Operation Market Garden is the most famous Allied defeat in the Second World War. An audacious plan scuppered by bad luck and worse decisions, it is recounted in this visually spectacular film. The goal is to seize a group of bridges across Holland, culminating in the brdge at Arnhem. Everything imaginable goes wrong. Richard Attenborough’s film stars just about every big name actor under the sun, and his re-enactment has so many extras and so much hardware that one feels he could have convi…cingly remounted the entire operation. The stellar cast isn’t required to do very much other than be manly, but the battle staging is undeniably spectacular.
The previous disc was limited to a 2.0 mix. Now there is a 5.1 option as well, but the effort was largely for naught. Other than the occasional airplane and some musical cues, there are no surround aspects to the 5.1 track at all. The 2.0 is much more satisfying. One feels properly surrounded by the explosions and machine-gun fire with this track.
No new mastering of the picture. The print is in decent shape, but the image is soft and frequently quite grainy and prone to pixelation. The colours are basically fine, though they sometimes seem a little pale. Watchable, certainly, but still a disappointment.
Screenwriter William Goldman (always a great, opinionated storyteller) is joined on the commentary track by other members of the crew and the like. Pretty interesting stuff, and they have plenty of time to cover all ground. The pop-up trivia track is pretty good for filling in the history, too. On Disc 2, there’s a 43-minute documentary (“A Bridge Too Far: Heroes from the Sky”), which tracks the movie’s production from the writing of the book on. For those more interested in the actual history, there’s “A Distant Battle: Memories of Operation Market Garden.” Though valuable, it’s too bad this featurette only features the memories of Amercian vets. The third featurette has a self-explanatory title: “Richard Attenborough: A Director Remembers.” The still gallery is divided into 10 sections, each with explanatory notes, which is a nice touch. Finally, there’s the theatrical trailer, but trailers for The Great Escape and The Bridge on the River Kwai. The menu’s main screen, intro and transitions are animated and scored.
The new extras are nice. But if you already own the movie, don’t expect any improvement in picture or sound.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Trivia Track
- “A Bridge Too Far: Heroes from the Sky” Documentary
- “A Distant Battle: Memories of Operation Market Garden” Featurette
- “Richard Attenborough: A Filmmaker Remembers” Featurette
- Photo Gallery