Khartoum, United Artists, 1966.
Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, was occupied by Egypt in the late 1880s, and a leader emerged, calling himself the Mahdi. He led an uprising to throw the Egyptians and British out, and the British sent an emissary, General Charles Gordon, to try and prevent war, but he decides to help the people there defend the city instead.
Gordon is played by Charlton Heston, and it is interesting to hear him use an English accent. However, Laurence Olivier steals the show with an incredible performance as the Mahdi. He is unrecognizable in his makeup, and his Muslim accent is so perfect, I wondered if his voice was dubbed.
Here is the Mahdi, overseeing an attack on the British before Gordon is sent there.
You can see that the aspect ratio is very wide, due to the Ultra Panavision shot on 70 mm film.
One of the first things Gordon does is to go to the Mahdi’s camp alone. He speaks with him.
The Mahdi says he is the chosen one and will liberate Khartoum by violence through holy war, which will make the world fear him.
Gordon knows he now has to reinforce Khartoum immediately, hoping that London will send troops in time to help.
The climax of the film shows the disaster that ensues because the British arrive three days too late. It is based on a true story.
The movie is listed by Cinerama, which used three cameras side-by-side at the beginning (1950’s – early 1960’s), but three cameras were very expensive, and only a few movies were actually filmed as such. This one was Ultra Panavision and was shown in Cinerama theaters using a single projector. The view was very wide angle, but not really the same thing as using three cameras.
Nevertheless, Khartoum is an excellent motion picture and is free to view on the Internet. Well worth seeing. Back in the day when CGI was not used for all the backgrounds. Real actors, superb storyline, amazing acting, beautiful cinematography that would be at least 4K if it were shot with digital cameras.
Run Silent, Run Deep, United Artists, 1958.
Submarine movies about WW II have always been popular. This one, from 1958, is really good, and it is free on the Internet. Directed by Robert Wise, who also directed West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965).
It stars Clark Gable as Commander Rich Richardson and Burt Lancaster as Lieutenant James Bledsoe. It is 1942, and a US submarine, under the command of Richardson is sunk in the Bungo Straits, near Japan. Most of the crew survives, but Richardson is given a desk job. A year later, he requests a command on another submarine, the USS Nerka, so he can go back to the Bungo Straits and sink the ship that destroyed his original sub. The problem is that Lieutenant Bledsoe thought that sub was his to command, so the two go into the sea again at odds with each other. The orders are to avoid the Bungo Straights, but Richardson disobeys those orders.
The captain of the Japanese ship, “Bungo Pete”, that Richardson is after.
Richardson faces contempt from the crew that felt Bledsoe should have been the commander.
The crew loves their true commander. Note the actor to the left of Lancaster. That is comedian Don Rickles. He was a character actor, apparently. He was also in another submarine movie, Destination Tokyo (1943), with Cary Grant as the submarine commander.
Bledsoe does not particularly care for the fact that Richardson has been given command of his sub.
That is veteran actor, Jack Warden, to the right of Gable.
Bledsoe takes over command of the Nerka, and Richardson is, as we might imagine, pissed. Notice the difference in his face from several screenshots above where he is standing in a similar position and profile.
The Japanese ship is sighted in the Bungo Straits, and the two commanders join forces to do the job.
They cruise directly toward the ship’s bow. It’s a difficult shot due to the narrow profile of the ship.
Two torpedoes are launched for the bow shot.
Adios Bungo Pete.
Great action and fine acting.
Nobody, Universal Studios, UHD BluRay, 2021
Video: 2160p HEVC/H.265
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos
French (Canadian): Dolby Digital 5.1
(Latin) Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Length: 92 minutes
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside
I watched the 4K disc of the 2021 movie ‘Nobody’ pretty much blind. One friend whose taste I trust said it was a must-see, so armed with no information I gave it a try. Wow. I’m glad I did.
It’s a crime/revenge movie, but much more than that. It’s seemed a blend of the old Death Wish movies with Charles Bronson, and the newer John Wick movies.
Star Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) at first seems completely miscast as an action hero, but in fact, he’s perfect. The film opens on a montage showing Odenkirk’s character as a bit of a loser, but events make short work of this, as it turns out our hero has a hidden past and lots of tricks up his sleeve as he goes against the Russian syndicate.
I don’t want to go into too many details or I’ll risk spoiling this movie for you. Suffice to say if you like action movies with a twist this is for you. It’s better than the Liam Neeson films, which have gone from good to groaners.
The 4K rendering looked just great. A lot of the film takes place in low light, and that’s where 4K with HDR shines. I couldn’t see any digital artifacts or bothersome noise. Colors pop, but never look juiced up.
The English Dolby Atmos mix (which I heard in 7.1) mix is excellent as well. Fights scenes have a high dynamic range, and while the surround is mostly environmental, there are some really good directional effects. Dialogue is clear.
Nobody comes with the standard Blu-ray and a redeemable code for the film.
Audio Commentary with actor/producer Bob Odenkirk and director Ilya Naishuller
Deleted Scenes (4K, 4:58)
Hutch Hits Hard (4K, 3:52) – A brief featurette about training Bob Odenkirk for the film. Breaking Down The Action (4K, 19:07) – A close look at 4 action sequences and how they were done showing rehearsals, staging, and setup
Just A Nobody (4K, 12:53) – How the oil came to be and was put together
Is this a strong recommendation? Yes. A great story, tense at times, with plenty of humor. As a 4K disc, it looks and sounds great.
Star Trek: The Original 4 movies 4K Ultra HD/BD Collection – Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Just in time for Trek’s 55 anniversary, this set had been newly remastered from the original elements and enhanced with Dolby Vision (and HDR 10). The Wrath of Khan gets the theatrical release as well as the Director’s cut. The Motion Picture gets a new Dolby 2.0 isolated soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith for your listening pleasure. Otherwise, the Extras are pretty much the same as on the prior BD releases, which is quite generous in features and commentaries.
The Motion Picture, though visually stunning, was perhaps the weakest adventure for the intrepid crew. I felt the film to be a bit too long and big in dialog, but small in action. Maybe a bit too cerebral for fans of the TV series. The effects here hold up well and look great in DV. For those who might not be familiar with the story, a super-sized spaceship is heading toward Earth looking for its creator. The idea here is “what if we sent out a probe and one day the probe comes back with a response. In spite of good intentions, this movie almost sank the franchise.
Enter The Wrath of Khan. An old nemesis arises from the TV episode called Space Seed. In that original episode, Khan tried to take over the Enterprise, but despite his superior intellect, Kirk maroons him on a planet to start his own world from scratch. The movie sets up years later after, unbeknownst to the Federation, an exploded star had knocked Khan’s world out of orbit and laying waste to the ecosystem. When a Federation of Planets survey team rediscovers an embittered Khan and company, they steal the survey ship and head off to get revenge on Kirk. Add to the mix, the Genesis device which can create worlds out of nothing or destroy existing worlds and remake them. Anyway, we welcome back some great action in this film, and it feels like old times again. But wait! Spock is killed off and shot into space while the bagpipes play Amazing Grace. This of course is a setup for…
The Search for Spock. Before Spock dies, he transplants his memories into McCoy. The crew heads back to the Genesis planet where Spock’s body has landed and been re-born. Klingons get wind of the Genesis device and show up in time to throw cold Romulan ale on everything. Kirk fights the Klingon, Capt. Kruge (played wonderfully by Christopher Lloyd) in a battle to the death. Kirk wins, but the Enterprise is destroyed. Yikes, being around Kirk is bad for your health. Anyway, they take Spock (in a new body that looks like the old Spock) back to Vulcan and they take his mind out of McCoy and back into the rightful Spock, but a new crisis appears back on Earth.
The Voyage Home. To me, this is a silly storyline, but it was directed by Nimoy, so I cut him a lot of slack. An alien probe comes knocking and sings the song of the humpback whales (they actually had CDs with this stuff on it in the ’80s) and the crew has to go back in time to the 1980s and bring back a whale to answer the probes inquiries or it’ll destroy the earth for some reason. Amusing situations occur as the crew has to deal with the crazy 1980s in San Francisco. They return to the future, dump the whales into the ocean and they respond appropriately, and the world is saved, yet again, by Kirk and crew. Thus ends the three film “Genesis Arch”.
Bottom line, these films look great and have equally good sound, though the bass is much louder in Khan. Since they come with tons of Extras and BD copies, too. I recommend you beam down to your local Best Buy and snag this set. Like Spock says, “Live long and propagate”…or something like that.