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Category:    Home > Reviews > Epic > Racism > Propaganda > Silent Film > Action > Comedy > Revolutionary War > Large Frame Format > Trav > Birth Of A Nation (1915/Brownlow restoration/2018 Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Patriot 4K (2000/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/This Is Cinerama (1952)/Windjammer: The Voyage Of The

Birth Of A Nation (1915/Brownlow restoration/2018 Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/The Patriot 4K (2000/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/This Is Cinerama (1952)/Windjammer: The Voyage Of The Christian Radich (1958/both Flicker Alley reissue upgrade Blu-ray editions)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B/B+/B+/A- Sound: B/A B+ B/B/B Extras: B/B/B/C+ Films: B/B/B+/B

PLEASE NOTE: The Birth Of A Nation Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, from the links below.

Up next are four big screen epic hits, all in new upgraded versions that render all previous editions old...

We start with a new upgrade of D.W. Griffith's Birth Of A Nation (1915), a film whose title was highjacked for a film that landed up having all kind of controversial issues of its own (reviewed on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), while this 1915 first-ever blockbuster epic was previously issued in an impressive 3-disc set with the last two restorations of the film that we covered at this link...


In what started out as another project including serious film lovers, scholars and historians like Kevin Brownlow led to this full restoration of the film, which was big and epic for its time, especially with large frame formats not being experimented with for another decade or so. This edition is a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray, coming out at a time where the film takes on a new relevance one wish it did not, but do be it. My opinion that it is a great epic propaganda film, no matter the director's feelings or beliefs, stands. Of course, he would collapse under his own point of view and ambition with Intolerance a few years later, go bankrupt, only briefly become one of the founders of United Artists Studios and be washed away with the sound film era (his own sound films duds) and loose his studio space to the then-new MGM. However, like all films, it needed a full restoration and it got one.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the two Blu-ray discs offer a ton of extras to rival the previous Kino edition.

Blu-ray Disc One includes a 1930 Sound Reissue Prologue, D.W. Griffith in conversation with Walter Huston, star of his 1930 sound film Abraham Lincoln, 1930 Sound Reissue Intermission and Introduction to Act 2 and Huston recites sections from Woodrow Wilson's A History of the American People.

Disc Two adds Outtakes and Original Camera Tests, Stills and Collections Gallery, Silent Feature: The Coward (1915 ~ Produced by Thomas H. Ince, Directed by Reginald Barker) Released nine months after The Birth of a Nation premiered, this Civil War drama concerns the weak-willed son (Charles Ray) of a Southern officer (Frank Keenan), forced to enlist at gunpoint, and coming to terms with cowardice. Silent Short: The Rose of Kentucky (1911 ~ Directed by D.W. Griffith) Three years before shooting on Birth began, Griffith made his only other film featuring the Klan, in this case labeled the Night Riders, and cast as the villains. Silent Short: Stolen Glory (1912 ~ Directed by Mack Sennett) Sennett, who had worked under Griffith at Biograph Studios, had a great fondness for improvising comedy shorts around actual events, in this case a parade of the Grand Army of the Republic, the principal veterans organization for those who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Silent Short: The Drummer of the 8th Original Edit The Drummer of the 8th 2015 Re-Edit (1913 ~ Produced by Thomas H. Ince, Directed by Jay Hunt) Presented in two versions. The Re-Edit shifts the position of later, seemingly out-of-order sequences encountered in the Library of Congress original negative holdings. Both cuts use all existing footage., The Birth of a Nation Score Recording Sessions in 5.1 Audio, D.W. Griffith on Lux Radio Theater with Cecil B. DeMille, The Birth of a Nation: The Legacy Directed, Written and Edited by John McCarty, The Clansman: From Stage to Screen Directed and Edited by Daniel Griffith Text Essay: We Can Never Censor the Past by Kevin Brownlow, Text Essay The Birth of a Nation: The 2015 Restoration by Patrick Stanbury and Text Essay Fighting Back: Responding to The Birth of a Nation by Ashley Clark.

Director Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day), a modern filmmaker who has made more bad films than good, directs this historical epic The Patriot (2000), which also happens to be one of Mel Gibson's finest performances (and before he got all controversial). This is definitely one of Emmerich's best films and is now newly restored here in 4K for this The Patriot 4K release. Also featuring the late Heath Ledger, Chris Cooper, and Jason Issacs amongst several others, the film may not be entirely historically accurate, but sure is a lot of fun to watch, especially in this newly enhanced presentation.

Set in South Carolina in the year 1776, the British redcoats have invaded and it's every man and woman for themselves. Amidst the battle of humanity, Benjamin Martin (Gibson), his son Gabriel (Ledger), and family fight for survival and end up engaged in mortal combat.

Not sure why they didn't include the unrated in 4K but it still looks fine for the format, but extras include a digital copy and other Special Features besides those include two versions of the film are as follows...

4K UHD Special Features:

Theatrical Version of the Film (165 minutes)

Director & Producer Commentary

7 Deleted Scenes with Commentary

Three Featurettes:

The Art of War

The True Patriots

Visual Effects Interactive

Conceptual Art to Film Comparisons, Photo Galleries, Theatrical Trailer


Extended Version of the Film (175 minutes)

Two Featurettes:

The Art of War

The True Patriots

Again, one of my personal favorite Mel Gibson films, The Patriot is worthy of repurchasing in this 4K UHD upgrade, plus you get the older disc included.

Both Flicker Alley reissue upgrade Blu-ray editions, starting with Robert L. Bendick's This Is Cinerama (1952), which makes for an interesting comparison to the Griffith Birth Of A Nation, because it reflects an optimistic, progressive, post-WWII U.S.A. versus one that is a mess and made worse by the worse possible ideas. We reviewed the previous Blu-ray restoration at this link...


To see it upgraded like this is like seeing for the first time again, now matching much more closely the sensation, hype and blockbuster results of the original release. As spectacular as any large frame format before or since, it is also one of the great independent classics (had to think of it like that, but it was not made by a major studio) and anything you might chuckle at as a gimmick is more than made up for by its imaginative shots, sound design and amazing cinematography. This was worth all the effort put into it to save and deliver it more closely to the original photochemical film presentations.

Extras are not exactly the same as the last set, but most are similar including a Feature Length Audio Commentary Track with John Sittig (Cinerama Inc.), David Strohmaier (Cinerama Restorer), Randy Gitsch (Cinerama Historian), and Jim Morrison (original crew member), The Best in the Biz: An updated hour-long documentary about the composers of Cinerama, Restoring This is Cinerama: A detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the brand-new restoration, Alternate European Opening to Act Two: a European-oriented segue into the second half of the film, featuring a panoramic view of the United States from the nose of a B-25 bomber plane, Cinerama Everywhere: A French-produced short on the Cinerama tent shows in Europe, Tribute to the New Neon Movies: a short film celebrating an Ohio theater where a projectionist revived Cinerama through special screenings for people from all over the country, Radio Interview with Cinerama Creator, Fred Waller recorded on the eve of opening night, This is Cinerama trailer Updated recreation of theatrical trailer with newly-restored clips, Cinerama Returns to the Cinerama Dome (2002 Announcement Trailer): Promotional short for the 50th anniversary of Cinerama and its return to the fabled Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, "Breakdown Reel" - footage originally projected interstitially during Cinerama interruptions and TV Spots - Original television ads for This is Cinerama and Seven Wonders of the World.

Louis De Rochemont III and Bill Colleran's Windjammer: The Voyage Of The Christian Radich (1958) was meant to be the big spectacular competitor to This is Cinerama, called Cinemiracle, getting rid of the visible lines better between the three projected 35mm film strips that made up the single image throughout and this new restoration is so good, in a rare moment, I actually landed up liking the film more than when I saw it for the first time. My first reactions on the film can be read in the review of the older Blu-ray at this link...


In fairness, film stocks became a little faster a few years between the debut of the two formats, but detail and clarity here can be stunning and both offer demo moments constantly. I'll get to the playback quality and improvements below, but the makers here were being ambitious in the hopes of having two formats that would compete with each other and lead to decades of such productions. However, these films were so expensive to produce that Cinerama started turning to 70mm to shoot the films and then do blow-ups for three-projection theaters, while Cinemiracle was eventually bought by Cinerama, so this was their only film. However, they are both classic and must-sees for all serious film fans.

Here too, we lose a few extras, but we get most of the older releases goodies, including The Windjammer Voyage: A Cinemiracle Adventure documentary by historian Dave Strohmaier on the film's production, The Reconstruction of Windjammer behind the scenes look at the reconstruction and restoration of Windjammer from the original Cinemiracle camera elements, The Windjammer Breakdown Reel, The Christian Radich Today: a modern look at the famous ship at the Aalbourg, Denmark Tall Ships Festival 2010, Windjammer trailer: a new re-creation from the original 1958 release trailer, Windjammer Behind The Scenes Slideshow: images from the production of the film and the impressive Cinemiracle Showplaces Slideshow: a look at the unique venues that screened Windjammer.

Most notable is the original Blu-ray edition included DVDs and the booklets reproduced their theater programs. Hardcore fans will want both editions.

Presented in a 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the 4K disc, the film looks and sounds incredible in this new 4K remaster of the theatrical version of the film with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1. This is another film that I have seen on various formats over the years and was constantly noticing things I didn't before. The film is beautifully shot and the money is on the screen here. The sound mix is also something to behind in 11.1 Dolby Atmos that's ideal for battle sequences and heightens John Williams' epic score. Also on the disc are tracks in a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown from the Atmos and slightly less smooth DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the 4K disc, while the older Blu-ray we covered years ago retains its PCM 5.1 mix. However, what sounded really strong a decade ago now sounds harsher than remembered and is the least of the three choices.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer (centered in a 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 frame) on Nation can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film being so clean and from the most first-generation sources the film is ever to originate from, lucky to have survived for so long. The kind of scratches on each frame film fans used to tolerate on home video and older film copies is being put to pasture, so now you can really see (for better and worse) what Griffith did. The new DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix of the new music score is fine, but nothing out of the ordinary and just fine for a new recording.

That leaves the 1080p 2.59 X 1 Smilebox digital High Definition image on Cinerama and Windjammer are great upgrades from their original Blu-ray releases, finally coming from the original three panel, 6-perf 35mm materials as close to the first generation materials as possible. The older Cinerama Blu-ray was from a 70mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor print of the film that was rejected in the early 1970s. That was fine under the circumstances and the restoration team did a great job at the time getting the best color out of it and it was the most impressive the film had been in eons. Now, the film has even better color (the team seems to have used the older work as a guide too) and the film is much more of the true experience it was intended to be in 1952, stunning and looking great.

Windjammer has its previous Blu-ray derive a faded, anamorphic 35mm print the team painstakingly did what they could to bring up to spec. Now, they were able to also go back to the original three panel, 6-perf 35mm materials and the results are incredible, even a little more impressive than Cinerama and is looking as good as any of the cinerama films on Blu-ray they have issued, now that they have completed all of them. This looks great. I guess these are among the candidates for Flicker Alley's first 4K discs when they start supporting that format.

Both Flicker Alley titles have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes from their original 8-track magnetic soundmaster with traveling dialogue and sound effects, sounding as good as expected, so no problem there either.

All in all, four releases with great demo moments, history and other surprises to catch.

To order The Birth Of A Nation (1915) limited edition Blu-ray, buy them while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo & James Lockhart (4K)



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