Sharpe's Company (1994)
|Category||Action||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Tom Clegg|
Time Life Video & TV
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.59:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.59:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Sharpe series of novels and telemovies based around the adventures of a soldier during and after the Napoleonic wars was something I was blissfully unaware of until the latest film, Sharpe's Challenge appeared recently on the ABC. There has been 15 movies made in the series, all starring Sean Bean in the leading role of Richard Sharpe. The first fourteen were made in the period 1993 - 1997 and then there was a large gap until the latest one was made this year. They have all been directed by Tom Clegg and quite a few of the cast members (besides Bean) have made multiple appearances. The most notable of these is Daragh O'Malley who plays Sharpe's off-sider Patrick Harper, and has appeared in all the films.
Sharpe is a young Sergeant in the first film of the series who saves the life of General Sir Arthur Wellesley, thus earning himself a field commission as an officer. His mother was a whore and he was born in a brothel, so his upbringing certainly sets him apart from other officers of the time who were mostly from rich, privileged upbringings. He is smart, tough, uncompromising, resourceful, brave and very annoying to his superiors, especially if he has no respect for them. The series then follows his adventures through the various battles of the Napoleonic Wars in Spain & France and then on to other adventures such as in India in the latest film. This two disc set includes the third, fourth & fifth films, all made in 1994; Sharpe's Company, Sharpe's Enemy (sharing Disc 1) and Sharpe's Honour (on Disc 2). It would seem that Time Life plan to issue the whole series (excluding the latest one which has been issued locally by Roadshow). This is the second release so far from Time Life.
This third film of the series improves on the first two in terms of production values with bigger battle scenes involving more extras. This time Sharpe is facing two major issues. Firstly, he has continued his relationship with Spanish partisan, Teresa and she has borne him a daughter. His daughter is sick and mother and daughter wind up in Badajoz which is the next fortress that Wellington's army plan to attack. Secondly, Sharpe is demoted back to Lieutenant as new officers have arrived. His men are assigned to a Sergeant called Obediah Hakeswill (Pete Postlethwaite) who is a crazy and evil b******. Sharpe must overcome these problems, save his daughter and regain his rank. Overall, this film is on a par with the first two and still suffers from a lack of exposition, resulting in some characters not being properly introduced.
These films will provide enjoyable viewing for historical adventure/drama buffs such as fans of the Hornblower series.
Well worth a look.
The video quality is a little better than on the first two discs. It is watchable but that is the best you can say.
The feature is presented in a 1.59:1 aspect ratio, non 16x9 enhanced, which I would guess is the original aspect ratio or something close to it.
The picture was quite soft. There is light grain throughout, which is heavier is some scenes and occasionally borders on macro-blocking. There is also quite a bit of low level noise.
The colour was dull and lifeless. The colours seemed quite dark which may be related to the source material. There was also some colour bleeding.
Artefacts included a few lines and marks plus some edge enhancement.
There are no subtitles however there are burned in captions for when foreign languages are spoken.
There is no layer change.
The audio quality is fair but certainly nothing special.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was a bit difficult to make out at times and with the lack of subtitles this made following some scenes a little hard. Audio sync was fine.
The score of these films by Dominic Muldowney and John Tams is pretty good, featuring folk-style instrumentation and some vocal songs. Occasionally it strays into being slightly overbearing. The theme is quite memorable. From a sound quality perspective there is some distortion in the music from time to time.
The surround speakers and subwoofer are not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included music & motion.
These titles are available separately in Region 1, seemingly with the same ordinary video quality (based on reviews) . On the other hand, the Region 2 release includes subtitles, a production gallery & a fact file. Region 2 UK is the go.
The video quality is average.
The audio quality is fair.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-533K, using Component output|
|Display||InFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVC -A11SR|
|Speakers||Jamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)|