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100 Years of Olympic Films, 27: Lillehammer 1994
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

100 Years of Olympic Films, 27: Lillehammer 1994

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Bud Greenspan
1994 | 209 Minutes | Licensor: International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $399.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: December 5, 2017
Review Date: March 4, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912Ė2012 is the culmination of a monumental, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of new restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of ďFaster, Higher, StrongerĒ: Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Gamesí first womenís marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni Riefenstahlís Olympia and Kon Ichikawaís Tokyo Olympiad, along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloö Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.


PICTURE

Disc 27 of Criterionís massive Blu-ray box set 100 Years of Olympic Films present Bud Greenspanís Lillehammer í94: 16 Days of Glory, covering the 1994 Winter Games, on a dual-layer disc in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is presented with a 1080i/60hz high-definition encode.

Greenspan did film everything on 16mm film (as I understand it) but since it was being produced for television the film was transferred to tape and edited together on that format. This tape is what the IOC has ultimately stored and thatís what has been used for the source of this presentation. Since Adrian Wood did a new scan and restoration for One Light, One World on the previous disc (which was also stored on tape) Iím going to assume he was unable to do that for this film, possibly because the original materials donít exist anymore (Iím going to stress that Iím guessing this to be the case).

With that in mind the end product still comes out looking decent enough but itís ultimately just an above average video presentation. It has that fuzzy video look that limits details but itís still far better than what a VHS or even DVD presentation would probably offer. Having said that fast motions can have obvious motion blur and I still miss that crispness that was available on most of the presentations prior to this. There are also plenty of artifacts, with jagged edges and shimmering being the worst offenders. The only real plus here is that colours look good, with blues, reds, and the like (and yes, there is still neon present) all looking good. Even blacks look fine. But again, donít expect anything better than an above-average video presentation.

6/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed 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 film still receives a lossless 2.0 PCM stereo surround presentation and it is, at the very least, far better than what a VHS could ever offer. The sound quality is razor sharp and the sound from the events and the crowds are rich and deep, filling in the environment rather nicely. Itís not an overly ambitious presentation, but it works for the film.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

As mentioned in the other articles on this set there are no on-disc special features to speak of. The set does come with an incredibly thorough 216-page hardbound book, featuring material on the restorations by Adrian Wood along with essays covering the films, all written by film scholar Peter Cowie. It is also filled with photos from the various events. Each film gets its own essay. Cowieís essay on this film examines how Greenspan changed his focus with this documentary, after the 24 hours news cycle had already oversaturated the Games (and I assume the whole Harding/Kerrigan thing didnít help as well). Greenspan this time around focuses more time on specific athletes rather than the events, with even the opening and closing ceremonies receiving little fanfare. (The grade given here refers to the supplements for the set as a whole, which, in this case, is just the included book.)

5/10

CLOSING

Sourced from video, the final presentation looks, at best, to be above average video quality, making for one of the weaker looking presentations in the set.




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