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  • The Best Years of Our Lives

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 11th, 2007

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    WWII over, three soldiers return to their home town of Boone City. Dana Andrews is the bomber officer unfit for any other kind of work, who foolishly married a party girl just before the war. Fredric March is the banker who is having trouble adjusting to the fact that his children have become adults in his absence. Harold Russell is the sailor who lost both his hands, and can’t bring himself to believe that his girlfriend still truly wants him.

    Though clocking in at 168 minutes, this 1946 effort never drags, and does justice to all three characters, but Andrews is ultimately the real focus of the film. Russell himself really was a double amputee, and his scenes could easily have fallen into freak show elements or excessive sentimentality. Both traps are avoided. The film is powerful and moving without ever being sappy, and certainly earned its clutch of Oscars.

    Audio

    The original mono is the only option here. The sound is warm and clear. There is no hiss, no buzz on the dialogue, and no distortion of the music. Very clean all around. A stereo remix is really not missed at all.

    Video

    But what is missed is some kind of restoration work on the picture. Though the print is eminently watchable, it is also a long way from perfect. The opening is very grainy and has a noticeable guitar string. The picture improves thereafter, but every so often the grain becomes quite pronounced for a bit. The B&W tones are generally nice, but some shots are rather bleached out. The movie deserves better.

    Special Features

    Nothing but the trailer. Come on, this is a movie that cries out for a commentary track.

    Closing Thoughts

    Great film, but the package could be more respectful. Note: this is a new release, and the cover and Amazon ID number provided are for the previous one. This particular edition isn’t appearing on the usual listings yet.

    Special Features List

    • Theatrical Trailer
    Posted In: 1.33:1 Fullscreen, Awards Edition, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital Mono (English), Dolby Digital Mono (Spanish), Drama, DVD, MGM

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