WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Doctor Zhivago

Reviewed In Issue 17 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 3
Sound Rating: 2.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): MGM/UA Home Video
(Catalog Number): ML105138
(MPAA Rating): PG13
(Retail Price): $$99.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 200
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1965
(LD Release Date): 11/1/95
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): David Lean
(Screenplay/Written By): Robert Bolt
(Story): NA
(Music): Maurice Jarre
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): John Box
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): Norman Savage
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): NA
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Carlo Ponti

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography):
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.35:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 2.38:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Digital
(Theatrical Sound): RE: DTS
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
From the novel by Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago is hailed by critics everywhere as brilliant and one of the most popular movies ever. A sweeping epic about one charismatic man’s struggle that spans several decades to survive in war-convulsed Russia. That man is Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif), a talented poet and dedicated surgeon deeply affected by the war and its victims. His suffering alters the lives of many people around him including his gentle and understanding wife Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) and the extraordinary and fiery nurse Lara (Julie Christie), with whom he falls in love. Doctor Zhivago won five Academy Awards® for its sweeping cinematography, screenplay, art/set direction, magnificent costumes and Maurice Jarre’s powerful music score.

LaserDisc Picture:
This new digital transfer is different than the previous release in character but retains the same 2.38:1 aspect ratio. The new picture, while slightly sharper overall due to digital enhancement, lacks the richly hued and vivid color fidelity, especially evident in fleshtones, and better shadow detail of the old version. Further, there is a bit more width to the picture on that version.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The sound in the previous edition was Dolby Surround® encoded from the original elements of the six-track stereo magnetic soundtrack. An attempt has been made to improve upon the original, and this edition has an entirely new re-mixed, equalized, and enhanced soundtrack that is problematic due to the pulled-in stereo soundstage, less depth perspective and hum throughout that was not in the old version. The bass extension that was wanting on the original is added in this version, but was not a characteristic of the 30th Anniversary theatrical re-release in either 70mm mag stereo or 35mm DTS Digital. The Dolby AC-3 encoding adds nothing to the sound since there are no split surrounds, and being a low bit rate compressed format would be less accurate than the original PCM digital tracks. On the original the Foley and special effects elements of the soundtrack lacked the full-bodied room-filling presence of the music recording. There appeared to be a dramatic roll-off below 500 Hz which resulted in no bass. That has been rectified to a degree with equalization in this version. Still, neither version fully complements the otherwise hypnotic state imparted by the film’s visuals. Perhaps a future release with re-recorded Foley and special effects will correct for this and the previous deficiencies. With the deficiencies noted, nevertheless, Doctor Zhivago remains memorable as epic movie making at its best.GR n
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz):
(Aggressive System Surround):
(Intense 25Hz Bass):
(Deep Bass Challenging):
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield):
(Aggressive Split Surround):
(Center Back Surround Imaging):
(Directionalized Dialogue):
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: