Andersonville (1996) (NTSC)

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Released 8-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Audio Commentary-Director
Audio Commentary-Writer and Crew
Additional Footage
Listing-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 167:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,3,4 Directed By John Frankenheimer
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jarrod Emick
Frederic Forrest
Ted Marcoux
Carmen Argenziano
Jace Bartok
Frederick Coffin
Cliff De Young
Denis Forest
Justin Henry
Tony Higgins
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Gary Chang


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When a company of Union soldiers are captured by the Confederates during the American Civil War, they are transported to the Andersonville internment camp for POWs in the South. However, unbeknownst to them, because of a philosophical disagreement between commanding officers, there has been no arrangement made for prisoner exchange. As a result, the men are kept in internment for years, subjected to starvation, random execution and torture. Making matters worse, a group within the camp have banded together to scavenge off the weak and the new arrivals, murdering soldiers from their own army for supplies and generally wreaking havoc.

    Andersonville is a rather depressing tale, all things considered. It is also a little overlong and somewhat predictable. It does have its good moments, particularly the trial of the ringleaders running the band of raiders inside the camp, an interesting chapter in the evolution of humanitarian law and military law. However, overall it is just a little too long, dragging out moments that could have been dealt with much better had they been a little more concise.

    This is not a bad film. It is quite watchable, even if it does betray its TV-budget origins a little too obviously at times. However, I was expecting a little more from director John Frankenheimer. He gets some good performances out of the cast, but overall this film does not stand with the ranks of other great Civil War movies. It lacks the grace and cinematic beauty of Ride With The Devil and the power of the epic Glory. It could have done with some judicious editing and without some of the hackneyed TV clichés. Still worth a viewing if you are interested, but there are better Civil War movies out there and I would recommend spending your time with them before embarking upon this epic.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is pretty close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The quality of the picture is overall reasonably sharp, but suffers from persistent background low-level noise and graininess in shots with minimal lighting. There is one appallingly grainy scene at 158:14158:34.

    Colours are fairly well balanced and while not overly saturated, the image is not washed out.

    The picture is reasonably prone to aliasing, which tends to be a problem with NTSC. Instances of this can be found in just about every scene, but none are so exceptional as to deserve particular attention. After a while you just get used to it. There were no major MPEG faults.

    There is a bit of dirt flying about the print, but nothing untoward. Considering the film’s age and budget this is about what could be expected. I did notice a rather distracting blue line down the middle of the screen from 136:38137:11 which is by far the worst film artefact.

    The subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. They are white with black borders and are clear and easy to read at all times.

    The dual-layer pause is at 74:38 in the middle of a scene. There is a noticeable drop in audio which is a little jarring but it is not like the pause is in the middle of a line of dialogue.

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

Audio

    Audio is available is English 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 2.0 Dolby Surround. The French track seemed acceptable from what I heard of it.

    As for the English track, the dialogue is relatively clear with no overt audio sync problems.

    The surrounds get a reasonable workout when the rain comes pounding down or there are ambient night noises or the likes. Directional cues are pretty good, and this is certainly not a front-driven audio field by any stretch of the imagination. It is not an overwhelming surround presence either and so sits somewhere in between.

    The track has a decent range, and the score gets a good resounding mix here.

    I noticed some annoying audio inconsistencies, particularly with the rain, where the sound fields did not match up between various angles of the same scene  - this could be very jarring. The scene at 140:01141:48 also has some bad feedback as if the jack from the microphone was not properly connected and again the rain made the sound field uneven and distracting.

    There was some okay subwoofer use with the various rifle shots and the train at the start.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack.

Audio Commentary by John Frankenheimer (Director)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this commentary has lots of long pauses in it.

Audio Commentary by Assorted Crew

    Also presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a much livelier track with many commentators coming in sequentially and talking about the making of the movie and the real events of Andersonville.

Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary (1:30)

    Presented in 1.66:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is fairly washed out deleted scene. It involves a buggy containing four Southern women coming by the men when they have just been captured, and highlights the mistreatment of the prisoners at the hands of the Confederates.

Cast & Crew

    A single frame with some very basic details about the principal cast and crew.

DVD-ROM

    Insert this disc in your DVD-ROM drive and get taken to the official Warner Bros. website where you can explore more extras.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is absolutely identical to the R1 release.

Summary

    Andersonville is fairly depressing tale with some interesting moments. It’s major fault is that it is just too long for what it deals with and fails to hold your attention span for that entire time.

    The video is a reasonable NTSC transfer, but is far from exceptional.

    The sound is pretty good, but not overwhelming.

    The second audio commentary was pretty good, but otherwise the extras were pretty banal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Monday, October 27, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Jules F
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Roger L
impulsegamer.com - Andrew Biz
Web Wombat - James A

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