The Bible (Bibbia, La) (1966)
|Year Of Production||1966|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (83:01)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John Huston|
Twentieth Century Fox
George C. Scott
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.20:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.20:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Bible brings to the screen, in epic form, the most well-known stories from the book of Genesis: Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, the story of Abraham and that of Sodom and Gomorrah. I'd be surprised if all these stories aren't familiar to you so I won't summarise them here.
Many well-known actors put in appearances as the main characters including Richard Harris as Cain, Franco Nero as Abel, John Huston as Noah, George C. Scott as Abraham, Ava Gardiner as Abraham's wife Sarah, Stephen Boyd as Nimrod and Peter O'Toole who played the three angels. John Huston did extra duty on this film as he directed as well. If this wasn't enough, he also did the narration and supplied the voice of God as well as that of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
There are a number of excellent performances captured in this film. The performance of George C. Scott is certainly worth viewing for the intensity with which he portrayed Abraham. Peter O'Toole's brief appearance is equally notable for the restrained power he brought to the part of the three angels. However, the most memorable performance was that of John Huston as Noah who somehow seemed the most real of all the characters in this story.
Unfortunately, despite the epic nature of the story and its equally epic portrayal on film, this movie dragged its way through most of its 167 minutes, rarely managing to engross me. Watching it seemed to take almost as much time as the 5 years it apparently took to make it. The story of Abraham was the longest segment in this compilation of stories and despite the talent of George C. Scott, it was the most tedious. I suggest this film will really only appeal to those who have some special interest in the content.
Even making some allowance for the age of this film, the video transfer leaves plenty of room for improvement in several areas.
This transfer is 16x9 enhanced and is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.20:1, not 2.35:1 as stated on the packaging, which is its original theatrical aspect ratio.
Sharpness was acceptable given the age of the film. No low level noise was present. Some edge enhancement has been used but it didn't appear frequently enough to be considered distracting. The main disappointment with this transfer is in the area of shadow detail which was almost non-existent. This led to the darker scenes having a very two dimensional appearance.
For the most part, this film sports a limited colour palette based on earthy tones. The overall impression is of a slightly washed out appearance with colours less than fully saturated.
There are quite a few film artefacts present, however they are generally not too distracting. Probably the worst examples can be found at 90:26 and 90:28 when two yellow streaks put in a short appearance. I didn't detect any aliasing or other film-to-video artefacts, however, there is pixelization present which can most easily be seen in any scenes featuring the sky.
I sampled about 30 minutes of the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles and found them to be perfectly accurate and very easy to read. If you prefer your subtitles in another language then you should be well catered for with no less than 11 other languages present on this disc.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 6 and 7, at 83:01. It perfectly placed, immediately after the intermission when there is no sound and a black screen.
An excellent job has been done remastering the audio from this almost 40 year old film to provide us with a very good Dolby Digital 4.0 (left, centre, right, surround) soundtrack. This is not to say that the audio is now what you would expect from a more recent film, as it still has a dated quality to it with some very low level hiss and a few subtle clicks and pops present. The sound is mostly directed from the front speakers but at times the soundstage is extended to the rear and becomes much more immersive.
A single English Dolby Digital 4.0 (L-C-R-S) audio track is provided on this disc.
I found the dialogue to be crisp and clear at all times and I didn't have any problems understanding all of it. God's voice, rather than coming from a specific location in the soundstage, had a nice diffuse quality to it, promoting the concept that God was everywhere.
I wasn't aware of any problems with the audio sync in this transfer.
The movie is accompanied by a musical score from Toshiro Mayuzumi that complements the story very well. In fact, it was nominated for the 1966 Academy Award in the Best Music, Original Music Score category but lost out to Born Free, and also for the 1967 Golden Globe in the Best Original Score category but lost out once again, this time to Hawaii.
Most of the audio is located in the front soundstage, however the rear channels are used subtly for effects and the music elements.
There is no LFE channel on this disc so if you want the subwoofer to operate you'll need to ensure your amplifier is set to redirect any low frequency audio to it. This is what I did, and this made thunder and other effects much more spectacular. While there is a reasonable amount of LF present, it's not at a level that's going to rattle the windows at normal listening levels.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras on this disc are limited to a theatrical trailer.
The menu is 16x9 enhanced but is without either animation or audio.
The trailer runs for 3:44 and is presented in a ratio of 2.20:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Unless you consider the inclusion of a couple of mono soundtracks on the Region 1 version important there's no compelling reasons to favour this region's disc over our local version.
The Bible is another epic film from a period that specialized in making epic films. Unfortunately, I didn't find the story particularly engrossing. It was presented on a DVD which was good in some areas but lacking in others.
The video quality leaves something to be desired, particularly with respect to shadow detail.
The audio quality is good.
If you like lots of extras on your DVDs then you will be disappointed with this disc.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony VPL-WV10HT LCD Projector on to 100" (254 cm) 16:9 ratio Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300|