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The Bridge on the River Kwai VHS
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The classic film, "The Bridge on the River Kwai"
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December 3, 2000
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
If you bought the Columbia Tri-star laserdisc like I did a few years ago, you got a nasty surprise. This fine film had undergone a "restoration process". But this restoration makes changes to David Lean's vision. Some changes are curious but more or less harmless, like using a different sound effect for the mortar used in the final scenes. Other "improvements" are more disconcerting. A new digital background track was created for the jungle scenes that included insect noises and bird calls and such. This track is a bit too loud on the laserdisc and it intrudes on the dialogue. But to me the most damaging change occurs during the raft scenes when the charges are being placed at the base of the bridge. These scenes were shot day-for-night. In the sequences of the raft approaching the bridge as well, the cinematography had to be just right. If the scenes were originally filmed too darkly (underexposed), the veiwer wouldn't be able to see what's happening onscreen, but if they were overexposed the veiwer would be led to believe the enemy gaurds on top of the bridge would be able to easily spot the commandos...(!). The Lean-approved original version skillfully strikes the right balance throughout these scenes. But along came Columbia Tri-star and, for some unkown reason, apparently chose these scenes to be brightened for the transfer to laserdisc! All I can figure is that the telecinist might have been concerned the transfer process would've darkened the scenes somewhat (for whatever technical reason) and overcompensated. Who knows. Whatever. The end result is that the balance of Jack Hildyard's careful cinematography is upset and, the scenes being too bright, the suspension of disbelief is interrupted. I think many people balked when they got there laserdisc, but more to the point, Columbia apparently listened. The transfer for the dvd, I'm pleased to say, is 100% faithful to the original film version. On top of that the picture and sound are very sharp indeed and I can't think of a reason not to buy either one of the dvd's. I don't know what posessed Cloumbia Tri-star to screw around so much with the laserdisc release. Maybe they couldn't locate all the film elements or maybe the thought no one would mind if they retouched the Mona Lisa, I dunno. Of course if you never bought the lserdisc all this is moot since the film and dvd are identical. But if you felt you got burned on the laserdisc, fear not, there is nothing wrong with the dvd even though it is also done by Columbia Tri-star (nothing against them, per se, but when it comes to video releases the studio labels sometimes giveth and sometimes taketh away). By the way, it's amazing how well this spectacular movie, storywise and filmwise, has held up over the years, don't you think? To me it's always satisfying when a first-class film gets a first-class treatment.
December 7, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have always loved this film, one of the real David Lean classics. But I thought the film had an Intermission. It has an abrupt shift a little more than halfway in. I am surprised by this because this is a restored version. Again it might be a bad batch or the low pricem but it lost a star because of this.
October 22, 2015
Format: Amazon VideoVerified Purchase
I know the movie is great, but a rented it to watch with family and couldn't use chromecast is we didn't watch the movie. Ask me about Amazon movie app, I would tell you it's crap
Most recent customer reviews
While I love this movie, the transfer was shoddy at best. It looks as though they used the bluray and called it a day.Read more
Not the movie - it's still a classic - but the 4K disc. It took several times to get it to play, then, about 45 minutes in, the disc stopped, started again, then froze, then...Read more
loved this movie. never looked this good on home video before. there is a lot of grain in certain sections but overall it looks great.
Great to see some classic movies in 4k. This is native 4k from a real 4k master and it shows. Picture is beautiful, not some phony upconversion. Get yourself a copy
I like it. But to see an unboxing of it please check out my YouTube channel called Retro Basement (please be sure to subscribe for new videos, etc).. Thanks.