The Bridge on the River Kwai, one of the greatest films ever made, is given the appropriate reverential treatment by Columbia TriStar on the two-disc DVD of director David Lean's World War II prisoner of war epic that netted seven Oscars. For a film nearly half a century old, the transfer on the first disc is absolutely gorgeous. The jungle colors pop out so vividly it seems like the film was shot yesterday. The movie is presented in a special widescreen version that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. As for the soundtrack, the jungle never sounded so good; the soundtrack has been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Disc one also contains an isolated musical score and special DVD-ROM components. The second disc is nothing but special features, including a making-of documentary, a period feature about the making of the film, and a short film narrated by star William Holden that compares and contrasts movies with novels. A photo gallery, talent files, and an homage by filmmaker John Milius completes disc two. A collectible booklet accompanies the double-disc set.
Digitally mastered audio and anamorphic video
Audio: English 5.1 [Dolby Digital] and 2-channel [Dolby Surround], French, Spanish, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai
Movies like this are the reason to upgrade to 4k. Be aware that there is noticeable film grain in the image, but that's because this movie was shot on film. So owning this disk is essentially having a perfectly preserved 35mm print of the film at your disposal to watch at any time. It is glorious, especially when considering that there are no special effects or miniatures on display here. Everything you see is what the camera operators saw, full scale, during shooting. A classic.
Although Kwai is one of the greatest movies ever made and this is the best looking version of it any of us will ever see, I can't figure out who at Sony thought this the best choice for their first old classic film to be issued on 4K bluray. I would have thought they'd want to blow people away with their first such release! Kwai. Although an incredible movie, it is a film plagued by image quality issues. Equipment problems and a faulty prime lens (which could not be replaced in time to be of any help) resulted in sharpness issues in many scenes. Excessive film grain problems are only enhanced in 4K. Sony also owns another classic masterpiece by the same director, David Lean (and it too won the Best Picture Oscar), and which was filmed in 65mm (the equivalent of roughly 11k!) and looks amazing. They even have a 4K transfer which I've seen and it is SPECTACULAR! The grain structure of this film shot on large format film as practically microscopic and the sharpness in eye boggling! It would have made a far more impressive choice to usher in Sony classics on 4K bluray than the image flawed Kwai. If you love this film as I do, you will never see a better version available--buy it. But it is still a very weird choice for this format--and one which will blow nobody away.