Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Director: David Lean

Writers: Pierre Boulle, Carl Foreman, Michael Wilson

Composer: Malcolm Arnold

Starring: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Geoffrey Horne, Andre Morell, Peter Williams, John Boxer, Percy Herbert, Harold Goodwin, Ann Sears, Heihachiro Okawa, Keiichiro Katsumoto, M.R.B. Chakrabandhu, Vilaiwan Seeboonreaung, Ngamta Suphaphongs, Javanart Punynchoti, Kannikar Dowklee

More info: IMDb

Plot: After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

My rating: 9.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Duh!

I've seen this many times over the past forty years and it never ceases to amaze me.  This time I watched the stunningly gorgeous Blu-ray for the first time and on a much larger screen (projected at about 11 ft wide) and it was the best presentation I've ever seen it.  WOW!  I fucking love this move.  You really must see movies on the biggest screen possible if you can.  It only makes movies better.  It's almost as if I were watching it for the first time.  This time I was drawn to the cinematography like never before.  Take the extended amount of time we spend with Shears (Holden) & the demolition team going through the jungle; for as long as the film is, it's not dull or unimportant.  The movie's 19 minutes shy of three hours and not once does the film drag nor does it have a frame that's lacking in beauty.  It's a masterfully shot and made picture. The performances are top drawer, especially Guinness who, up until then, had become famous for playing multiple characters in comedies.  He just knocks this one out of the park.  His Oscar was deserved, Malcolm Arnold's was not.  There's not much music in the picture and it's not all that memorable (and, yeah, I know memorable themes does not automatically equate quality).  Plus he used existing marches in many scenes.  That's my one complaint and it's got nothing to do with what you see on screen.  The music works very well but there's so little of it that it hardly merits an award as big as that.  The only thing left more me with this one is to catch it in a theater. 

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