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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New video interview with director Ronald Neame
  • Exclusive new audio interview with actor Sir John Mills
  • Original theatrical trailer

Tunes of Glory


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ronald Neame
Starring: Alec Guinness, John Mills, Dennis Price, Kay Walsh, Susannah York
1960 | 106 Minutes | Licensor: Janus Films

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #225
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: February 17, 2004
Review Date: December 1, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

In Ronald Neame's Tunes of Glory, the incomparable Alec Guinness inhabits the role of Jock Sinclair-a whiskey-drinking, up-by-the-bootstraps commanding officer of a peacetime Scottish battalion. Sinclair is a lifetime military man, who expects respect and loyalty from his men. But when Basil Barrow (John Mills, winner of the Best Actor award at the 1960 Venice Film festival)-an educated, by-the-book scion of a traditionally military family-enters the scene as Sinclair's replacement, the two men become locked in a fierce battle for control of the battalion and the hearts and minds of its men. Based on the novel by James Kennaway and featuring flawless performances by Guinness and Mills, Tunes of Glory uses the rigidly stratified hierarchy of military life as a jumping off point to examine the institutional contradictions and class divisions of English society, resulting in an unexpectedly moving drama.

Forum members rate this film 7.4/10

 

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PICTURE

Criterionís original DVD edition of Ronald Neameís Tunes of Glory presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on a dual-layer disc. The high-definition digital transfer used for this standard-definition presentation comes from a scan of a 35mm interpositive. The image has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

This is unfortunately one standard-definition presentation that hasnít held up too well through the years. Though I recall it being fine at the time itís shockingly noisier than I recall. I think some of this comes down to a grainier source print that the format just canít handle all that well. Details are good, though, with the presentation doing an decent job in rendering fine details and fine patterns, like those on the plaid kilts that are worn consistently throughout the film. Yet, the noisy image takes away from this.

The source print is in good condition most of the time, with only a few minor blemishes popping up, but there is an odd tramline-like mark that shows up during the last reel of the film, almost looking like some rubber wheel rubbed off on the elements or something. Damage is otherwise minimal so this rather large marks sticks out.

I donít expect much from DVD now but this one still proved to be a bit underwhelming, and the new Blu-ray offers a vast improvement over this edition.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The included Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is fine, though flat and lifeless in the end. There is no severe damage, though some background noise is there. Dialogue is, at the very least, clear, though music is a bit rough.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Ronald Neame recorded an interview for this edition, recalling the casting of Mills and Guinness (Guinness would only do the film if he could play Sinclair) while sharing various anecdotes around the production and what drew him to the script. Itís also his favourite film, despite it not being successful financially. This interview runs 23-minutes.

Criterion then includes interviews with the filmís stars (who, according to Neame in the previous interview, had a disagreement over who should have top billing). John Mills sat down to record an audio interview, and here he talks a little about the film and his character, explaining what drew him to the film. He also comments on working with Guinness, who was suggested here by the interviewer, and by Neame previously, to be a borderline method actor (keeping himself in character between takes), though Mills shoots that down saying neither he nor Guinness practiced that ďnonsense.Ē Alec Guinnessí interview comes from an excerpt of the BBC program Film Extra. He talks about his draw to acting, getting his roles for David Leanís adaptations of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, and then his work for Ealing Studios. He also explains a key disadvantage to film acting in comparison to stage acting (it basically comes down to your performance being altered during editing of the script or the final film) and talks a bit about the possibility of film directing, though he would only do so if he found material good for him (obviously he never did). Theyíre both short (running 14-minutes and 15-minutes respectively) but entertaining and insightful, particularly in Guinnessí own thoughts on acting.

The filmís original theatrical trailer then closes the and Robert Murphy provides a short essay on the film in the included insert. Though it the features are good and it was a lower-priced DVD at the time, the supplements are still not all that fulfilling.

5/10

CLOSING

A weak edition on all fronts, a newer Blu-ray, at the very least, offers a much stronger presentation.


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