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The Cruel Sea [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English PCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English HOH
  • Classification: PG
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 13, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004OQJSRW[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

From Optimum’s Classic label comes one of the better British World War II films of the post-war years. 1953’s The Cruel Sea was based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Monsarrat. It had already sold over 4 million copies when it was adapted to film two years later. Directed by Charles Frend with a screenplay by Eric Ambler, the story follows Royal Naval Cmdr. Ericson who is assigned to convoy escort HMS Compass Rose with a brand-new crew of inexperienced men. Together, the crew must endure the harsh seas of the Northern Atlantic, rescue men attacked by German U-Boats with hardly the ability to fight back. Filled with wonderful footage of the seas, and at times intense, nearly claustrophobic drama down below deck, the drama unfolds as the men develop a wartime bond that will see them through the impossible task of survival.

This is another in a triad of war classics that includes Ice Cold in Alex and Cross of Iron, which Optimum is releasing together, that is well worthy of rediscovery by film fans.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Only so much can be done to restore a film from 1953, but Optimum has done a pretty good job to keep The Cruel Sea looking film-like in this AVC 1080p encodement. Grain stays pretty much consistent and blacks levels are relatively deep, although they do waver. On the other hand, there is still a bit of source damage like scratches, specks of dust and tramlines that appear throughout the transfer.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The monaural soundtrack arrives in a PCM 2.0 encodement here and it is adequate for the material, but certainly won’t be a stunning home theatre reference. Surprisingly, the explosions have a good amount of depth, more so than in the monaural mix from Cross of Iron, a 1977 film that I also just reviewed. Dialogue is clean and intelligible as well.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

Supplements are a bit thin on this release, but there is a good interview with Donald Sinden (“Lockhart”) that should be of interest to viewers.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Interview with Donald Sinden
  • Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery
  • Trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

An impressive array of cinematography and acting performances bring out the grueling Northern Atlantic arena of World War II while the competent transfer in 1080p makes this well worth the upgrade.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004OQJSRW[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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