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This review originally appeared in issue 9 of THE CINEMA LASER.


Some have complained that Columbia/TriStar's Letterboxed edition of BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI ($50) was a disappointment because the film wasn't given a full restoration. I will not dispute the validity of their argument, since I am all for film preservation and restoration. What I will say is the current Letterboxed release of BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI is not a disappointment, instead I will say that in comparison to anything else I have seen on this film, this Laserdisc is a revelation. First of all, to have the CinemaScope image restored makes this Laserdisc a must have. Other aspects of the Letterboxed transfer also make this release worthwhile. The level of sharpness and detail found in the image is exemplary. Colors are also outstanding, they are lush and well saturated; certainly better than anything I have ever seen on this film.

BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI has been given a new Dolby Surround mix from the original dialog, effects and music tracks. The soundtrack is wonderful for something that was created from original recordings that are almost forty years old. The Sony (DADC) pressing had its share of inclusions, but they weren't too distracting.

As for the film itself, it makes a strong statement about how a soldier's dedication to his duty can become an obsession and blind him everything else, including reality. Alec Guinness give a great performance as the captured British CO who becomes obsessed with bridge of the title. William Holden, Jack Hawkins and Sessue Hayakawa star with Guinness in this WWII classic.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1996 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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