League Of Their Own, A 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 250, June/July 2020

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Penny Marshall
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"A League Of Their Own" takes place during World War II when baseball lineups and locker rooms were left empty. During this time the All-American Girls Baseball League brought talented women to the big leagues––and brought fans to the stands. The indomitable Dottie Hinson (Davis) finds herself leading a ragtag group of players who end up winning over the heart of their has-been coach, Jimmy Dugan (Hanks).

The film is part of a a collection of six of the most acclaimed and beloved films in the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment library. It is presented on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever. This must-own set includes iconic favorites that span the studio's history. In addition to "A League Of Their Own," the Volume 1 collection features "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," "Lawrence Of Arabia," "Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb," "Gandhi," "A League Of Their Own" and "Jerry Maguire." Each film is fully restored in 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR). The six films in the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection are only available on 4K Ultra HD disc within this special collector's set with a limited-edition run of fewer than 8,000 units in the U.S. Included with the collection is a gorgeous hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film within the set via an all-new essay written by acclaimed film historian Julie Kirgo. In addition, the set also includes an exclusive disc featuring excerpts from Columbia Pictures' televised 50th anniversary special, which originally aired in 1975 and has never been officially available. These excerpts feature rare on-camera insights from such luminaries as Frank Capra, Phil Silvers and Orson Wells. This exclusive disc also includes the vintage behind-the-scene documentary "Mr. Attenborough and Mr. Gandhi," which was filmed on the set of "Gandhi" and features interviews with cast and crew. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Penny Marshall and Actresses Lori Petty, Tracy Reiner and Megan Cavanagh; the documentary "Nine Memorable Innings" (HD 52:35); 15 deleted scenes with introduction by Marshall (HD 33:54); the featurette "The Enduring Legacy Of A League Of Their Own" (HD 12:15); "three episodes from the 1993 TV series (SD 01:10:56); "This Used To Be My Playground" music video by Madonna (HD 05:02); the domestic theatrical trailer; five international teasers and trailers and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed in anamorphic Panavision® on 35 mm Eastman film stock using Panavision cameras and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The imagery is at times soft with a light grain structure, but very colorful, especially once the story shifts to the 1940's flashback scenes. Colors are nicely saturated and vibrant with warm and rich hues. Primaries are strong but natural in appearance, such as green grasses and blue and red ball caps, Fleshtones are perfectly natural. The wide color gamut reveals subtle hue shadings. HDR contrast is excellent with extensive natural lighting. Black levels and shadow delineation are excellent as well. The black-and-white sequences deliver a well-balanced gray scale. Resolution is revealing of fine detail with uniform lines, seams, sewn patches and dirt stains, as well as intricate facial features exhibited in skin complexions, hair, etc. Throughout the imagery is sharp and clear. WOW! segments are from 36:18 to 40:38, 46:50 to 49:19, 58:05 to 59:50, 01:06:48 to 01:07:29, 01:37:28 to 01:8:18 and 01:44:00 to 01:47:00.

This is a gorgeous picture that delivers a stunning colorful visual experience and the reference for this Columbia Pictures classic.

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack features terrific big band swing music, which aggressively envelops the soundfield. Atmospherics are wonderful and enhance the environments of the generally rural areas in which the baseball games occur. Sound effects are excellent such as the realism of a loud transient crack when a bat hits a ball, the enveloping sound of fans, and other baseball-specific effects. Such are often panned to the left or right to the surrounds and past. Deep bass occurs in a couple of scenes with exploding fireworks and a train panned discretely across the soundstage. Foley sound effects are perfectly in sync and greatly enhance the sense of realism. Dialogue is intelligible and generally well integrated spatially and even directionalized and panned from the surrounds to the frontal soundstage.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of effective atmospheric ambience and sound effects, as well as the extension of the music score to the height layer. Lots of chirping birds and light wind and other din are heard throughout in scenes of ballparks, as well as a loud transient crack when a bat hits the ball and other associated ambience, both in practices and games. Subtle dialogue and loud sports press announcements are extended in some scenes. In one scene, a drunk Marla sings "It Had To Be You." Other effects include clapping on the field and in the stands, fireworks, locker room and other team singing, and many other atmospherics. This is a very satisfying height layer presentation.

This is a wonderful holosonic® spherical soundtrack that will be enjoyed by fans of the classic Columbia Pictures comedy classic. (Gary Reber)