The Dam Busters Blu-ray Review
'The Dambusters - Special Anniversary Edition' takes off on Region B locked Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p/ AVC MPEG-4 transfer framed in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It would have been sacrilege to crop it to a widescreen image and we get the benefit of the well framed shots as they were intended to be seen. As mentioned in the movie review, the transfer is wonderfully sharp with excellent contrast. We get deep blacks and nicely graded shots throughout the movie. Optimum have transferred a very good print of the film and have left in the odd black scratch along with some wear around the reel changes. There are some neg scratches (the white ones) but they would have been in the print when it came from the lab. There is some fine grain to be seen throughout, but it's not intrusive - it simply reminds us that it was shot on film. If it wasn't for the scratches, it would be perfect. As it stands, it's far better than any version I have seen to date. It's a bit like having your own 35mm print of the film, without the inconvenience of having to lace up a projector every 10 minutes.
The audio on 'The Dambusters' comes in an LPCM 2.0 mono track which is generally clean sounding throughout with no noticeable hiss, snap, crackle or pop from the optical original. Dialogue is crisp and clear while the music score adds a sense of pride to the occasion. Should the music have been remixed into stereo to add a swell to the proceedings? Hmmm, I think this is one of those times when the original mix is best left alone and thankfully Optimum had the good taste to do so.
It keeps it 'in period'.
A bare bones version of 'The Dam Busters' has been available on Blu-ray for some time now, but has been criticised for its lack of extras. Hopefully, the inclusion of the following documentary in the Special Anniversary Edition will help please the critics.
'617 Squadron Remembers' - (HD, 56 mins)
This is rather a nice documentary, which includes interviews with surviving members of 617 squadron and it adds authenticity to the true story by giving us eye witness accounts. It's great that this doco was produced while the air crew are still with us. Clips from the movie are used to highlight what the interviewees are saying and it serves to make us aware of how close to the facts the feature film remains. We get to hear what Guy Gibson and Barnes Wallis were like in real life from those who knew them.
This is fascinating stuff, not only for film buffs but also for those studying the Second World War.
That all time classic war movie 'The Dambusters' explodes on to Region B locked Blu-ray in a Special Anniversary Edition with a very good looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. We are delivered a lovely sharp and contrasty looking black & white image that is streets ahead of any version previously shown on TV.
The audio comes in an LPCM 2.0 mono track which is crisp and clear throughout, foregoing a ham fisted surround remix which would have simply been wrong.
A very nice doco '617 Squadron Remembers' gives us the chance to hear about the raid from those who were actually there.
As most will know, it's the true story of a daring raid on the dams of the Ruhr valley during World War 2 that used a newly developed bouncing bomb.
This is a classic and truly the best version available for the film collector.
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