Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 26th, 2004
|Theatrical Release Date: USA, January 29th, 1964
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, Peter George
Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens
|Approximate running time:||95 minutes||95 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||1.33:1 Full Frame||1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Mono English||DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Mono English|
|DVD Release:||Columbia / TriStar||Columbia / TriStar|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region 1 NTSC|
The Film :
Hostilities erupt between the U.S. and Russia when an American general Jack D. Ripper who is obsessed with protecting precious “bodily fluids” sets plan R into motion. The president and his top officials gather in the war room to discuss the ramifications of plan R the nuclear assault on Russia that could lead to the end of man kind. General Jack D. Ripper has sealed off his base and he is willing to take the recall code with him to his grave. The U.S. with help of the Russians manage to shoot down or recall all the planes before they hit their pay load in Russia, except one plane which is now flying under Russia’s radar.
Columbia’s new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove in presented in an anamorphic widescreen that frames the picture at about a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Their previous Dr. Strangelove DVD presented the film in a multi-aspect ratio format that fell between 1.33:1 and 1.66:1 aspect ratios. There has been some serious debate over the years what the true aspect ratio for the film is and this new 1.66:1 anamorphic version even though it some frames offer less information then previous Dr. Strangelove releases. This new release never compromises or drastically cut off any heads or information. Columbia’s new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove offers a vast improvement as the black levels have never been stronger and the overall image on this release is free of edge enhancement. The nicks and scratches that were present on the previous Dr. Strangelove DVD have been removed making this new DVD edition extremely pleasing to the eye. Other improvement’s Columbia has made with the 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove is the improvement in overall detail and contrast. The previous edition looked soft at times and overly bright taking away from this films beautifully shot black and white cinema photography.
The previous special edition DVD of Dr. Strangelove only came with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono track in English. The track for the most part is clean and free of noise; still it is too thin at times when dialog is being spoken. It lacked the power and sounded hollow at times when military scenes involving guns and explosions occurred. For the new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove Columbia has not only included a slightly improved Dolby Digital English mono track. They have also included a newly remixed DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 English tracks. For the most part the difference between the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 English tracks is too marginal to even notice. These two new remixes have come under fire from DVD purest who insist that remixing a mono track into DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 can not be done without drastically changing the texture of the soundtrack. The DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 offer the viewer a chance to hear the film like they have never before as the battle scenes this time around have that added punch they lacked on the mono track. Overall sonically they offer a better sound range then the mono track; still they have one minor draw back when dialog is being spoken it has an echo to it. Luckily this new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove also includes the original mono track which has been restored and has never sounded better.
The extras for the two releases are almost the same. They both included the two documentaries “The art of Stanley Kubrick from short films to Strangelove” and “Inside the making of Dr. Strangelove”. The original split screen interviews with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott have been included as well as the films original theatrical trailer. Other extras include production notes, original advertising gallery and talent files. Columbia’s new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove DVD includes all of these extras and it also includes two new documentaries and an interview “Best Sellers: Peter Sellers Remembered”, “No fighting in the war room or Dr. Strangelove and the nuclear threat”, and an interview with Robert McNamara.
There will always be pros and cons when any new DVD version of any film is released. Despite the controversy over the framing of Columbia’s new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove DVD and the adding of new remixed soundtracks. The clear winner is Columbia’s new 40th anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove DVD which offers the best audio/video presentation this film has seen to date and if that wasn’t enough they added even more extras then before.