Gandhi 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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Richard Attenborough
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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Richard Attenborough's film "Gandhi" is a remarkable achievement and winner of eight (despite the claim of nine on the jacket) Academy Awards®. The story chronicles the remarkable life of Mahatma Gandhi (Kingsley), who led a nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India in the early part of the 20th century. This epic film spans 55 years of his life beginning with his career as a young defiant lawyer who uses nonviolent resistance to protest South Africa's racial laws. Eventually, Gandhi becomes India's martyred Mahatma who frees her from two centuries of British colonialism, gaining India's independence. Gandhi's good spirit and dedication triumphs in a world of cruelty and injustice, giving great hope to many. With breathtaking cinematography and an outstanding cast, including Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen, John Gielgud, and award-winning Ben Kingsley as the Mahatma, Gandhi proves a timeless motion picture classic. The film is split across two discs. Disc one runs 1:32:00 while disc two runs 1:39:14.

In addition to "Gandhi," the Volume 1 collection features "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," "Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb," "Lawrence Of Arabia," "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 on Disc One include an introduction (HD 01:24) and commentary with Director Richard Attenborough; "Gandhi's Legacy," a feature-length picture-in-graphics track; Sir Ben Kingsley Talks About Gandhi (HD 19:23); From The Director's Chair: on casting (HD 07:03) and on music (HD 02:54); eight featurettes: "In Search Of Gandhi" (HD 09:26), "Looking Back" (HD 18:21), "Madeleine Slade: An Englishwoman Abroad" (HD 09:41), "Reflections On Ben" (HD 09:23), "Shooting An Epic In India" (HD 17:56), "Designing Gandhi" (HD 05:38), "The Funeral" (HD 13:34), and "The Words of Mahatma Gandhi" (01:58); newsreel footage (SD 10:05); theatrical trailers; a photo montage and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.35:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed in the Academy Flat format on 35 mm film stock using Panavision Panaflex cameras and fully restored from the original camera negative. It has been sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The picture is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly filmic throughout. While grain is ever-present, it is fine and unobjectionable, as well as an enhancement to the cinematic texturing of the imagery. There is a remarkable clarity that is evident in essentially every shot. Whether facial details or clothing or landscapes or urban elements, the imagery is perfectly natural. Every scene is breathtaking. The color palette is saturated with vividly lush and warm hues and deep and well-defined blacks. Hues are rich and perfectly natural and exhibit a wide gamut that reveals subtle nuances throughout. Primaries are strong, especially reds. A fiery blaze of white English cloth worm as Indian garments is stunning. Earth tones are exceptionally realistic, particularly greens. Fleshtones are accurate throughout, exhibiting varied gradations. HDR contrast is excellent with superb black levels and revealing shadow delineation. White levels are exceptionally pure and often effectively bright. Resolution is fantastic with fine detail exhibited throughout, Dimensional depth is excellent. Film grain is extremely fine. WOW! segments on Disc 1 are from 04:16 to 05:58, 33:42 to 34:46, 44:08 to 45:22, 01:03:11 to 01:05:17 and 01:24:05 to 01:26:40. Disc 2 segments are from 05:47 to 09:14, 36:25 to 38:31 and 01:29:27 to 01:10:09,

This is a beautifully colorful and pristine picture that is masterfully rendered. This is the absolute reference edition for this amazing classic, (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack, as with the previously reviewed editions, exhibits signs of the original production's age, but far less so. However, the vintage audio sounds nicely restored, and, having presumably been sourced from the 70 mm sound elements, the remastered and repurposed soundtrack is remarkably free of background noise. The sound is powerfully dynamic with an incredible orchestral score as well as Indian music and instrumentation crafted by Ravi Shankar and George Fenton. The tonality is somewhat reserved in the midrange, which could be inherent in the original recording and possibly the result of hiss reduction. Atmospherics are realistic throughout with both strong and nuanced levels. Sound effects are often very powerful and dynamic, such as a scene with stampeding horses. The dimensional scope is inherently restrained, with the surrounds sometimes used for ambiance from the music or for instance, to extend yelling rioting crowd sounds to all channels. Also, a smattering of voices emanate throughout the soundfield in the opening minutes. Then, as the scenes progress, there are nuanced bird chirping, wind, and other natural environmental elements that enhance realism. Most of the time, however, the audio originates only from the screen channels. Deep bass is also for the most part significantly reserved, but in one scene train sounds are powerful with extended deep bass. Foley sound effects are excellent and realistic. Dialogue throughout is intelligible with excellent spatial integration and at times amplified over crowd segments.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of effective atmospheric sound effects reflecting the sounds of nature, particularly chirping birds. Music is a major dimensional sound element. A gunshot at the beginning rings out and echoes throughout the height layer. A train locomotive while blasting through the night and the sound of the train moving along the tracks is convincing. Other effects include low-level reverberant dialogue, people chatter, an auditorium audience clapping, more train sounds and voices echoing through a tunnel, massive crowd noises, a judge pounding on a court desk, sounds of military motor vehicles, gunfire, mob scuffle, a crowd fighting and gunfire, Nari addressing a crowd and other atmospherics. This is a very satisfying height layer treatment.

This is a wonderful holosonic® spherical surround repurposed soundtrack that masterfully enhances the experience