"1776" is a musical celebration of the founding of the United States of America based on the award-winning Broadway production. The story centers around the tough and unyielding John Adams (William Daniels), the charming and pragmatic Benjamin Franklin (Howard Da Silva), the brilliant young Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard), and the rest of the Continental Congress. All events lead up to that most significant historical date: July 4, 1776. This is the 50th Anniversary edition. Based on the musical play "17766" produced on the New York Stage by Stuart Ostrow. (Gary Reber)
Special features include both the 165-minute Director's Cut and the 167-minute Extended Cut, commentary with Peter H. Hunt, William Daniels & Ken Howard (Director's Cut only), commentary with Hunt and Peter Stone (Director's Cut only), four deleted and alternate scenes with Director commentary, nine screen tests (HD 12:52), teaser and theatrical trailers and a Movies Anywhere digital code.
The 2.35:1 1080p AVC 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision/HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed on Eastmancolor film stocks in anamorphic Panavision® and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Film grain is light and unobtrusive. Color fidelity is a bit inconsistent and generally bland within the confines of Independence Hall. Outside scenes are far more fresh looking. Flesh tones are naturally rendered. HDR contrast is generally good, especially in the outside scenes. Black levels are natural and shadows are revealing. White levels appear natural as well. Resolution is often a bit subdued and softly focused but otherwise generally sharp. Overall, this is a satisfying picture. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is dialogue focused with support from the stereo channels. The dialogue is unnaturally forward sounding and wanting in spatial integration. The dialogue is a complete disconnect with the picture. Considering the film was released in monaural, the separation in the frontal stereo soundstage is quite good. The music generally provides good support during the singing segments. Fidelity sounds dated. The music envelops the entire soundfield with strong surround engagement. The frontal soundstage extends to the four surrounds. Bass extension provides a solid foundation in the orchestral arrangements.
The Immersive Sound element is comprised of an extension of the music to the height layer. Dialogue also extends to the height channels. Sound effects such as thunder and lightening and rain appear in the heigh layer, as do other effects. The height layer adds effective dimensionality to the proceedings.
This repurpose holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack is mostly mediocre due to the unnatural forwardness of the dialogue and singing. (Gary Reber)