Damn the Defiant! [DVD] [1962]

Lewis Gilbert's Damn the Defiant! was among the last historical films of its kind, produced with a big-name cast (Alec Guinness, Dirk Bogarde, Anthony Quayle, etc.) on a multimillion-dollar budget. It was also shot in CinemaScope, which means that the DVD is a major revelation. Since its theatrical run in 1962, hardly anyone had ever seen it in widescreen, and the movie never made it to laserdisc. Television showings looked grainy and, mastered in full-screen, the film was always missing half its original image. In addition, considering the way that Gilbert utilized the background of his 18th century warship setting in practically every shot -- decorated accurately down to the smallest detail -- this was a major loss. To further illustrate the difference, one side of this DVD contains the film mastered in full-screen, while the other gives us the proper, letterboxed, 2.35:1 anamorphic image, in stunning detail and color. Audiences finally get something akin to what theatergoers were paying for in 1962, with good acting throughout, an excellent story, and a ton of activity and production values at every corner of the screen. The original advertising art is included in the supplementary materials, though the best material is in the printed insert, giving the entire pre-production history of the movie, in addition to its literary and historical origins. The 101-minute movie has also been given a very generous ration of 28 chapters, accessible through a straightforward menu that opens automatically on start-up.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered audio
  • Anamorphic video
  • Widescreen and full-screen presentations
  • Vintage advertising
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Talent files
  • English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai subtitles
  • Scene selections
  • Production notes

Synopsis

Damn the Defiant!
Damn the Defiant! is an 18th-century seafaring drama from director Lewis Gilbert. Alec Guinness plays the stern but compassionate captain of a British warship, engaged in the Napoleonic wars. Guinness is popular with his men, which is more than can be said for his new second-in-command Dirk Bogarde. When Guinness tries to modify Bogarde's sadistic adherence to discipline, Bogarde responds by mistreating Guinness' cabin-boy son, knowing that the captain cannot intervene under the edicts of British maritime law. During an incipient mutiny, Bogarde is accidently killed, and Guinness knows that the crewmen responsible must hang once they reach shore. But after these same men perform courageously in battle, Guinness suffers a crisis of conscience: How can he condemn these fearlessly patriotic men to death, as he knows he must? Based on the novel Mutiny by Frank Tilsley. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Alec Guinness
    Alec Guinness - Capt. Crawford
  • Dirk Bogarde
    Dirk Bogarde - Lt. Scott-Padget
  • Anthony Quayle
    Anthony Quayle - Vizard
  • Tom Bell
    Tom Bell - Evans
  • Maurice Denham
    Maurice Denham - Surgeon Goss
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