Sharpe's Gold (1995)

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Released 3-Apr-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 101:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Clegg
Studio
Distributor
Time Life Starring Sean Bean
Daragh O'Malley
Hugh Fraser
John Tams
Michael Mears
Jason Salkey
Lyndon Davies
Hugh Ross
Rosaleen Linehan
Jayne Ashbourne
Peter Eyre
Abel Folk
Philip McGough
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Dominic Muldowney
John Tams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.56:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Sharpe's Gold is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell in a series of novels. However, while the titles of Cornwell's books are used in the TV films, the plots and events are often quite different, so those expecting a film of the book may be left disappointed. Richard Sharpe joined the British army as a private and fought in Flanders and India. In a series of adventures, mostly during the wars against Napoleon, Sharpe rises from the ranks to become an officer in Wellington's army. All very fanciful, of course, but that does not stop the books, and the films, from being entertaining, escapist entertainment.

     Spain 1813. The French army under Marshall Soult is in retreat. Dogging their retreating convoys are deserters from the British army, Spanish partisans and Sharpe and his riflemen. Dogging Sharpe's tracks are the Provosts led by Lieutenant Ayres (Ian Shaw). Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser) has another problem; his cousin Lady Bess Nugent (Rosaleen Lineham) has come to Spain with her young daughter Ellie (Jayne Ashbourne) searching for her lost husband. When the Spanish partisans of El Casco (Abel Folk) offer to trade English deserters for Baker rifles, Sharpe and his company are sent on the mission accompanied by Ayres. Facing French cavalry and hearing rumours of Aztec gold and ancient Aztec rituals in the hills, Sharpe's problems are increased when his group is joined by Lady Nugent and Ellie. Sharpe and Ellie become lovers, but El Casco has his eyes on Ellie for an entirely different reason. Then Ellie is captured and, in a showdown where allies become enemies and enemies allies, Sharpe must risk everything in a race against time to save her.

     Sharpe's Gold is not the best of the Sharpe series. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he receives good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper and John Tams, Michael Mear, Jason Salkey and Lyndon Davies as his rifleman. While the film concentrates on them, and army life, it is grounded in the period and perfectly believable. Obvious efforts have been made to appear authentic; the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably accurate and realistic. However, Ellie is just too modern in attitude and aptitude to feel right while El Casco and the Aztec rites and hidden Aztec gold in the middle of Spain is plain silly and at odds with the period detail and authenticity of the rest of the film. However, the action is well handled, and with a good cast and authentic period detail Sharpe's Gold is an entertaining 101 minutes.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Sharpe's Gold is a made for TV movie in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1 (14:9) and is not 16x9 enhanced. Throughout, this is a dull looking print with very muted colours and occasionally the contrast level comes across as too bright, affecting the skin tones. On other occasions, however, the skin tones are good. Clarity and sharpness are not great but blacks are solid and the shadow detail adequate. There is grain, regular edge enhancement, some colour bleeding and occasional dirt marks. Much of the film was shot outdoors on location in the Ukraine with some spectacular rocky countryside which certainly stops this film looking or feeling like a TV show, while the issues noted above are not so distracting as to spoil the enjoyment of the film.

There are no subtitle options.

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

Audio

    The only audio option is English Dolby Digital 2.0. This is a reasonable track; it is stereo encoded so that the surrounds are utilised for music and sound effects including gunfire. Dialogue is clear and there are no lip synchronisation problems. The subwoofer is not used.

The music includes an electronic score by Dominic Muldowney plus some period songs sung by John Tams (Rifleman Hagman). This works nicely and provides good support for the film.

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

Extras

None

R4 vs R1

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

    There is various releases of Sharpe's adventures in Region 1 and 2 including a full box set and various dual episode DVDs. All seem to have similar video and audio; some include minor extras but nothing that would lead one to go beyond Region 4.

Summary

    Sharpe's Gold is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell in a series of novels. It is not the best of the series. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he gets good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper but the plot strays a long way from the reality of the war against Napoleon in Spain, and a long way from the book as well. It is presented on a DVD with acceptable video and reasonable audio, but no extras. Sharpe's Gold is included in a two disc box with Sharpe's Gold and Sharpe's Battle on one disc, Sharpe's Sword on the other.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, December 28, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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