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Category:    Home > Reviews > Morituri (DVD-Video)

Morituri (DVD-Video)


Picture:  C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: B-



Morituri (1965) has always been an odd mix of cast and ideas trying in its wacky way to appeal to a broad audience.  It reunites Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard a few years after their epic remake of Mutiny On The Bounty (1962), while throwing in no less than Yul Brynner to go at it with Brando, who is playing a slippery German officer in World War II with the kind of challenging ambiguity that makes him one of the most important actors of all time.  Throw in Janet Margolin as a Holocaust survivor, Oscar Beregi as a German Admiral and Wally Cox as a drug addict Doctor among a group of mostly unknown actors and you can imagine any viewer is in for it.


This is a film that has never worked for me, no matter how many good moments it has to offer.  The acting is certainly enough to keep the film going, but it does not have the best rewatchability.  Some of the politics implied in the film have become all the more explicit about the war and Holocaust, some of the moments seem tame.  If it were not for how ambitious key acting scenes were, this would be even more dated.  More than a war film, despite being released as part of the latest wave of Fox Video’s “War Classics” series, you can judge for yourself.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image looks to have come off of the analog master that has been used for letterboxed TV presentations, explaining the softness and limits in Video Black.  The great Conrad Hall, the late master cameraman known now as Conrad L. Hall due to his son (Conrad W. Hall) entering the same field with the same craftsmanship, shot the film and saves it from being even more of the “talking heads” film Daniel Taradash’s screenplay adaptation of Werner Joerg Luedecke’s novel would give us. 


The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is available in 2.0 English Stereo, English Mono & Spanish Mono.  Though the stereo version is the best by default, it is no match for the CD soundtrack music by Jerry Goldsmith from Film Score Monthly’s FSM CD label, the master tapes of which were obviously NOT used to do the sound here.  That is tragic, since Jerry Goldsmith’s score is so good and works so well with what is a mixed film.  (See http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review.php?id=248&filter=M for more details.)  The only extras include five trailers for the War genre releases, including two for this one.  The first one could be deemed a teaser, but either way, this whole disc is worth checking into.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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