On June 16, 2020, Columbia Pictures released Volume 1 of their series Columbia Classics on 4K, which includes six films: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Strangelove, Gandhi, A League of Their Own, and Jerry Maguire. I am reviewing them one at a time for expediency. The third one is . . .
Video: A superb 4K disc
Audio: Remastered with modern surround formats such as Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and Dolby Atmos.
Extras: Commentary and extras spanning the 2 disc 4K set
MSRP: $164.99 – Amazon $109.99
Runtime: 191 minutes
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $70,000,000
Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD 7.1, DTS HD Master Audio (5.1), DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Original Release Date: Feb 25, 1983 (USA) – 4K UHD: 2020
Director: Richard Attenborough
Starring: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Robini Hattangado
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
I had not seen Gandhi since its original theatrical release in 1982. It’s still a powerful motion picture with themes that resonate today perhaps even more than when the movie was made.
Director Richard Attenborough made other fine films, including A Bridge Too Far, Young Winton, and Magic, but he never surpassed this masterpiece.
The film is a biography of the lawyer who led the revolt against British rule. He practiced non-violence, while the British Empire did not.
Ben Kingsley did an Oscar-winning turn as the Indian leader, and the film received another seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.
Watching the film today is simply a thrill, not just for the content and portrayals, but it’s also a stunning visual experience. The remastering to 4K looks as good as anything I’ve seen on a 4K disc. Colors are at times muted, as was the wish of the director, but at times the HDR rendering gives us the film with striking visuals better than many moviegoers saw it on the big screen.
The audio is mostly across the front speakers, but there are environmental sounds in crowds and on trains that add to the enjoyment of viewing Gandhi. I did not to listen on an Atmos system, but I’ve no doubt those channels are active when the action calls for it.
The Oscar-nominated score by Ravi Shankar and George Fenton was a lovely mix, and I could hear it in the surrounds on my 7.1 system.
I watched the movie on my LG OLED screen with HDR, and again on a Sony 4K Projector. They were somewhat different experiences with the LG winning for the Dolby Vision render, but I still preferred the movie projected. I only can get a standard HDR curve on my Sony, but the larger screen brings this epic to life.
The extras are complete and were brought over from a previous Blu-ray release. My only real complaint about this compelling film is that for now at least, you have to buy the complete Columbia Classics collection, which includes Lawrence of Arabia, which we’ve reviewed in these pages, but lesser films (in my opinion) like Dr. Strangelove, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, A League of Their Own, and Jerry Maguire. Fine films all, but not on the plateau of Lawrence and Gandhi. I’m sure Columbia will let you buy the films individually at some point, but for now, buyers are stuck with the set.
Gandhi is an absolute revelation in 4K, and I really think everyone should have this film in their collection. It’s a tremendous story, with great direction, a beautiful production design, and wonderful acting from Ben Kingsley and his supporting cast.
I was swept away by the power of this motion picture and think you will be too. It’s highly relevant in our political environment, yet its themes are universal and never go out of date.