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Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich(1958)
Filmed in Cinemiracle
Presented in Smilebox format for 16:9 screens.
For more about Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich and the Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray release, see Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on September 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Directors: Louis De Rochemont III, Bill Colleran
Starring: Bjørn Amvik, Arne Andersen, Per Antonsen, Niels Arntsen, Svein Aske, Trygve Bendiksen
» See full cast & crew
Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 26, 2012
Bill Colleran and Louis De Rochemont III's "Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich" (1958) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Flicker Alley. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film; photo gallery; long documentary film; Windjammer breakdown reel; a look at the reconstruction and remastering of the film; and more. In English, without optional subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
This late '50s film, which is rightfully regarded as a Norwegian classic even though it is an American production, offers an experience that mirrors what IMAX does for modern audiences. It was shot for the widescreen system Cinemiracle, which uses three different cameras and three different projectors for one massive picture. Cinemiracle essentially imitated human vision, thus creating an incredibly realistic viewing experience.
The concept behind Louis De Rochemont III and Bill Colleran's Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich is very similar to that of Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer. In Brown's film, two surfers from Southern California travel the world looking for the perfect waves. Along the way they learn about new cultures and customs and make new friends. In Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich, the Norwegian ship Christian Radich leaves Oslo and heads to America. The cadets serving on the ship visit various places, some more exotic than others, where they observe and join unique celebrations.
On the Portuguese island of Madeira, some of the cadets participate in the famous basket-sled ride. The large sleds have no safety belts or brakes but are extremely popular amongst the natives. Later on, they also visit the Madeira Country Fair, where a few also approach some of the beautiful single girls that are also enjoying the spectacles.
Next are Puerto Rico and Curacao. In Puerto Rico, the cadets are invited to a performance of the great cellist Pablo Casals. In Curacao, after the Christian Radich is scraped and painted, the cadets go on a picnic with some of the island's beautiful girls.
Shortly after it leaves Curacao, the Christian Radich endures a powerful storm. This is the first time one gets a good feeling about the many dangers sailors often face. Some days later, the ship finally reaches Trinidad. Here the cadets enjoy the warm water and see some of the unfortunate ships that went down in the area years ago. (There is some really lovely underwater footage).
After a 15-minute intermission, the cadets visit a large sugar plantation. Later on, they also join one of the local bands, as well as the loud and colorful festivities that bring out just about everyone that can walk. Eventually, the Christian Radich heads to New York City. This is the highlight of the trip. The cadets visit various jazz clubs, social events, and later on a Firemen's Show in Philadelphia.
There is hardly anything that I did not like about Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich. It is a very relaxed and charming documentary that offers some terrific views from exotic places which more than likely now look different. The film must have been a tremendous hit amongst viewers who were lucky enough to see it projected theatrically years ago as some of the visuals are indeed breathtakingly beautiful. The "Smilebox" curved screen simulation gives a pretty good idea how the film must have looked in the theater as one could easily see the three panels and get a good feeling of the tremendous image depth. Indeed, a wonderful release.
Note: Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich was reconstructed with elements from the Swedish Film Institute Johan Ericsson Archival Film Collections.
Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.56:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Bill Colleran and Louis De Rochemont III's Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich arrives on Blu-ray courtesy Flicker Alley.
The presentation does not quite match the high-standards set by Warner with How the West Was Won. Clearly, Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich has not been exposed to the same type of expensive treatment -- Warner did a new scan and transfer for How The West Won -- which is why some age related issues are noticeable. This being said, the basics here are quite good. Generally speaking, detail ranges from decent to pleasing, while clarity is never seriously compromised. Some color fluttering, however, is occasionally noticeable. Small alignment issues between the three panels are also present. There are also a few basic warping issues that affect color stability and to a lesser extent definition, usually around the edges of the frame (see screencaptures #11 and 18). Some tiny flecks also occasionally pop up here and there, but a careful clean-up has been performed and the film does look very healthy. The best news here is that there are no traces of problematic post-production tweaking. It is true, the film looks somewhat uneven, but it definitely has the organic look an older film should have. And this really makes a big difference. All in all, considering the small budget that was apparently available for this project, Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich looks surprisingly good. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Reconstructed and Remastered by David Strohmaier.
Image Restoration and Color Grading by Greg Kimble.
Telecine by Scott Maloney, Modern Videofilm.
Seven Channel Cinemiracle Sound transferred at Chace Audio by Deluxe by Thom Piper, Jr. & Gilbert Paul.
Special Graphics Reconstruction by Martin Hart, The American WideScreen Museum.
Special Digital Clean-up by Gary Jackemuk, DigitalVision.
Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Flicker Alley have not provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless audio track will not test the muscles of your audio system. It has a somewhat limited dynamic amplitude, but this should not be surprising - throughout the majority of the film a narrator explains what takes place in front of the camera and tells the viewer where the Windjammer is heading next. There are bits of music and chatter here and there, but dynamic movement is indeed very limited. There is a wider range of dynamics during the overture, and the strings in particular sound quite good. There is slightly better depth and sound fluidity here as well. Overall, I think that it is fair to say that the audio has been optimized quite well.
Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fantastic film. I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not be any happier that Flicker Alley brought it to Blu-ray. My only regret here is that I could not see Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich theatrically. It must have been a tremendous experience. Do not hesitate to pick up this release, folks. It is well worth it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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