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The Big Trail Blu-ray

United States
Blu-ray + DVD 20th Century Fox | 1930 | 1 Movie, 2 Cuts | 122 min | Rated G | May 08, 2012

The Big Trail (Blu-ray), temporary cover art
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Original aspect ratio: 2.00:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles
English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
DVD copy

Playback
Region A, B (C untested)

Price
List price: $19.99, Price history
Amazon: $12.14 (Save 39%)
New from: $8.50 (Save 57%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7.5
24
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.5 of 53.5
Audio 2.9 of 52.9
Extras 4.0 of 54.0
Based on 2 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Western100%
Romance94%
Adventure-
48%
popularity
396
collections
5
fans




The Big Trail

 (1930)

The Big Trail Blu-ray offers solid video and mediocre audio in this enjoyable Blu-ray release

Pioneers heading for Oregon endure the hardships of weather, unfriendly strangers and internal strife in this sophisticated early sound film. Featuring John Wayne in his first starring role, this straightforward Western tale is now overshadowed by its place in history as an early example of Fox's widescreen Grandeur process, its naturalistic sound, and prototypical Wayne performance.

For more about The Big Trail and the The Big Trail Blu-ray release, see the The Big Trail Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: John Wayne, Marguerite Churchill, El Brendel, Tully Marshall, Tyrone Power, Ian Keith
Director: Raoul Walsh

» See full cast & crew


The Big Trail Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

Fox previously released a two-disc DVD set of The Big Trail in 2008. This 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray contains both the Grandeur version with an aspect ratio of 2.10:1 and the standard Acadamy version with a ratio a 1.2:1. Both appear to be derived from the same elements used for the DVDs. Indeed, except for the cover art, the included DVD seems to be identical to disc 1 of the 2008 set.

Neither the Grandeur element nor the source used for the Academy version is in particularly good shape. Scratches, speckles and other print damage are evident throughout both. My original impression was that the Grandeur version was in worse shape, but after looking again at both, I realized that it simply appears that way because there's more image in the Grandeur version and, therefore, more area to damage. Both versions contain brief segments with relatively little damage, and these convey an idea of just how good the film could look with a full digital restoration (which would no doubt be both expensive and time-consuming).

Despite the damage, the superior resolution of Blu-ray reveals a remarkable level of detail in the outdoor locations and elaborate production. The fine differentiation of greys and black and the rendering of tiny details are superior to what I've seen from black-and-white films of much more recent vintage on Blu-ray. In this regard, the Grandeur version is clearly preferable, not only for the width of the frame, but also because of the superior resolution provided by its larger negative. DVD couldn't do justice to the increased resolution, but Blu-ray can.


The Big Trail Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  2.5 of 5

There's no point in pretending that the sound on The Big Trail is better than it is. The format is DTS-HD MA 1.0, but lossless encoding won't do much for a soundtrack that reflects the limitation of an era when, as Richard Schickel says in the commentary, no one was quite sure how talkies should be played. Post-production dubbing (what is now called "ADR") wasn't yet possible; so every actor simply bellowed their dialogue as loudly as possible to ensure he or she could be heard over whatever noise might interfere, including copious amounts of static. And that's what comes through on the track: shouted dialogue, muffled effects (because props can't bellow) and the added underscoring by a group of uncredited composers. The instruments sound thin, distant and muddy, as if one were listening to a vintage radio broadcast, which, in a sense, one is. Still, the track does its part in telling the story, and that's the only essential job of any movie soundtrack.


Blu-ray bundles with The Big Trail (3 bundles)





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The Big Trail Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



Topic Replies Last post
The Big Trail & The Barbarian and the Geish... (

Official Thread

)
41 Jan 13, 2013
The Big Trail- Unbelievable 10 Dec 09, 2012
Broken Trail Blu-ray Release 8 Nov 02, 2011



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