WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines

Reviewed In Issue 07 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Stuart Whitman, Sarah Miles, James Fox, Alberto Sordi, Robert Morley, Terry-Thomas.

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 4
Sound Rating: 3
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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Inside the gatefold jacket is an informative essay on the history of flight and a complete index of the 62 Chapter Stops plus the contents of the CAV supplemental section. This section presents the annotated history of the production and a good amount of stills of the cast and their credits. There is a frame-by-frame special effects analysis, production photos, storyboards and behind-the-scenes stills, plus various original advertising materials. Director Ken Annakinís running commentary is heard throughout the filmís 138 minutes on Analog Track 1 and is a joy with his diligent and insightful descriptions of the production.

DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number): 1033-85
(MPAA Rating): Not Rated
(Retail Price): $69.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 138
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): No
(Theatrical Release): 1965
(LD Release Date): 10/93
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): Ken Annakin
(Screenplay/Written By): Jack Davies & Ken Annakin
(Story): NA
(Music): Ron Goodwin
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Tom Morahan
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): Gordon Stone & Anne V. Coates
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Darryl F. Zanuck
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Stan Margulies

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Todd-AO
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.21:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 2.20:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Mag Stereo & 70mm 6 Track Mag Stereo
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital): No
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround): No
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
This British production about the seminal days of flight in the early 1900ís was first released in England on June 3, 1965. The story, based on real events, is set upon a day in 1909 when Lord Northcliffe (a fictional Lord Rawnsley played by Robert Morley), owner of Londonís Daily Mail, offered a prize of £1,000 to the first person who crossed the English Channel by airplane. So takes flight the topsy-turvy race amongst mostly French, British, German and American aviators who were the toast of their respective homelands.

LaserDisc Picture:
The picture on this disc is serioiusly over matted. It was taken from a pristine 35mm interpositive which was transferred at barely over 2.0:1 and then over matted to look 2.35:1, but in fact it measures 2.20:1. This can be detected by the positioning of the space around the credits. The picture, however, really looks film-like with superb color fidelity and color balance throughout. It is sharp and an attribute to the original glorious widescreen photography.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The soundtrack was originally recorded in the RCA six-track magnetic stereophonic sound process. It is a faked version remixed from the original four-track stems, from which tracks 1 and 3 are mixed at half volume to make track 2, and tracks 3 and 5 are mixed at half volume to make track 4. The 35mm four-track version is a better mix than the 70mm six-track edition. Dialogue and effects are centered, unlike the original fully directional soundtrack. Surround is subtle and limited to the music score.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz): No
(Aggressive System Surround): No
(Intense 25Hz Bass): No
(Deep Bass Challenging): No
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield): No
(Aggressive Split Surround): No
(Center Back Surround Imaging): No
(Directionalized Dialogue): No
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: