Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 20th, 2004
Richard Harris is Oliver Cromwell, reluctant revolutionary, every more reluctant dictator.Alec Guinness is Charles I, the King of England who is given very bad advice, but makes somestupid decisions all on his own. The English Civil War is played out for us, with a cast offamiliar faces (Robert Morley, Timothy Dalton, Charles Gray, etc. etc.) and some prettyimpressive battle scenes. (Though those of you fresh from a screening of The Return of theKing should please re…ember that this film is over 30 years old). Apart from some famousdialogue, any resemblance to actual history is coincidental and purely unintentional, but there’sstill a decent amount of entertainment to be had.
Not bad 2.0 surround, for a 1970 flick. Most impressive, naturally, are the big crowd scenes(rows in Parliament and the battles themselves): here is when we get the best surround effectsand come closest to a full environment. The music is quite well represented too. Though thereisn’t, overall, a huge amount of surround action, there aren’t inappropriate effects either. Thebattles are appropriately rich in tone.
Lots of nice, sweeping, panoramic shots in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The print getsoff to a very rocky start, absolutely filthy with grain and dirt. Things improve after the credits,and continue to do so, and the movie looks pretty good thereafter, though the odd bit of damagedoes surface from time to time. There is some noticeable edge enhancement, and the image couldbe a bit sharper, but the colours and contrasts become very rich and satisfying.
Bare bones: basic menu, and trailers for All the King’s Men, The Bridge on theRiver Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia and A Man for All Seasons.
A long way from being the best historical epic, and rather self-important. Still, I had a goodtime.
Special Features List