Breaker Morant (Masterworks Edition)
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New hi def color transfer made from 35 mm interpositive - picture: 16x9 Anamorphic 1.85:1 presentation, 5.1 surround sound, subtitled in English, French and Spanish, commentary with director Bruce Beresford, 20 minute interview with actor Edward Woodward, in-depth character breakdown, photo gallery and original theatrical trailer. Synopsis: Based on a true story, Breaker Morant is the tale of three soldiers who are court-martialed at the end of the Boer War. When one of their comrades is ambushed and killed, three soldiers (Edward Woodward, Brian Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald) seek revenge and kill a Boer Solider. The act of murder and the mysterious disappearance of a German missionary leads to the arrest of the three men. In one of the most controversial court-martials in military history, they are defended by Major Thomas (Jack Thompson), small town Australian solicitor who has only been given one day to prepare the case.
The "Masterworks Edition" offers excellent print and sound (recorded in 5.1 Dolby) for this landmark Australian film. (If you want to see how bad prints can be, check out the vintage trailer!) Director Bruce Beresford gives an easygoing commentary recorded a quarter-decade after the film's release. His recollection is deft and he draws parallels of the story's history and the wars at the time (the play was written in the Vietnam era, his commentary is during the Iraq War). Interesting to note that Beresford prefers not having a musical score and he mentions how source music is used (very effectively) in the film. A 20-minute fireside interview with Edward Woodward has a few curious tales, most notably about the esteemed actor's foray into horseback riding. --Doug Thomas
- New hi-def color transfer made from 35 mm interpositive
- Edward Woodward interview
- Character breakdown
- Director biography
- Original theatrical trailer
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Top customer reviews
This review is for the blu-ray transfer only and not the film itself. The blu-ray version of Breaker Morant is just okay, not great. The level of detail is acceptable, though not as crisp as most blu-ray transfers. The colors are strong, but there is a considerable amount of specks and "noise" on the film. It does not appear that it was digitally remastered.
The sound has some issues, too. In certain indoor scenes, it sounds like the characters are talking in a box. But this may have been the way the movie was filmed and not a problem with the blu-ray per se.
My rating of four stars is for the movie. If I were only rating the blu-ray transfer, I would give it three stars. Nevertheless, this is best edition of the film available. It is an upgrade from the DVD.
The good news is that this is a decent 16x9 transfer. The bad news is that special features are minimal: a 30 second radio spot, and a documentary on the Boer War, both of which were incredibly boring; I've had more fun watching grass grow. Normally, I'd say that it's worth upgrading from dvd, but current prices for this movie (even the dvd versions) are ridiculous. So while this is a very good film, I'd recommend waiting for a reissue, unless you've got serious cash to burn. If you have no version of this movie at all (and are willing to spend the exorbitant sums vendors are asking for it), I'd say buy the Masterworks dvd edition, because the A/V quality, while not at the level of Blu-ray, is still very good, and the special features far more interesting.
Although there is some action, this movie is first and foremost a courtroom drama. The casting, both in the lead and supporting roles, was perfect, and excellent performances were given by both. I was so impressed with Bruce Beresford's efforts in making this film that I forgive him for King David. Near the end, there is synopsis given regarding the fate of three main participants in the trial: J.F. Thomas (the defense attorney), Alfred Taylor (the intelligence officer, who likely blew the whistle on Morant and the others), and George Witton (the young Leftenant). Surprisingly, humor is plentiful, albeit often of a gallows nature.
Favorite quote (this occurs as Handcock and Morant overhear carpenters building their coffins):
Handcock (Bryan Brown): "Could've seen fit to measure us first."
Morant (Edward Woodward): "Don't suppose they've had many complaints."
I was fortunate enough to buy this Blu-ray at a time when the prices were much more reasonable. Would I spend the kind of money vendors are asking for it now? Even though I really like the movie, the answer is "no."
The story follows an actual event from the second Boer War in the early 1900's and the court martial of Harry "Breaker" Morant along with two other officers.
The story is laid out in a long series of flashbacks interspaced with the courtroom scenes. I would give it 5 stars if the dialog didn't get lost in in the audio track from time to time. That is more of an audio editing and production issue than one of content but it detracts from the overall film just enough to lose one star. There are some great quotes in this movie if you pay attention.
If you are a law student and you've never seen Breaker Morant - get some beers, gather your fellow students and watch it!
Yes, there's 3 defendants and only one defense attorney, get over it; it's still a good drama!