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Captured
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Sewing Machine (John Krish, 1973, 1 min): hard-hitting road safety 'filler' from the COl
  • Searching (John Krish, 1974, 1min): shocking fire safety 'filler' from the COI
  • H.M.P. (John Krish, 1976, 52 mins): compelling fly-on-the-wall style recruitment film for the prison service
  • The Finishing Line (John Krish, 1977, 21mins): violent public safety film intended to discourage children from trespassing on railway lines
  • Shooting the Message: The films of John Krish (2013, 35 mins): an extensive interview with the director about his life and work

Captured

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: John Krish
1959 | 64 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: Ł19.99 | Series: BFI Flipside | Edition: #26
BFI Video

Release Date: April 15, 2013
Review Date: April 21, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Never commercially released before and previously only shown to a highly restricted audience of top military brass from the Ministry of Defence, Captured (1959) is a stunning Prisoner of War drama and a lost gem of British post-war filmmaking.

Directed by cult British director John Krish, the film was sponsored by the Army Kinematograph Corporation. This tightly plotted drama shows British POWs enduring brainwashing and torture during the Korean War, thereby revealing what a soldier could expect if he was ever captured by enemy forces.

The latest release in the BFI's acclaimed Flipside strand, Captured is accompanied by other rarities from John Krish. H.M.P. (a 1978 fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Prison service) and Krish's celebrated 1977 public safety short Finishing Line. All of these films have been transferred to HD by the BFI from the very best available film materials.


PICTURE

BFI’s 26th release in their Flipside series is one of their more fascinating ones, a film originally made only to be shown to military officials. John Krish’s Captured is released on an all-region Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on a dual-layer disc. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz.

I’m incredibly stunned at how great this looks. Since it was made for a restricted military audience I was expecting it to have been poorly stored and in terrible shape. It’s actually in incredible condition and the amount of damage present is minimal, limited to some minor scratches and a few tram lines.

The high-definition transfer is also crystal clear, delivering a sharp, crisp image. Hair stubble, fine threading on clothing, minor details in walls, all of it comes through clearly and without issue. The digital transfer also presents no digital artifacts of note, and cleanly renders the film’s grain structure leading to yet another natural, filmic transfer from BFI.

9/10

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 linear PCM 2.0 mono track also comes off surprisingly clear. Dialogue is crisp and natural and the film’s minor use of music is also clean without any edginess or distortion. It also doesn’t present any noticeable damage.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

BFI actually throws quite a bit of material on here, specifically an assortment of other “informative” films by director John Krish.

First are two 1-minute “danger danger” films, Sewing Machine and Searching. The first deals with child safety around streets, while the latter deals with fire safety.

H. M. P. is a 55-minute recruitment film for the prison services. Though it was obviously made for the government it’s actually a fairly decent documentary itself offering a look inside the prison system while following three recruits. There are some fascinating conversations between the group and those that work there, and interestingly enough questions and opinions do come up about the system. Like everything else found on here it’s nicely constructed, informative, and entertaining.

Also just as fascinating, if only it brings back memories of the “danger” films we all saw as kids, is The Finishing Line, a 21-minute safety film about the dangers of hanging around railroad tracks.

Finally BFI finishes the release with an interview with director John Krish called Shooting the Messenger: The Films of John Krish. The 35-minute segment has the director talk about his career, starting with how he first discovered film and his rather impressive step in trying to get a job in the field. He talks about early assistant work and documentary work, and how hard it was to cross the bridge from documentary to feature film. He had hopes Captured would launch him but it unfortunately became a “restricted” film only to be seen by select military officials. He did direct a few features but he found them horrific experiences and he recounts many of the problems that arose. He then talks about the other films on this set, offering some interesting facts about them (he offers the interesting story about how people wrote in to complain about his short Sewing Machine because a “white girl” was friends with a “black girl.”) In all it’s a rather fabulous and honest interview with the man.

BFI then includes one of their excellent booklets with an essay on the film by James Piers Taylor, information about the other films and supplements on the disc, and then a biography for Krish.

It may not seem like much but I found this to be a rather well rounded set, focusing on the career of Krish and his films for various agencies, finished off by a captivating interview with the man himself.

7/10

CLOSING

The film’s a little rough around the edges (the voice overs can be awkward for starters) but I found Captured to be a rather exciting and well-crafted film. Thankfully the BFI have saved it from obscurity with this rather stellar Blu-ray edition, delivering on all fronts. The release comes highly recommended.




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