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The World at War Blu-ray

United States
A+E Networks Home Entertainment | 1973 | Season 1 | 1352 min | Unrated | Nov 16, 2010

The World at War (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: LPCM 2.0

Subtitles
English SDH

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Nine-disc set (9 BDs)

Packaging
Slipcover in original pressing

Playback
Region A (B, C untested)

Price
List price: $99.99, Price history
Amazon: $72.55 (Save 27%)
New from: $65.86 (Save 34%)
Usually ships in 24 hours, FREE shipping

Buy The World at War on Blu-ray

TV show rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8.6
/10
33
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 4.0 of 54.0
Audio 4.0 of 54.0
Extras 4.4 of 54.4
Based on 7 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
War100%
Documentary48%

50%
popularity
443
collections
18
fans




The World at War

 (TV) (1973)

The World at War Blu-ray delivers great video and solid audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

A multi-volumed documentary mini-series, "The World at War" covers the entire history of World War II from the causes of the 1920s to the aftermath of the Cold War in the 1950s. Emphasis is also placed on several inside story episodes, where events are covered which occurred inside Germany and Japan such as resistance to Hitler, life in general under a dictatorial regime, and particular emphasis is focused on the Jewish Holocaust.

For more about The World at War and the The World at War Blu-ray release, see the The World at War Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Narrator: Laurence Olivier

» See full cast & crew


The World at War Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

If you are one of the people who are inconsolable about Fremantle's decision to reframe this release in 16:9, you should probably stop reading now, as nothing I can say will change your mind about the worthiness of this release. As I mention in some detail above, I feel your pain, I really do. I have always argued for original aspect ratios on home video releases, especially when a lot of early days panning and scanning was so clumsily handled. But for those of you who are keeping an open mind, let's move on. The World at War is simply a marvel, a benchstone, of restoration, delivered via an AVC codec in 1080p and, yes. 1.78:1. Let's get the framing issues out of the way first. Would it have been better to have had this series in 1.33:1? Probably. But business being what it is, and Fremantle's need to recoup their very substantial restoration costs by relicensing this series for broadcast made the 16:9 decision inevitable. What is striking about this reframing is how carefully it was done, at least for the most part. As the restoration featurette shows quite clearly, this was not an automated situation where the original 1.33:1 image was simply blown up to become 1.78:1. Actual people, not machines, supervised this process, often frame by frame, making sure the salient information was kept in the image. For about 95% of the time, this effort is largely commendable. Unfortunately, the contemporary interview segments do look rather silly, with up to one quarter of any given individual's forehead and/or chin lopped off the image. In perhaps a less important issue, the opening Thames TV logo now cuts the top of the spire off of St. Paul's Cathedral. But otherwise, the framing has been handled spectacularly smartly.

Now on to the image itself. This restoration is quite simply a revelation, especially for those of us who grew up with the series or have owned it in its previous home video incarnations. Again, this is state of the art restoration, using in fact a new software that is not even commercially available yet. The World at War was its maiden voyage, so to speak, and the results are simply stunning. The increase in sharpness and detail is often breathtaking, and the painstaking removal of millions of scratches, blemishes and surface dirt reveals a whole new wealth of fine detail. Has DNR been applied? Yes, but not in the way it typically is. Grain structure is still largely intact, especially in the smaller millimeter formats. And in fact where too much restoration would have harmed the integrity of the image, as in some of the color film of Hitler at Berchtesgaden, next to nothing has been done.

This was obviously a labor of love for Fremantle and the associated high-tech wizards who helped with the restoration and hi-def transfer. Fremantle went back to its archives, often to 35mm negatives, to source from the best available elements used for this transfer, and it shows in virtually every frame. The older black and white footage now bristles with brilliant contrast and excellently inky black levels, and the color footage has been timed by telecine experts who have often worked wonders, especially with the older Technicolor segments. All of this said, there are noticeable differences in various source elements. The 35mm footage looks substantially better than the 16mm, as is to be expected, and even some of the 35mm (as well as the 16mm) sports some wear and tear that even digital restoration can't overcome.

People coming to this release without having seen The World at War in either its standard def broadcast version or any of the previous home video releases may wonder what all the brouhaha, both pro and con, is about. We're dealing with an incredible amount of archival footage here, and even a painstaking digital restoration can only go so far in bringing the image quality up to current day standards. But for those who have seen this series in previous iterations, if you can get past the reframing issue, you are most likely going to be amazed at the upgrade in image quality here.


The World at War Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

The results aren't quite so mind (or ear) boggling as the video quality, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 repurposed track sounds surprisingly spry for its age, even if the surround channels aren't exactly constantly in motion. The immersive qualities of this multi-channel re-do are obviously most impressive in the battle footage, where the roar of plane engines clearly pans from side to side and bombs explode from front to rear. Dialogue and music remain pretty resolutely anchored in the front channels. Olivier's voice sounds just slightly chorused in the 5.1 mix, and some may prefer the lossless LPCM 2.0 mix for that reason. Davis' haunting score sounds magnificent, and the LFE of the new lossless tracks is very robust. Archival source material still sounds crackly, poppy and scratchy, with compressed frequencies and an overall boxy sound, but that somehow only seems to make it more "real" in a historical perspective. The main interview segments and Olivier's voiceover are clear as a bell and very well mixed into the overall soundfield.



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The World at War Blu-ray, News and Updates



Amazon Blu-ray Deal of the Week: The World at War (Expired) - June 24, 2012

Amazon's Blu-ray Deal of the Week affects A&E Entertainment's The World at War. This twenty-six part series takes an in-depth look at the global impact of World War II, beginning with the rise of Nazism in Germany and moving through Cold War tensions in the 1950s. ...


The World at War Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



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