Where Eagles Dare
review by Zach B.
In this World War II action favorite, a British aircraft is shot down and crashes into an area occupied by Nazis. There is one survivor, who knows secret plans for the Allies. The British then launch a rescue mission, led by Major John Smith (Richard Burton). But a man who joins the rescue team, an American lieutenant by the name of Morris Schaffer, a little suspicion begins to rise as far as his purpose and what may just happen.
Fun Fact: The movie follows the book pretty closely - probably since write Alistair MacLean wrote the screenplay and the novel.
"Where Eagles Dare" has been given a new digital transfer, presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. For a film from 1969, it does look pretty good. Fleshtones are quite nice, detail is surprisingly strong and the color saturation is pretty strong with bold colors that look fitting and no bleeding. Still, the transfer is a little soft, has some artifacting and there is edge enhancment. There are also the ever-so distracting scratches, blemishes and dirt pieces on the print. Nonetheless, some effort seems to have gone into this transfer.
There is no original English mono unfortuantely, but you do get a 5.1 English Dolby Digital remix that sounds largely... mono. The surrounds seem pretty separated, and really don't offer that much - it's all pretty uniform - airplanes flying, the action... nothing at all stands out and sounds too discrete. Dialogue is pretty clear and easy to hear, while the only thing that really seems to stand out and help give some life is the musical score. This is a remix track that isn't too successful. It's fine and you can hear things, but there really isn't much to it. Also included are a French Dolby Surround track, English closed captions, English subtitles, French subtitles and Spanish subtitles.
The main draw here is the featurette On Location: Where Eagles Dare. In full frame and lasting a little over twelve-and-a-half minutes, this featurette was made around the time the film was released. Man, how times have changed - this seems to be a serious mini-documentary instead of the usual promotional fluff. It's a good watch with a lot of behind-the-scenes clips and focuses on what the movie is about, and what shooting in the Alps was like. It's pretty fascinating and offers some interesting production stories thanks to a narrator and interviews with those involved with the film on what it was like to work on this movie - well worth a watch. Why can't more featurettes these days be like this? It's not stylized or fluffy, but feels "real" - and that's important.
There are also film highlights of Eastwood's career (plus a cast and crew listing) and a Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen (which is pretty good).
"Where Eagles Dare" is an Eastwood favorite, and this DVD release is quite nice. With an all-new digital transfer, decent 5.1 remix and a decent featurette, all for a right price, makes this one worth adding to your DVD collection.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Retail Price: $`19.98
Features: On Location: Where Eagles Dare, Eastwood Film Highlights, Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (42 Scenes)
Released: September 2nd, 2003
Running Time: 155 minutes
Starring: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure, Patrick Wymark, Michael Hordern
Story and Screenplay by:
Directed by: Brian G. Hutton