Eagle Has Landed, The (Blu-ray) (1976)

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Released 8-Dec-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 135:24 (Case: 118)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Sturges
Studio
Distributor
Associated General F
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Michael Caine
Donald Sutherland
Robert Duvall
Jenny Agutter
Donald Pleasence
Anthony Quayle
Jean Marsh
Sven-Bertil Taube
John Standing
Judy Geeson
Treat Williams
Larry Hagman
Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI $14.95 Music Lalo Schifrin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, Frequently
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† Based upon the Jack Higgins novel of the same name, The Eagle Has Landed involves a Nazi plan to parachute an elite German group into eastern England to kidnap or assassinate Winston Churchill. That they failed is no surprise to anyone who knows World War II history; but the fun of the film is the detailed plotting of the raid by Colonel Max Radl (Robert Duval) and itís execution by Colonel Steiner (Michael Caine) and IRA operative Liam Devlin (Donald Sutherland).

†††† While returning from the Russian front, Colonel Kurt Steiner and his group of elite, highly decorated German soldiers interfere with the transport of Jews by the SS. They are arrested, court marshalled and sent to a punishment battalion on the island of Alderney to attack channel shipping with little chance of survival. In Berlin, following the audacious rescue of Mussolini by German Special Forces, Colonel Max Radl (Robert Duval) is ordered by Himmler (Donald Pleasence) to prepare a plan to capture Winston Churchill during a visit to eastern England. Radl selects Steiner's depleted group for the mission. They are parachuted into Norfolk pretending to be Polish soldiers on exercise and, assisted by IRA operative Liam Devlin and German agent Jean Marsh (Joanne Grey), they prepare an ambush for Churchill. But the complications of a love interest for Devlin, the presence nearly of American Rangers and an act bravery by a German soldier mean that all does not go according to plan. With his men under attack, Steiner must risk everything for a chance to get close to his prey and to fulfil his mission.

†††† The Eagle Has Landed is an old fashioned boy's own adventure. The majority of the cast are excellent, especially Michael Caine, Robert Duval and Donald Sutherland, and they receive good support from Donald Pleasence as Himmler and John Standing as the vicar of the local church. In contrast, Jenny Agutter as the young girl who falls for Liam Devlin is not believable, Larry Hagman as the brash and stupid American commanding officer is very much a caricature and Treat Williams as the more astute American officer is too bland to be convincing. However, the design of the village set is excellent, the World War II machinery looks authentic enough to be convincing, the action sequences are well handled and the conclusion is definitely worth waiting for. While The Eagle Has Landed is not one of John Sturgesí best films it is still great entertainment and a ripping good yarn.

†††† The Eagle Has Landed has suffered from poor previous releases in Regions 1, 2 and 4 (for example, the Region 4 DVD was a bare bones pan & scan release). The Eagle Has Landed was originally classified with a running time of 135 minutes which was cut to 123 minutes (NTSC) for its US theatrical release. It was this version which was previously available on DVD (118 mins PAL). In Region 2 there is now an extended version running 145 minutes. For a full summary of the scenes cut from the various editions see the details in the IMDb.

†††† The packaging of this Blu-ray indicates that the running time is 118 minutes. This is incorrect; what we have is a running time of 135:24 minutes which is likely to be the original theatrical release.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The Eagle Has Landed is in an aspect of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Originally, 70 mm prints of the film were shown in theatres in a ratio of 2.20:1 but other prints were in 2.35:1. Colours are subdued but acceptable, although some sequences in the woods and the village are very good, while brightness is on the light side which does affect the skin tones. For a 30 year old film sharpness is good, blacks and shadow detail fine. There is some minor edge enhancement, occasional dirt marks and grain, especially on the opening and closing credits, but this is not distracting. Overall, a good print rather than a pristine or vibrant one.

English subtitles are available. They are in an easy to read white font and follow the dialogue fairly closely.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
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Audio

††† The packaging states the audio is Dolby Digital 1.0. This is incorrect. The audio of The Eagle Has Landed is an English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded. It is a good enveloping track with music, gunshots, motors and ambient sound constantly in the surrounds. The subwoofer was not used. Dialogue is easy to understand and lip synchronisation fine.

The orchestral score by Lalo Schifrin is occasionally distracting.

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

Extras

Nothing

Censorship

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R4 vs R1

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

††† The Eagle Has Landed was originally released in theatres with a running time of 135 minutes which was cut to 123 mins (NTSC) for its US release. It was this version which was released in the UK on DVD (118 mins PAL). There is also an Artisan Region 1 bare bones release at 131 minutes (NTSC).

†††† A Region 2 ITV Special Edition 2 Disc DVD set was released in 2004. It contains both the full Theatrical version and the Extended version running 145 minutes (PAL). There is also a single disc Region 2 special edition that contains the 135 minute cut plus interviews with Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, John Sturges, location reports and deleted scenes.

†††† There is no Blu-ray version available in Region A and the UK Region B Blu-ray (which I own) is identical to this Australian release, down to the incorrect packaging that states the film is 118 minutes and has a mono audio. This is wrong - it too is 135 minutes and has Dolby Digital 2.0. Neither Blu-ray includes any of the extras available in the ITV DVD Special Edition. For extras and the extended version Region 2 DVD wins. However, if Blu-ray is what you want it is a draw.

Summary

††† The Eagle Has Landed is an old fashioned boys own adventure with a good cast, good production values and a good director in John Sturges, whose last film this was. While The Eagle Has Landed is not in the same class as Sturgesí best films, such as The Magnificent Seven or The Great Escape, it is still good entertainment and a ripping good yarn.

†††† The Blu-ray is hardly an example of why one should upgrade to HD, however, given the previous pan and scan release this Blu-ray is as good as The Eagle Has Landed has looked in Region 4. The video is acceptable and the audio quite good. Disappointingly, the Blu-ray includes none of the extras now available in the ITV DVD Special Edition. However, if you want a Blu-ray this is all you can get. The Eagle Has Landed is a good enough film to deserve better. Mind you, the price is right.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 08, 2010
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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