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Sergeant York Blu-ray Review

“Sergeant York” is a Howard Hawks classic.

1941’s “Sergeant York” is a biopic on the real life figure Alvin York. York was a simple religious country farmer who became a decorated WWI hero despite being a conscientious objector. The first half of the film takes place in his small Tennessee town where we get to know York, his family, his love interest (Gracie), his hard working spirit, his faith, his shooting skills, and his goal to buy a piece of land and start a life with Gracie. Things don’t quite go as planned though when he is drafted into war. The second half of the film takes place during the war (namely Meuse-Argonne offensive) and after it.

Directed by the legendary Howard Hawks and based on the book “Sergeant York: His Own Life Story And War Diary,” “Sergeant York” might be a bit too much of a propaganda film by today’s standards, but it’s nonetheless a moving piece of cinema. Aside from the recent “Hacksaw Ridge,” there aren’t many tales of a pacifist soldier so it’s always fascinating to see a war story from that perspective (especially when forced into violence). 

In terms of the Tenn. stuff here, it is a little derpy and stereotyped, but I appreciate the fact that the script takes the time to explore York and his tight knit community. Could the story have focused a bit more on his war heroics? For sure, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that “Sergeant York” is an extraordinary story about an everyman who became a hero.

This is for sure Gary Cooper’s movie through and through. It’s no secret the actor could be wooden and stiff at times, but in ‘York’ he delivers one of his best and most moving performances. There are some stand-out supporting performances as well here most notably by Walter Brennan (as the local Pastor) and Margaret Wycherly as York’s supportive mother.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? You can’t ask for a better transfer for this B&W film. 

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? This is a nice clean audio track that is especially lively during war scenes.


Extras:
* Theatrical re-issue trailer
* Commentary by film historian Jeanine Basinger.
* “Porky’s Preview” cartoon.
* A short film titled “Lions For Sale.”
* “Sergeant York: Of God And Country”- A making of featurette narrated by Liam Neeson that covers the film’s fascinating history.

April 27, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks ggreat blog post

    Comment by Gerard Walker | October 12, 2021 | Reply


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