooting challenges.

Interview - Julian Rhind-Tutt (3:20)

     Covers his character, the story, his involvement and the writing.

Interview - Michael Palin (5:25)

     Covers the script, the story and his character.

Interview - Steve Oram (4:30)

     Covers the film, his character and how he got involved.

Interview - Production Designer Ashleigh Jeffers (4:36)

     Covers set and prop design and the characters

Deleted Scene (0:58)

     Fred going back after leave. Nothing exciting.

B-Roll (15:55)

     Combination of other camera angles, behind the scenes footage and bloopers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US edition seems to be exactly the same. Buy local.

Summary

    A funny film about a true story of World War I.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are plentiful.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, May 04, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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