Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2013

ARTICLE INDEX

"The Best Years of Our Lives" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

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Synopsis

This 8 Academy Award(R)-winning masterpiece recounts the problems faced by three returning veterans after WWII as they attempt to pick up the threads of their lives. Fredric March, Harold Russell and Dana Andrews are superb as the servicemen who return home from the Greatest War, only to find difficult challenges in converting back to normalcy in post-war America.

Specifications

Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

A daring film, mostly due to the subject matter, this film won several Academy Awards(R) and is the only film ever to feature a non-actor who won 2 Oscars for his portrayal of a sailor who lost both hands in the South Pacific Theater. Because this movie was made right after the war, it did not have to portray themes to make the public feel good about the war effort. The story is both heartwarming, touching and honest without being melodramatic or overly maudlin. The theme is universal, so you could imagine this story happening after the Korean, Viet Nam or Iraqi war. War changes men, whether physically or emotionally. Some men are at their most courageous after the battle cry has long since faded. This is a long film, but worth every minute of your time to see.

Technical

The sound is mono, but it is clear and without any hiss or audible defects. The picture quality is amazingly sharp and detailed. Only a few long shots look a bit out of focus, and that is not the transfers fault, but the actual stock. I am always impressed with how good a black and white films look when they are carefully restore and remastered on Blu-ray, and this film is no exception. Contrasts are spot-on. White are crisp and never blown out. I never saw flicker or any blemishes on the film at any time. It all just looks gorgeous. Thanks be to Warner for taking good care of this classic film.

Extras

A theatrical trailer and a two commentaries with Virginia Mayo. The trailer is in standard def and provides a good measuring point for how much work went into this film's restoration.