Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (Sophie Scholl: Die letzten Tage) (2005)

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Released 2-May-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Contemporary witness interviews
Deleted Scenes
Trailer-Theatrical trailer
Trailer-Trailers for other Madman releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 115:48 (Case: 117)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (110:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Marc Rothemund
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Julia Jentsch
Fabian Hinrichs
Gerald Alexander Held
Johanna Gastdorf
André Hennicke
Florian Stetter
Johannes Suhm
Maximilian Brückner
Jörg Hube
Petra Kelling
Franz Staber
Lilli Jung
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Munich, early 1943. After a late night preparing leaflets that protest the Nazi war effort and demand the withdrawal of German forces, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and a handful of friends from the White Rose resistance movement sneak home under the cover of night. Sophie and Hans have agreed to distribute the protest leaflets at the University the following day, whilst staff and students are in class and will not see the culprits. Unfortunately for the pair, they are spotted and swiftly taken to the nearby Gestapo headquarters for interrogation.

    Sophie is given a lengthy, but surprisingly passive interrogation. Only after she learns that her brother has broken down does she herself confess to her actions. Admitting her actions with pride earns a degree of respect with her interrogator, despite his strong opposition to her cause. It doesn't stop him having all of Sophie's companions arrested, however.

    One day following the interrogation, the "People's Court" hears charges of high treason, troop demoralisation and aiding the enemy laid against Sophie and Hans, as well as another friend, Christoph Probst. The term "hear" can only be used loosely, as the mockery of a trial sees an irate judge leading an irate attack on each of the accused whilst lawyers from both sides sit on silently and benches full of high-ranking military men and politicians look on. With barely a pause for breath, the leader of the puppet court reads a death sentence to each of the accused.

    Following the trial, the three are taken to holding cells and their sentence carried out within a space of hours.

    Sophie Scholl - The Last Days is a dramatised account of exactly what the title reads, the last days that White Rose resistance member Sophie Scholl spent on this Earth. It is quite a dry drama. The film follows Sophie Scholl closely throughout that time. There are no surprises, twists or distracting sub-plots. The story is laid bare in a simple, linear fashion. The film does not celebrate the actions of the White Rose nor demonise the Nazis, in fact it does a pretty good job of avoiding shoving any opinion down viewers' throats. The characters and their actions are occasionally a little two dimensional or simplified, but never are they manipulative. To these ends, it seems tailor-made for high school history classes.

    The film plods somewhat, rather than the story flowing smoothly, but the tale remains interesting throughout. Sophie Scholl - The Last Days is a very honest look at oppression in Germany during the Second World War.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, slightly short of its' original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video looks very true to the theatrical release. The image is fairly sharp and features a fine film-like level of grain throughout. Dark areas and shadows are quite clear and display a reasonable level of detail.

    The film uses a rather drab and slightly pale colour scheme to capture the feel of wartime Germany. This look is carried accurately to the DVD.

    There are no noticeable MPEG compression artefacts in the transfer. A handful of very small film artefacts appear throughout the transfer, but none are noticeable unless they are being particularly looked for.

    Forced English subtitles are present and cannot be turned off. The subtitles appear to be fairly accurate and are well timed throughout the feature.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs between scenes at 110:07 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    One German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kbps) audio track is present.

    The dialogue is clearly audible and well synchronised throughout.

    The music is a bit of a weak point in the film. It frequently sounds like a throwback to low-rent thrillers from the 1980s. Whilst this avoids influencing the audience too much, which notionally goes with the style of the movie, it sounds rather silly at times. The music manages to show up the limitations of the flat stereo soundtrack. There is not a lot of dynamic range and any time the music heightens, this fact is patently clear from the muddy score.

    No surround usage or subwoofer usage is apparent at any point of the film.

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

Extras

    This disc contains a rather lengthy package of extras that largely seem focussed at the educational market.

Deleted Scenes (50:43)

    More than 50 minutes of deleted scenes are presented. Most of them are little more than filler, poor attempts at character development that well and truly belonged on the cutting room floor, but there are some interesting alternate versions of the courtroom scenes from the film.

    The deleted scenes are presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, but are not 16x9 enhanced.

Interviews with Contemporary Witnesses Featurette (81:54)

    A lengthy series of interviews with witnesses of the incidents and life under the Nazi regime. This featurette also features a small clip of footage from the actual trial of Sophie and Hans Scholl. The video quality of this featurette is not great, but the interviews are relatively interesting.

Theatrical Trailer (2:03)

    A standard theatrical trailer. Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, but are not 16x9 enhanced.

Madman Trailers

    After an annoying anti-piracy trailer, there are trailers for Go For Zucker, The Miracle of Bern, Ten Canoes, Wings of Desire and Minor Mishaps

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 and Region 4 editions of Sophie Scholl - The Final Days are quite different. The Region 1 release was briefly available as a 2 disc affair, but has since been re-released as a dual-sided single disc. It features an hour-long Making Of Featurette and a leaflet insert featuring an interview with the director, none of which are found on the Region 4 edition. Both versions feature comparable deleted scenes packages, contemporary witness interviews and a theatrical trailer. Whilst the Region 4 package is good, the Region 1 package is better.

Summary

    A frank and honest look at the last days of Sophie Scholl, a woman executed in Germany for her involvement with the passive resistance movement The White Rose during the Second World War.

    The video quality is very good. The audio is not great but the subtitles are good (even if they can't be turned off).

    The extras package, which is mainly aimed at the educational market, is sizeable and generally decent in terms of quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, June 22, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using S-Video output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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