Overall | Sharpe's Gold (1995) | Sharpe's Battle (1995) | Sharpe's Sword (1995)

Sharpe's Gold/Sharpe's Battle/Sharpe's Sword (1995)

Sharpe's Gold/Sharpe's Battle/Sharpe's Sword (1995)

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Released 3-Apr-2007

Cover Art

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Overall Package

    This box set contains three of a series of made for TV films based upon the characters created by Bernard Cornwell. The three films in this box set are quite different in tone but all share good casts, with Sean Bean as Sharpe Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper, and impressive attention to detail with the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill reasonably accurate and realistic to the period. The action is well handled and all the films are entertaining, escapist entertainment. They have have passable video, acceptable audio and no extras. This is a two disc set. Sharpe's Gold and Sharpe's Battle are 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)
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Sharpe's Gold (1995) | Sharpe's Battle (1995) | Sharpe's Sword (1995)

Sharpe's Gold (1995)

Sharpe's Gold (1995)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Apr-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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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

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

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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Sharpe's Gold (1995) | Sharpe's Battle (1995) | Sharpe's Sword (1995)

Sharpe's Battle (1995)

Sharpe's Battle (1995)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Apr-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 101:34
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
Jason Salkey
Lyndon Davies
Jason Durr
Allie Byrne
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

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

Plot Synopsis

    Sharpe's Battle 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. Sharpe's Battle, however, is a film that uses more of the book's plot than many. 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 a high level officer in Wellington's army. All very fanciful, of course, but that does not stop the books, or the films, from being entertaining, escapist entertainment.

     Spain 1813. The English army of Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser) has the French forces in retreat. While searching for some missing supply wagons, Sharpe's company stumble upon a Spanish village where the women and children have been massacred by the grey uniformed French Wolf Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Guy Loup (Oliver Cotton). Sharpe's men capture two French soldiers in the act of raping a Spanish girl. Sickened by the slaughter in the village, Sharpe orders them executed, rejecting the protests of Loup who has come under a flag of truce to get them back. As a result, Loup vows to kill Sharpe.

     Back at the main army of Lord Wellington, a company of the Spanish King's Ceremonial Irish Guards commanded by Lord Kiely (Jason Durr) arrives. Because of diplomatic niceties, Wellington is unable to turn them away so he appoints Sharpe to annoy Kiely and to drill the Irishmen so hard they will desert. Along the way, Sharpe must find ways of dealing with traitors, the gluttonous Colonel Runciman (Ian McNeice), the dashing Juanita (Siri Neal) who has her own agenda and the scorned Lady Kiely (Allie Byrne). But Sharpe acquires a grudging admiration for these exiled Irish troops and, indeed, he must whip them into fighting shape as they may well be the only ones who can save him from the murderous attentions of General Guy Loup and his gray wolves.

     Sharpe's Battle is a good addition to the Sharpe series taking a number of incidents and even dialogue straight from the book. Of course, much of the intricate political aspects of the book are gone, some characters are added, some missing and others changed substantially. But, taken on its own merits, Sharpe's Battle is a tight, exciting, action packed film that is never dull. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he receives good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper, Ian McNeice as Colonel Runciman and John Tams, Michael Mear, Jason Salkey and Lyndon Davies as his rifleman. Obvious efforts have been made to appear authentic; the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably accurate and realistic. The action is well handled and with a good cast and authentic period detail Sharpe's Battle is an entertaining 101 minutes.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Sharpe's Battle 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 however 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 but mostly for music. 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 Battle 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 an excellent example of the Sharpe series taking a number of incidents and even dialogue straight from the book. As usual, Sean Bean is excellent as Sharpe and he gets good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper. 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)
Tuesday, December 29, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Sharpe's Gold (1995) | Sharpe's Battle (1995) | Sharpe's Sword (1995)

Sharpe's Sword (1995)

Sharpe's Sword (1995)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Apr-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 101:21
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
John Tams
Jason Salkey
Emily Mortimer
Patrick Fierry
James Purefoy
Stephen Moore
Hugh Ross
Michael Cochrane
John Kavanagh
Vernon Dobtcheff
Diana Perez
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

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

Plot Synopsis

    Sharpe's Sword is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell. I don't remember reading this Cornwell book so I cannot say how much of the book's plot has been included in the film; my feeling is not a lot. Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) joined the British army as a private and fought in Flanders and India. In a range of adventures, mostly during the wars against Napoleon, Sharpe rises from the ranks to become an officer in Wellington's army.

     Spain 1813. The English army of Lord Wellington has chased the French forces back to the border of France. They are assisted by Wellington's master spy, El Mirador, who supplies the English forces with accurate, up to date intelligence of the French dispositions. Colonel Philip Laroux (Patrick Fierry) of the Imperial Guard is sent by Napoleon to eliminate the spy. Sharpe and the South Essex Regiment are ordered to protect El Mirador even through they don't know his identity. Accompanying the South Essex is a traumatized young girl known only as Lass (Emily Mortimer) Sharpe had rescued and the one armed Lord Spears (James Purefoy).

     When a night attack on a French fort goes horribly wrong Sharpe looses his sword in combat with Laroux and is badly wounded and left for dead. Brought to the hospital of Father Curtis (John Kavanagh) he is not expected to live. But he is watched over by Lass while Sergeant Harper (Daragh O'Malley) makes his own private pact of atonement with Father Curtis and starts to forge a new sword for Sharpe. As events move towards a climax, Sharpe must recover from his wounds, expose the traitor in the English ranks, organise an attack on the French fort and kill Laroux before Laroux can get to El Mirador.

     Sharpe's Sword is quite a different addition to the Sharpe series. It is not primarily an action film, although there are two excellent battle sequences including an impressive set piece assault on the French fort where the tactics of the period are well shown. Instead, Sharpe's Sword is a more personal, intimate film in which a number of the other characters become more developed. For example, Rifleman Harris (Jason Salkey) has a central place in unmasking the traitor while James Purefoy, John Kavanagh and Emily Mortimer are all well rounded characters. Even Sharpe's enemy Laroux is less a music hall villain than Sharpe's opponents in other films of the series. But it is really Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper who is the standout. His forging of the sword for Sharpe is the central motif of the film while his domestic woes with Ramona (Diana Perez) create a number of amusing moments. Indeed, Sharpe's Sword is far more humorous than is usual and some of the humour is very funny indeed. And of course, Sean Bean remains excellent as Sharpe.

     Sharpe's Sword is one of the more intimate, personal films in the series and is perhaps more poignant because of this. We get to see and understand a range of hopes and dilemmas, not just those of the central character. As usual, the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably accurate and realistic and the action is well handled. With a good cast and authentic period detail Sharpe's Sword is a surprisingly moving, thoughtful and entertaining 101 minutes.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Sharpe's Sword is a made for TV movie and is in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1 (14:9). It is not 16x9 enhanced. Throughout, this is a dull looking print with very muted colours although the contrast level is frequently too bright, affecting the skin tones. Clarity and sharpness are not great, blacks are solid but the shadow detail is just adequate and in night scenes it is very difficult to see what is happening. There is also grain, edge enhancement and occasional dirt marks. There is also a blocking error at 52:25 that affects the bottom of the screen. Much of the film was shot outdoors on location in the Portugal which certainly stops this film looking or feeling like a TV show, and the issues noted above are not too distracting to spoil the enjoyment of the film.

There are no subtitle options although burnt subtitles translate some of the French dialogue.

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. It is a reasonable track and stereo encoded so that the surrounds are utilised frequently for music and sound effects including gunfire. Dialogue is clear and there are no lip synchronisation problems. My subwoofer did support some explosions.

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 Sword is one of the more intimate, personal films in the series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell. As usual, Sean Bean is believable as Sharpe and he gets good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper. Sharpe's Sword is presented on a DVD with adequate video and reasonable audio, but no extras. Sharpe's Sword 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)
Wednesday, December 30, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE