Battle Cry (1955)

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Released 8-Aug-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1955
Running Time 142:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Raoul Walsh
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Van Heflin
Aldo Ray
Mona Freeman
Nancy Olson
James Whitmore
Raymond Massey
Tab Hunter
Dorothy Malone
Anne Francis
William Campbell
John Lupton
L.Q. Jones
Perry Lopez
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Max Steiner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.55:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
French
Italian
Portuguese
Finnish
Hebrew
Icelandic
Swedish
Croatian
Czech
Greek
Hungarian
Polish
Turkish
Arabic
Romanian
Dutch
Slovenian
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, War is hell
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Based on Leon Uris' autobiographical novel of the same name, Battle Cry is a worshipful ode to the men of the Marines and the women they left behind. Action director Raoul Walsh tales a personal look at the lives of a group of recruits from their days as civvies, through boot camp and training and then into action on the island of Saipan.

    This is not a combat film as such in that more time is spent showing the different personalities of the men and their after-hours shenanigans and love affairs. The only major combat sequence takes place towards the end of the feature and uses quite a bit of stock footage. In fact, the film is directed almost like a stage play and suggests that Battle Cry was made on quite a small budget.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Battle Cry is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It does not appear to have lost anything in the transfer from the original aspect ratio of 2.55:1.

    The overall sharpness of the image is remarkably good except for some short transition sequences which are discussed below. The colour process used in those days does soften the picture a little and in the darker sequences the shadow detail is consequently a tiny bit on the muddy side compared to what you would expect from a modern film.

    Most war films made in this period were black and white - in fact, Battle Cry was one of the first colour WWII films ever made. I like these older colour processes and the pastel-hued tones that identify these early colour movies look great on this release. The skin tones are not entirely realistic but it is always better to restore an original rather than try and change it so it's difficult to fault the DVD in that respect.

    Any film of this vintage (1953) is bound to have a few visual glitches, however it is obvious that quite a bit of effort has gone into cleaning up the print as the glitches are all quite minor. Of course there are some film artefacts which pop up occasionally and very briefly, such as the tiny bright spots at 11:46 and 41:49. The most obvious visual anomalies are the brief changes in the character of the image just after some of the scene transitions, such as at 6:34, and one longish sequence at 42:57 to 43:08. These seem to be due to the differing nature of the original material and may be a sign of portions edited out to make way for TV commercials which have subsequently been dropped back in again.

    This release offers a vast array of subtitle choices - twenty one languages in all.

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

Audio

    Battle Cry's soundtrack has been remastered into a 5.1 surround format from a mono original. As you would imagine, doing such a thing is no easy task and the results are acceptable but hardly comparable with modern 5.1 audio.

    There is only one language track, English of course, on offer here and the dialogue comes through clearly and well balanced against the other channels. Audio sync is perfect throughout.

    There isn't a great deal of music throughout the picture apart from the odd stab of stirring martial marching band type stuff which sounds a bit thin but acceptable.

    Rear speaker action is sadly lacking, however understandable given the mono nature of the original material. Some of the music, when it appears, is directed to the rear channels, as is some of the gunfire during the brief battle sequences. Your subwoofer will see even less action than your rears with the only noticeable woofing occurring during a naval bombardment sequence beginning at 123:40.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    This is the original film trailer for Battle Cry restored to the same quality as the main feature.

R4 vs R1

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

    All versions of this release are the same, R1 through to R4.

Summary

    Battle Cry is an interesting film for fans of Leon Uris or Raoul Walsh, however action fans and WWII film buffs will probably be disappointed at the scarcity of battle sequences and the focus on the characters' activities between battles rather than during them. The DVD looks great, however the original mono soundtrack has made it difficult to give it a really good surround treatment.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© George Soropos (read my bio or the puppy dies)
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplayLOEWE Planus 4670 70cm 16:9. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMarantz SR7200. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationLuxman LV600 valve hybrid stereo amp for front stereo pair and Marantz SR 7200 for centre and surround channels
SpeakersAltec Lansing Model 15's front stereo, matched Krix Centrix front and rear, Krix matched rear surrounds, Sony rear subwoofer (Altec's provide sub for front)

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