Guns Of Navarone, The 4K Ultra HD

WSR Score3.5
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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J. Lee Thompson
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"The Guns Of Navarone" tells the story of a team of Allied military specialists recruited for a dangerous but imperative mission to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied fortress and disable two long-range field guns so that 2,000 trapped British soldiers may be rescued. Faced with an unforgiving sea voyage, hazardous terrain, and the possibility of a traitor among them, the team must overcome the impossible without losing their own lives. Based on Alistair MacLean's novel, "The Guns Of Navarone." (Gary Reber)

Special features include playback with and without the Original Roadshow Intermission Card; commentary by Director J. Lee Thompson; commentary by film historian Stephen J. Rubin; a narration-free Prologue (SD 05:45); a message from Carl Foreman ( HD 02:00); "The Resistance Dossler Of Navarone" Interactive Feature; nine featurettes: "Forging The Guns Of Navarone: Notes From The Sea" (HD 13:59), "An Ironic Epic Of Heroism" (HD 24:38), "Memories Of Navarone (HD 29:34), "Epic Restoration" (HD 09:37), "A Heroic Score" (SD 09:19), "Great Guns" (SD 04:34), "No Visitors" (SD 04:36), "Honeymoon On Rhodes" (SD 04:36) and "Two Girls On The Town (SD 04:35); the main title progression reel; the theatrical trailer and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2:35.1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Eastman film stock in anamorphic Cinemascope in Eastman color by Pathe and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. This is a 1961 film, and its age is apparent throughout with a gritty texture to its appearance and film grain, though, not objectionable. Color fidelity is saturated but limited to essentially earth colors with no real pop-out hues that command attention. The extensive storm sequence is muted in color. Colors are far more vivid in the daylight scenes. Fleshtones are slightly orange hued, Contrast is mediocre, though, black levels are deep with decent shadow delineation. While not a particularly bright film, white levels are acceptable. Resolution is acceptable and conveys decent sharpness and clarity throughout. This is a merited restoration but still conveys a dated presence. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is repurposed from the original 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) version. Fidelity is mediocre throughout, though, dialogue, often ADR produced, is consistently clear and intelligible.
During the intense sea storm the wind howls and waves splash from left to right over the old wooden boat, for an intense sonic experience that activates every channel. This is one of the longest storm sequences ever recalled. Dimitri Tiomkin's orchestral score is expansive with a wide and deep soundstage and extension to the surrounds. Dynamic are good. The gun blasts are powerful with tremendous low-frequency energy in the sub-30 Hz frequency range. Dialogue in a cave is reverberant, though, artificially so. Sounds of aircraft panned through the skies is effective sonically. There is a lot of artillery shelling with intense bass energy and bombs dropped from Nazi aircraft that creates intense explosions. Sound effects are often directionalized such as Nazi vehicles and tanks.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of the extension of the music score as well as some extension of dialogue in selected scenes. Further, sound effects such as planes overhead, the sounds of sea and wind, a storm at sea,
pounding waves, thunder, and explosions are present. There is also constant din and low-frequency energy. Overall, this is an effective height layer enhancement that results in spatial dimensionality beyond that of the ear-level channels.

While fidelity is dated, this is a quite active holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack with good channel separation and directionality. (Gary Reber)