Released for only $AU15 in Australia on Blu-Ray this is a movie we hadn't heard of, but it's probably one worth picking up as it tells the story of a couple whose lives are thrown together before witnessing one of the worst atrocities in American history, the Sand Creek massacre.
After a cavalry group is massacred by the Cheyenne, only two survivors remain: Honus, a naive private devoted to his duty, and Cresta, a young woman who had lived with the Cheyenne for two years. Together, they must try to reach the cavalry's main base camp. As they travel onward, Honus is torn between his growing affection for Cresta, and his disgust for her anti-American beliefs. They reach the cavalry campsite on the eve of an attack on a Cheyenne village, where Honus will learn which side has really been telling him the truth...
For the most part this film is a story between two people the fall in love before a climactic battle sequence which depicts a real-life massacre. Headlining this movie is a very young Candice Bergen (who is now most well known for her roles in Murphy Brown and Boston Legal on TV) and who puts in a fine performance at the age of 23. Candice is joined by Peter Strauss as the uptight Honus Gent and he also puts in a decent peroformance as someone who follows duty and rules to the letter.
Fans of this film will also like to know that the Blu-Ray contains the longer 115 minute version of the film rather then the theatrical release in America which ran around 3 minutes shorter. We're not sure what is included in this longer version, perhaps some additional violence.
Soldier Blue is a film I had no prior knowledge of before receiging the disc, but it's a decent film which more importantly sheds some light on one of the worst atrocities in American history and for that reason alone I'm glad it's available on Blu-Ray.
First impressions of this films transfer to Blu-Ray weren't good. In fact I was severely concerned as, during the opening credits, there is some very wierd horizontal shimmering on the image. Fortunately as soon as the credits are over the image regains stability and for the most part this is a very impressive transfer of a film that couldn't really be called a "blockbuster" release.
Being released on a dual layer 50GB Blu-Ray disc, and with few soundtracks and a lack of extras this film has been given a generous video bitrate that often sits above 30Mbps according to our PS3. The film's conversion retains the theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the many exterior shots have a natural look to them with plenty of fine detail. While we can't compare directly we have no doubt this would be a significant improvement over the DVD release.
That's not saying the image is perfect - it's certainly not a disc you'd use as reference quality. There is occasional dirt to the image, although for a movie over 40 years old it's still remarkably clean overall, and in some shots such as the zoom in at about the 1:20:29 - 1:21:01 the colours don't remain consistent. This happens in several shots throughout the film while there is black crush evident in many scenes as well.
There are three other tracks on this disc, all encoded with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. These are German, Spanish and Italian and the dubbing is a little questionable in quality, but not unexpected for such and old film.
Subtitles are provided in German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Danish however somewhat disappointingly there is no English subtitle track on this disc.
There are absolutely no extras on this Blu-Ray which given the history nature of the subject matter is a little disappointing.
Review By: Dave Warner