Cricket Archives, The-Australian Cricket Films: 1905-1961 (1991)
|Year Of Production||1991|
|Running Time||117:05 (Case: 120)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
With the 2005/06 Australian cricket season about to start and the national team regaining form lost after an ashes defeat with a convincing win over a lacklustre rest-of-the-world opposition, it is a good time to take a look at yet another of the myriad of cricket titles available on DVD.
The Cricket Archives - Australian Cricket Films is the latest cricket disc based around either a series of highlights or a retrospective look at memorable moments of the game, but this time from a period seldom seen, before 1960. It must also be pointed out that this is not a new programme, but was originally made back in 1991 and was probably available on VHS for some time.
Hosted by cricket historian Jack Egan, this two-hour programme is divided into four episodes, running for around 29 minutes each. These comprise footage from the very early period of 1905-1931, followed by episodes dedicated to the 1930s, the 40s and the 50s. Many notable and quite historic moments on the cricket field have been included here. These include rare images of captain Joe Darling's Australian team touring England in 1905 and the only footage in existence of the great Victor Trumper in action. As moving photography became more common, so too did the amount of cricket footage recorded. Also included here is the first ever footage of England touring Australia in 1925 and the West Indies first visit in 1931. Of particular interest here is the footage of elderly spectators and former players Jack Blackham and Charles Bannerman who were participants in the first ever test against England back in 1877.
As the episodes move through the 1930s and the 40s, the likes of Don Bradman, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall and the Australian Invincibles tour of England in 1948 all come to the fore. The 1950s brings a decline in Australian cricket, until the arrival of Richie Benaud, and the famous tied test at the 'Gabba in December 1960 rounds out the programme.
This is probably a disc for the cricket purists only since much of the material here is presented in that dry and dusty tone that seems to accompany anything to do with the traditional game.
With this transfer containing footage that dates from around 1905 through to 1960, the quality is obviously going to differ but it all suffers from being just plain old and obviously neglected at times. Some of it is scratched, some of it is muddy, some contains the biggest artefacts you have ever seen. It is all in black and white except for the more recent (circa 1991) interview material. The existence of much of this footage, especially from the early 1900s, is enough of a wonder in its own right and the quality of the material can be excused.
This material is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
Overall there are no traces of edge enhancement and while grain is present it is reasonably well controlled. There is low level noise scattered throughout but this is often lost amongst the many film artefacts.
Colour for the new interview footage is average and does look 15 years old at times. The rest of the footage is black and white.
I spotted one major compression problem. At 17:11-17:12 during episode one there is a dramatic dose of MPEG blocking that breaks up the entire screen. Other than this glitch, the archival material obviously suffers from pretty much every film artefact in existence, including scratches of varying lengths, blobs, blotches, and dirt. Nonetheless, it is still fascinating to watch.
There are no subtitles present.
This is a single layered disc only, so there is no layer change to navigate as a result.
A fairly basic audio selection graces this disc. We get an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack as the only option.
Dialogue is pretty much all this is about, with narration from Jack Egan backed by interview grabs from the likes of Sir Donald Bradman, Bill Brown and Sir Garfield Sobers. This is handled well with no obvious problems, other than it not sounding quite as solid as something more modern. There are also no audio sync issues.
There is a little background music that is best described as quaint and it is rarely dominates the on screen action.
There is no surround or subwoofer use at all.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras on this disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc is not available in Region 1.
The Cricket Archives - Australian Cricket Films is probably a disc for the cricket fanatics only - those fanatical followers who want to have every piece of cricket footage in their library is the target market. The disc contains rare and seldom-seen footage that, while fascinating, does get a little repetitive after a while and is presented in that dry and dusty style that seems to suit cricket so well.
The quality of the video is as expected with most of the footage dating from before 1960. The material suffers from all the usual problems associated with images of this age.
The audio is nothing spectacular but handles the job required with ease.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|