Battle of the Bulge [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-19-2013, 07:42 PM
I usually don't care for war movies unless it is exceptionally good, and this 1965 movie definitely deserve that honor as excellent.

Watched it for first time on DVD and although it is 3 hour film, it just didn't felt like it as it is so entertaining. With stars such as Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Charles Bronson and filmed in Ultra Panavision 70mm, was wondering how I missed that movie before.

And picture quality on DVD is simply espectacular as this was a new transfer, and imagine look even better on bluray. Definitely worth checkingt out.

02-20-2013, 04:45 AM
"Battle of the Bulge" was one of a handful of movies filmed in Ultra Panavision 70 (or other similar 70 mm process) and "presented" in Cinerama. Cinerama initially used three cameras and three projectors to present a 146 degree image on a huge, curved screen - the widest ever in movie history, and which revolutionized movie-making.

The three camera/projection system had a series of nasty flaws that were never corrected: two obvious seams; three jittery images; and often, three panels of slightly different colors. Other than a handful of travelogues, only two actual dramas were filmed in that process: "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm," and "How the West Was Won."

Movie directors hated using the Cinerama camera because of its bulk, and the fact that zooming in and out were impossible to do, as were any closeups. The first so called "single-strip" Cinerama movie was "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," which, like "Battle of the Bulge," used a 70mm print, and an anamorphic lens to spread the image clear across and up and down the huge Cinerama screen. It worked beautifully, though didn't yield the depth, or 146 degree scope of the original 3-strip process.

Still, there was nothing like it, nor has there been anything like it since. Seeing "Battle of the Bulge" on the Cinerama screen was a movie event, not to be realized anywhere else. Perhaps the most famous film presented in this manner was "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Recently, a remastered version of the first 3-strip Cinerama film, "This is Cinerama," was released on DVD using what's called the "Smilebox" process. This actually gives the illusion of having a deeply curved image on a TV screen, though unless you own a fairily large flat screen TV, and sit fairly close to your set, it won't look too impressive.

Too bad "Battle of the Bulge" wasn't released in the Smilebox format. THAT would have been something!

02-20-2013, 06:22 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed the movie Smoke and thanks for the information on Cinerama E-man. I didn't know much about the flaws in the process but you educated me quite well. As for "Battle of the Bulge" it's a great movie killed by terrible history. The ONLY thing the film gets "right" was that there was a... "Battle of the Bulge"! The units are wrong, the tanks are REALLY wrong, the use of models was pathetic and the climactic tank battle NEVER HAPPENED! They couldn't have screwed this one up from a military history stand point more if martians had landed in the middle of the whole thing!

The above being said, this movie is one great piece of fiction. I saw it in Cinerama as a kid, bought the Tape as an adult and now have the DVD. Several things stand out for me from this one.

1. The opening credits and themes... wood block etchings for the intro, never seen anything like it.

2. Colonel Hessler singing "Der Panzer Lied" (The Tanker's Song) with his men before battle. I still humm that tune from time to time.

3. Charles Bronson's empassioned plea that after the war Germany be mashed flat, grassed over and used as a pasture for Buffalo so that he or his kid wouldn't be back fighting the basterds all over again in 20 more years.

4. Telly Savals's plea to be allowed to fight after hearing of the destruction of Ambleve and his new found love.

5. Bronson's emphatic warning to Col. Hesler that if any of his men were harmed in captivity he'd personally be the one to put the rope around his neck when the war was over.

6. Col. Hesler cooly sparing the life of a young French Boy who, took a shot at him, only to order the death of the boy's father instead.

All great, iconic scenes. It may suck as history but it's great entertainment.


02-20-2013, 07:47 AM
I can't believe smoke had not seen the film before now? Its on every Memorial day, Veteran day weekends. One of the all time war epics, right along with The Longest Day, and Midway.

02-20-2013, 06:46 PM
Thanks emaidel for the info :)

The movie is so wide that [black] matte almost cover half of TV screen. And director took excellent advantage of Cinerama with alot of over terrain shots and wide angle gun and battle scenes.

Robert Shaw probably had the best performance in this movie as Col. Hessler. Remember him best in the Jaws movie, but now it is going to be from this movie.

They couldn't have screwed this one up from a military history stand point more if martians had landed in the middle of the whole thing!

LOL. I knew from DVD reviews that this film was mostly fiction, and alot of reviewers on Amazon shot it down for being so. Guess they could always crack open a history book for the facts :D

And definitely agree with opening overture and credit shots.

Can't believe smoke had not seen the film before now? Its on every Memorial day, Veteran day weekends.

Some of us don't have cable :p