Black Robe (Icon) (1991)

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Released 2-Dec-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 100:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bruce Beresford
Icon Entertainment Starring Lothaire Bluteau
Aden Young
August Schellenberg
Sandrine Holt
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Georges Delerue

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    You may or may not be aware that the Dendy films back catalogue has moved distributor in Australia from Magna Pacific to Icon. As part of this move many films are being re-released on DVD by Icon. Some of these titles are being released on Blu-ray for the first time. Some of the standard definition releases are exactly the same as their Magna Pacific forebears and others have some changes. In this case, Black Robe, the film was originally released by Magna Pacific in 2002 and reviewed by us here . This new edition seems to be exactly the same as the previous release and owners of that disc need read no further as there is certainly no reason to re-purchase.

    The previous review by Brandon Vogt gives a good rundown of the film's plot which does not need to be repeated here. Black Robe is certainly a very worthwhile film with beautiful scenery, a haunting score and an emotion charged atmosphere which really makes you feel the savagery and beauty of the Canadian locations. I can't say that this film will ever be a favourite of mine but I am certainly pleased to have seen it after having it on my list for many years.

    All in all, this re-release is only occurring due to a change in distributor and does not offer anything more than the previous edition, which is a shame because this film could have used a restoration and some extras.


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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is decent but certainly nothing special. I think the difference in my views on this transfer and Brandon's are due to the 7 year difference between our reviews. Transfers have come a long way in that time and this one has been stuck in a time warp.

    The feature is presented in an approximately 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is close to the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp but somewhat variable with some scenes being quite soft and others sharper. Shadow detail was average probably due to on location shooting. There was some light grain at times.

    The colour was quite dull driven partially by the film's colour scheme but the included trailer has more vibrant colour than the feature so there is more to it than just the colour scheme.

    There were some mild MPEG artefacts but nothing too obvious, some white spots here and there and some obvious edge enhancement such as at 32:30.

    There are subtitles In English for all dialogue or another stream which only translates the significant amounts of Indian language dialogue.

    There is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) soundtrack. It is very front and centre focused.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand although some accents proved a challenge.

    The music by Georges Delarue is wonderfully atmospheric and dramatic.

    The surround speakers were not used and the subwoofer was used for music and drumbeats.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu includes music and motion but functionally only allows for scene selection.


    Cropped 4x3 trailer which has better colour than the main transfer.

R4 vs R1

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

    Nothing seems to have changed in this department globally, so this local release is pretty much the same as the Region 1 version. Draw.


    A beautifully shot and somewhat harrowing tale of Jesuits in the Canadian wilderness in 1634.

    The video quality is decent.

    The audio is good.

    Only a trailer in the extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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