Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 27th, 2003
In the dying days of World War II, a German submarine torpedoes a British ship off the coast of Venezuela, and machine-guns all the crew. Sole survivor is Murphy (Peter O’Toole), who istaken in by coastal villagers. Driven by thoughts of revenge that have less and less to do with the wider war, Murphy sets as his one goal in life the destruction of the German sub, by whatever improvised means possible (including repairing a reconnaissance plane and learning to fly it himself). The action sequences are quite impressive, though the flying scenes are rather overlong.The characters of Murphy and those played by Philippe Noiret and Sian Phillips are potentially interesting, but never given a chance to develop beyond that potential. Still, there’s enough quirky yet bang-up action (U-boat VS barge??!!) to make this pretty solid entertainment, if not much more.
The sound is mono, but is a pretty rich example of same. The track is very clear and essentially free of distortion and static. The music has a good, warm sound to it. Most impressive is how deep and true the base sounds. You might be struck by an odd blip in the sound on the two occasions O’Toole says “f**k” (and that’s what it sounds like — right down to the asterisks),but a quick check of the subtitles (similarly cleaned up) suggests this is deliberate.
A nice print, with its 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen preserved (which is a relief in this day of creeping phony 1.78:1 “widescreen” formats). The print is in great shape, with no grain, the odd speckle, and only very minor damage (a hair shows up, oddly, about 3 minutes in). The image is sharp, the flesh tones good, and the colours go from strong all the way up to gorgeous,with some truly stunning contrasts when characters are seen with a deep, deep blue sky as backdrop.
None. And even the subtitles need to be triggered for the first time from the main menu.
Good fun if you’re in the mood for a war film, or are a Peter O’Toole fun (he gets to do much scenery chewing).