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The Bridge On The River Kwai 4K Steelbook Review

“The Bridge On The River Kwai” is a cinematic classic.

Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, 1957’s “The Bridge On The River Kwai” is a war drama that focuses on a group of British POWs (including Colonel Nicholson) that arrive at a remote jungle Japanese prison camp run by the harsh Colonel Saito. The other key player here is an U.S. Navy POW (Commander Shears) who is already at the camp. Saito is intent on driving the prisoners (and breaking conventions) to build a bridge by a specific date. Nicholson, however, is stubborn and is obsessed with duty and law which complicates Saito’s mission. Shears, meanwhile, miraculously manages to escape the camp, but is recruited to head back into the nightmare he just came from to blow up the bridge alongside a special squad known as Force 316.

Although director David Lean’s “The Bridge On The River Kwai” is very much an epic filled with wartime drama, high stakes, a men on a mission plot, giant spectacles (including the titular bridge), big themes about survival and humanity, and a scope that only a big screen adventure can offer, it also doubles as an intense character piece. The power struggle between Nicholson and Saito, the clash of ideologies and principles between the three lead characters, and the effect that war has had on everyone and their sanity is the core of the script penned by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson. There’s so much going on in every second of this movie and not a single second is wasted. It’s the type of film that lives up to its “masterpiece” billing. In fact, it rivals the likes of “Lawrence Of Arabia” as one of Lean’s best.

All that aside, ‘Kwai’ is also a masterclass in acting as two of the greatest actors in cinema history with William Holden and Alec Guinness deliver some of their finest performances. Whether they’re on screen together or not, they bring these larger than life characters to life and effortlessly make them fully realized characters. There are so many layers to their characters and each of them have such a significant arc that the actors relish sinking their teeth into. Jack Hawkins (Major Warden) and Sessue Hayakawa (Commander Saito) also deserve tremendous credit for their performances too.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 2160p. How does it look? Filmed in Technicolor and Cinemascope, this print is crisp. The exteriors are especially noteworthy.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? A little soft in spots, but a quality track nonetheless (especially during the action sequences).

Extras:
* Digital copy
* Blu-ray copy
* Photo gallery
* 2 “The Bridge On The River Kwai” trailers and other Sony trailers.
* “Crossing The Bridge: Picture-In-Graphics Track”- A pop up picture-in-picture video feature that offers up all sorts of factoids about the production.
* “Making Of The Bridge On The River Kwai”- An insightful and fascinating 53 minute making of featurette
* William Holden and Alec Guinness on “The Steve Allen Show.”
* “The Bridge On The River Kwai Premiere Narrated By William Holden”- Holden discusses the premiere over photo stills.
* “Rise And Fall Of A Jungle Giant”- A look at the building of the bridge.
* “USC Short Film Introduced By William Holden”- A vintage B&W short film shot during the production of ‘Kwai’ about evaluating cinema and literature.
* “An Appreciation By Filmmaker John Milius.”

June 8, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , ,

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