The Big Red One - The Reconstruction (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Even in the studio-truncated version, there was no shortage of astonishing moments and sequences: the squad choking on dust in a bat-filled cave in North Africa as German tanks clatter past the entrance; Fuller's cold-blooded distillation of the D-Day slaughter on Omaha Beach, with a wrist watch on a dead arm in the surf marking time as the water slopping over it grows redder; the rifle squad delivering a Frenchwoman's baby in a German tank on a battlefield full of corpses; a commando-like raid on Nazi troops bivouacked in a Belgian insane asylum. A quarter-century later, film critic Richard Schickel and Warner Bros. executive Brian Jamieson succeeded in restoring 15 never-seen sequences and fleshing out 23 others to create The Big Red One: The Reconstruction, a "new" film nearly an hour longer.
Above all, BR1: The Reconstruction has a rhythm the 1980 cut lacked. The arc of years, battles, and battlegrounds is so much more satisfying. Greater play is given to Fuller's feeling for children caught up in the sidewash of history and atrocity. And the 2004 cut puts sex back into the movie, not orgiastically but as a fact of life and a rarely forgotten driving force. We can see now that Fuller touched, bluntly and shockingly, on the phenomenon of infiltrators--English-speaking German warriors who donned GI khaki and moved among their enemies waiting for a chance to strike.
It's also apparent, as it was not in 1980, that Lee Marvin as the eternal Sergeant leading the young squad is magnificent. This was Marvin's greatest role, rivaled only by his walking dead man in John Boorman's Point Blank. Just beneath the masterly implacability, we glimpse the tenderness, rage, dark humor, experience, and wisdom beyond guilt that have enabled him to survive, to preserve others and to soldier on. His performance, like Fuller's film, is a masterpiece. --Richard T. Jameson
- Over 40 minutes of added footage
- Alternate scenes
- Anatomy of a Scene: Watch the director at work and examine the before/after restoration comparisons
- New documentary The Real Glory: Reconstructing The Big One
- Profile: The Men Who Make the Movies: Samuel Fuller
- War department film: The Fighting First
- 1980 promo reel, theatrical trailer, and TV and radio spots
- 2004 reconstruction trailer
- Stills gallery
Top Customer Reviews
There is no glorification of war here; indeed the message is very clear - the only glory in war is surviving. The movie is very creative in introducing characters whose sole purpose, with their demise, is to underline this message. The short careers of both Lemchek and Kaiser are cases in point. The battle scenes are weak and unrealistic but that's not the emphasis. The action scenes that are memorable are the ones with a subtle message; the camera focusing in on the dead soldiers wristwatch in the surf of Normandy, the water turning red with the passing of time; the scene at the asylum in France and the concentration camp scene where Griff overcomes his compunction about shooting while seeing the whites of his enemies eyes.
It's a well crafted movie, with some strong acting from Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill and a movie which delivers it's message in a well thought out and strong ending.
1) It does include the original theatrical cut, and the "extended" cut. This is contrary to the original announcement by the studio.
2) BUT - and this is a very big "but" -- ONLY the theatrical cut is in high definition. Let me repeat that: ONLY the theatrical cut is in high definition. The extended version is there - but it is apparently just a direct copy of the DVD transfer which has been available for some years now.
3) Now, for the really bad news... The high def theatrical cut is in high def, but it is -- to put it mildly -- pretty bad. I just watched it, at a friend's home theater. Ouch. It seemed so bad, that I arrived at my house and popped in the DVD of the same, and then the DVD of the extended cut (which were sold as a package on DVD) -- and guess what -- in my humble opinion -- the DVD of the the theatrical cut actually looks noticeably superior to the Blu-Ray of the same version. So, I checked the only review site I could find that had taken a look at this new Blu-Ray release: "Greenberg is known for deep blacks and strong cyans, but you'd never know that from Warner's 1080p, AVC-encoded presentation of the theatrical cut of The Big Red One, which adds insult to injury with a flat, dull and underwhelming image. Colors are washed out, detail is erratic, blacks are weak and the grain pattern looks suspiciously scrubbed, especially for a film that is supposed to have a raw and gritty immediacy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
WWII movie excellent acting one of my favorite movies! Great quality on DVDs!Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
Just what my husband wanted to watch. Thanks for having it available.Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is not the movie. If you want the movie don't waste your money on thisPublished 1 month ago by lloyd p. carson
It's a good story,but they went a little light on the special effects. For example, in the D-day scene there is only one Higgins boat visible and no warships, and for that matter... Read morePublished 2 months ago by regapal
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