Where Eagles Dare (1968)

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Released 12-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of-On Location: Where Eagles Dare
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 148:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (77:37) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Brian G. Hutton
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Richard Burton
Clint Eastwood
Mary Ure
Patrick Wymark
Michael Hordern
Donald Houston
Peter Barkworth
William Squire
Robert Beatty
Brook Williams
Neil McCarthy
Vincent Ball
Anton Diffring
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Ron Goodwin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
German
Spanish
Arabic
Romanian
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Where Eagles Dare is based on the novel of the same name by Alistair Maclean. Major Smith (Richard Burton) is sent on a mission into Germany during World War II to rescue an American general whose plane has crash landed, and who is being held by the Germans in an impregnable castle in the Alps. Among the team led by Smith are an American lieutenant (Clint Eastwood), several MI6 operatives and, unbeknownst to the others, the beautiful blonde spy Mary (Mary Ure).

    The only way to get into the castle is via a cable car. Dressed as German soldiers, they... well, I had better leave it at that, otherwise I will give the game away.

    This is a long but satisfying film, with edge-of-the-seat suspense that never lets up. It is action all the way, which is probably just as well, because if you stop to think about what is happening, it gets a bit less than believable.

    Some of the action sequences look a little ropey, but generally this is an impressive film of the type they don't make any more, unfortunately.

    The direction by Brian G. Hutton is pretty good. I suspect a lot of the stunt sequences were shot by second-unit director Yakima Canutt, something of a Hollywood legend since the silent era. The performances are all intense and convincing. This film has a splendid cast, including Anton Diffring, Ferdy Mayne and Derren Nesbitt as the Germans, plus Michael Hordern, Patrick Wymark and Ingrid Pitt on the other side. The pilot is played by Australian actor Vincent Ball, who should be a familiar face to many.

    This is one of the best of the war "caper" films of the 1960s, and it is good to see it on DVD at last.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer afforded to this film is very good.

    The video is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is quite a sharp and vivid transfer. Film grain is present throughout, but never to annoying levels. Shadow detail is not perfect, with some of the darker uniforms showing little detail for example. However, as the film is shot entirely during the daytime, even the night scenes, this is not an issue. There are some spectacular landscapes and scenery which are impressively shot. Even the process shots have been well integrated into the film.

    The colour is well transferred, with the video looking like 1960s film stock should.

    There is little of the way of problems with film to video artefacts. There is some very mild edge enhancement, and there was only one instance of aliasing noticed, at 123:30 on the cable car control wheel. There were also a few instances of posterisation.

    Film artefacts were evident in the form of tiny white spots early in the film. Later there were larger spots, but the frequency of these was low. There were also a couple of instances of scratches, but again these were minor irritations.

    Subtitles are provided in several languages. Both the English and English For The Hearing Impaired subtitles are well done and include virtually all of the dialogue, based on the sample I viewed.

    The film is presented on an RSDL-formatted disc, with the layer break occurring at 77:37. This layer break is not especially well placed but it is not very disruptive either.

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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks in English, French and Italian. The default track is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, the rest being Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes. Given that the film was released in 70mm with a 6 track stereo soundtrack, this mix is not totally inauthentic, but I would have liked the mono soundtrack that the 35mm release had as an alternative.

    The audio mix is quite good. Dialogue is generally clear and distinct. The sound image across the front speakers is fairly impressive although the sound is boxy from time to time. The rear channels have a low level mix of ambient sounds, but do not really contribute much. The subwoofer is used a lot, to reinforce explosions and gunfire as well as to emphasise the louder parts of the music score.

    There are some audio sync issues, but these appear to be in the source material. In some of the outdoor scenes, for example where Burton and Eastwood are reconnoitring the castle, the lip sync is not quite right. Given the absence of any background noise, I think this has been looped afterwards.

    The score is by Ron Goodwin and is a good one, though not the sort of thing you will remember much of. It suits the material, being martial in style.

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

Extras

Featurette: Where Eagles Dare: On Location (12:06)

    This is an original featurette from 1968, featuring some behind the scenes footage as well as interviews with Eastwood, Burton, Ingrid Pitt, Mary Ure and some of the crew, most of which are voice only. Look quickly for a glimpse of Elizabeth Taylor. This is quite good although the voice-over narration is very hackneyed. This extra is presented in 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced, and the video quality is not as good as the feature, with plenty of film artefacts.

Theatrical Trailer (2:16)

    This original trailer is presented in 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It is in reasonable condition apart from numerous film artefacts. A very good trailer, I can imagine that this made a lot of people anxious to see the film in 1968.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    Compared to the Region 1 release, the Region 4 misses out on:

    The Region 1 misses out on:

    Unless your first language is Italian, or you really need the Eastwood filmography, I would say that these extras are neither here nor there and call this a draw.

Summary

    An excellent suspenser, this should be in every action fan's collection. Highly recommended.

    The video transfer is above average.

    The audio transfer is above average.

    The extras are not extensive, but are quite enjoyable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Sunday, March 07, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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