Sharpe's Siege (1996)
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tom Clegg|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Unknown||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.56:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sharpe's Siege is one of a series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell. 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. All very fanciful, of course, but that does not stop the books, and the films, from being good escapist entertainment.
Spain 1813. The English army of Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser) is ready to invade France. The Prince of Wales' Volunteers (previously the South Essex) under the command of Colonel Bampfylde (Christopher Villiers) is ordered to accompany the Compte de Maquerre (Christian Brendel) to his family fortress in the French Pyrenees; Maquerre has assured Wellington that an English force will encourage the local French people to rebel against Napoleon. Accompanying the Redcoats is the newly married Major Sharpe who has left behind his wife Jane (Abigail Cruttenden) ill with yellow fever. After Bampfylde shows his incompetence with a failed attack upon the fort, Sharpe, Harper (Daragh O'Malley) and their riflemen succeed only to discover in the fort the complicating presence of the Compte's mother and beautiful sister Catherine (Amira Casar). Sent on a scouting mission, Sharpe returns to find Bampfylde and the Redcoats gone and the fort's defences destroyed. When they are surrounded by the battalion commanded by the veteran General Calvert (Oliver Pierre) and his old enemy Major Ducos (Feodor Atkine), Sharpe must prepare the fort for a desperate siege, uncover a traitor and resist the advances of Catherine, all the time worrying whether Jane is still alive.
Those familiar with Cornwell's novel Sharpe's Siege will be aware that while the basic plot and characters of the film bear a similarity to those of the novel, one pivotal character from the book is missing and the characters of the Compte's sister and mother are added. That said, on its own merits Sharpe's Siege is a superior example of the Sharpe TV film series. It is a tight, exciting, action packed film, blending rousing set piece battles, political intrigue, humour, a good score and a sense of poignant longing and loss. This film is far more than an action film; with the worry about his wife's illness uppermost in his mind Sean Bean gives a deep and nuanced performance as Sharpe that is very touching and effective. As usual, he receives excellent support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper and also good are Philip Whitchurch as the one-eyed, toothless Lieutenant Frederickson, Christian Brendel as Maquerre and Oliver Pierre as the French General who, like Sharpe, has risen from the ranks.
Sharpe's Siege is one of the best of the Sharpe series. It is a tight, exciting, action packed film, blending rousing battles, political intrigue, humour, a good score and a sense of poignant longing and loss. As usual the sets, uniforms, weapons and drill seem reasonably accurate and realistic and the action is well staged. With a good cast and authentic period detail Sharpe's Siege is a moving and entertaining 101 minutes.
Sharpe's Siege is a made for TV movie and is in an aspect ratio of approximately 1:55.1 (14:9). It is not 16x9 enhanced. This is a flat looking print with muted colours in some scenes although in others they are fine. Clarity and sharpness are reasonable, blacks are solid but the shadow detail is just adequate. There is also minor grain and edge enhancement but artefacts are not prevalent. This is an acceptable print and the issues noted are not distracting enough to spoil the enjoyment of the film.
There are no subtitle options although clear white burnt-in subtitles translate the French dialogue.
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. The subwoofer was not used.
The music includes an electronic score by Dominic Muldowney plus some period songs sung by John Tams (Rifleman Hagman) which works nicely and provides good support for the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are 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.
Sharpe's Siege is an excellent example of the series of made for TV films based upon the character created by Bernard Cornwell. It is an exciting film blending rousing action, political intrigue, humour, a good score and a sense of poignant longing and loss. Sean Bean is even better than usual as Sharpe and he gets good support from Daragh O'Malley as Sergeant Harper. Sharpe's Siege is presented on a DVD with acceptable video and audio but no extras. Sharpe's Siege is included in a two disc box with Sharpe's Gold and Sharpe's Battle on one disc, Sharpe's Sword on the other. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 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 Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|