A Walk in the Sun (1945) (NTSC)

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Released 4-Aug-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Featurette-Norman Lloyd on "A Walk in the Sun"
Featurette-The Men of "A Walk in the Sun"
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1945
Running Time 116:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lewis Milestone
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Dana Andrews
Richard Conte
George Tyne
John Ireland
Lloyd Bridges
Sterling Holloway
Norman Lloyd
Herbert Rudley
Richard Benedict
Huntz Hall
James Cardwell
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $19.95 Music Freddie Rich


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     In 1943 the Texas Division lands at Salerno, Italy. The orders of one platoon are to march 6 miles inland and to attack a farmhouse held by the Germans. In the platoon of approximately 60 men under the commend of Sgt. Eddie Porter (Herbert Rudley) are Sgt. Bill Tyne (Dana Andrews), Italian/American Pvt. Rivera (Richard Conte), Pvt. Jake Friedman, a boxing champion from New York (George Tyne), Sgt. Ward (Lloyd Bridges), Ohio minister’s son and philosopher Pfc. Windy Craven (John Ireland), scout Pvt. Archimbeau (Norman Lloyd) and 1st aid man McWilliams (Sterling Holloway). As the platoon pushes inland it incurs casualties and Porter suffers a breakdown, leaving command to Tyne to attack the farmhouse and fulfil their mission.

     A Walk in the Sun was directed by Lewis Milestone who was responsible for two of the greatest war pictures ever made: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) about WWI and Pork Chop Hill (1959) about the Korean War. Accordingly, I had high expectations for A Walk in the Sun. However, A Walk in the Sun is not on the same high level as the other two films. For most of the first eighty minutes, the film is very static; nothing much happens except the characters spend a lot of time sitting around talking or walking and talking. The film was based on a book by Harry Brown of the same name, and in the extras Norman Lloyd reveals that a lot of the dialogue was taken straight from the book. It is certainly true that much of war is men sitting around for long periods, followed by terrifying bouts of intense violence; a book can reflect this well and concentrate on the dialogue and interaction between the men. But inaction and boredom does not translate so readily to the screen, and in its first two thirds the film bogs itself down, enjoying the dialogue almost for its own sake. The action sequences when they occur are tense and well staged, yet even here the action might stop as the characters chat. For example, in the midst of the climactic standoff around the farm house two characters discuss the veins on a leaf!

     A Walk in the Sun is not on the same level as the other two great war films directed by Lewis Milestone. It spends too much time bogged down in dialogue, but there are moments of tension and action and it is still worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     A Walk in the Sun is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced. The original ratio was 1.37:1. This is an NTSC disc.

     The DVD case states that A Walk in the Sun is presented restored and uncut. That may be so, but the print still exhibits numerous small scratches and dirt marks and although none are overly distracting their presence is noticed. The picture is also quite soft, with shadow detail sometimes quite difficult to make out. Contrast and brightness also varies, although blacks are good. Film grain is evident throughout. The combing inherent in the interlaced transfer noted in reviews of the US Region 1 version of the film here is there in some scenes, but again is not overly distracting. While not the best print, there is little to spoil one’s enjoyment of the film.

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

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0, mono. While it is understandably a flat sounding audio, with some crackles and variations in the level of dialogue, it is mostly fine and the explosions and gunfire is done very nicely, with a fair boom. There is no surround or sub use.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

    The music score by Fredric Efrem Rich is not memorable, but nor is it disruptive. More intrusive is the song It Was Just a Little Walk in the Sun sung by Kenneth Spencer, written by Earl Robinson with lyrics by Millard Lampell that recurs throughout the film.

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

Extras

Norman Lloyd on “A Walk in the Sun” (60:53)

     Norman Lloyd played Pvt. Archimbeau in A Walk in the Sun and went on to have a long and varied career as actor, producer and director. This interview was recorded in 2007 by Jeff Joseph and it consists entirely, for its 60 minute length, of Lloyd reminiscing, without notes, about his life and times in Hollywood including working with directors such as Lewis Milestone, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin. There is, in fact, not a lot here about A Walk in the Sun although occasional anecdotes, such as the financing of the film by the mob, or how passing circus elephants were pressed in to help pull the film’s equipment from the mud, are interesting. Your view of this extra really depends upon your interest in Hollywood reminiscences. The picture quality is soft and sound varies.

The Men of “A Walk in the Sun” (32:28)

     Author Joel Blumberg provides a spoken film history and biography of many of the actors who appeared in A Walk in the Sun while clips from the film play. Included are Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, George Tyne, John Ireland, Lloyd Bridges, Sterling Holloway, Norman Lloyd, Herbert Rudley, Richard Benedict, some lesser characters as well as director Lewis Milestone. Worth watching once. In black and white; sound and picture quality varies.

Trailer (1:46)

     The original trailer. Shows evidence of grain and artefacts, and the sound varies a lot. Worthwhile to see how the picture was sold.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 0 US edition has the same specifications and the same extras, but includes optional English subtitles. The Region 4 edition is also NTSC and Region 0, missing only the subtitles. Draw.

Summary

     A Walk in the Sun is not on the same level as the other two great war films directed by Lewis Milestone. It spends too much time in inconsequential dialogue, but there are moments of tension and good action sequences and it is still worth a look.

     The video is not clean but the marks are not overly distracting, the audio track is quite good. The extras are substantial and may be interesting, depending on your perspective, but at least there are some.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 16, 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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