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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2010

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"The Bridge on the River Kwai" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

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Synopsis

Set during WWII, a British unit led by Col. Nicholson (Alec Guinness) is captured  by the Japanese and held in a camp run by Col. Saito (Sessue Hayakawa), and ordered to help build a bridge over the river Kwai.  Nicholson is steadfastly rooted in a belief that society and order must exist, even in war, much to the opposition of Col. Saito, who seeks to throw out the rules of society in times like this.  An American who is also being held in the camp, Shears (William Holden) manages to escape the camp shortly after Nicholson arrives, enabling him to alert the Allies to the plan of Saito to construct the bridge.  Shears must then return to stop Nicholson and Saito from being able to complete their task.

Specifications

  • Sony
  • 1957, Color, Rated PG, 2 Hr 42 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Starring Alec Guinness, William Holden
  • Directed by David Lean
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Anchored by a wonderful performance from Alec Guinness, Bridge over the River Kwai explores the coexistance of society and order in times of war, and the issues with following those rules and orders without thinking about the real world consequences of those actions.  I'm a huge David Lean fan, but I still can't recommend the movie enough to everyone, as the nearly 3 hour run time just flew by.

Technical

A wonderful new transfer from the Technicolor original, Bridge on the River Kwai looks amazing.  No longer the drab, washed out image that I have been used to seeing, the image is full of detail, with a bit of fine grain structure that is almost always visible.  The Technicolor image has the wonderful, warm feeling that the technology brings, and the Blu-ray brings that out.  The soundtrack, presented in surround, sounds wonderful with clear, easy to understand dialog, good use of the surround channels, but you can tell the lack of dynamic range on the original elements during certain sound effects.

Extras

The box set includes a book with on-the-set photos, reproductions of original lobby cards for the film, a TV appearance with Alec Guinness and William Holden, a copy of the film on DVD, and some additional featurettes.