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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • Russian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

The Cranes are Flying


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Mikhail Kalatozov
Starring: Tatiana Samoilova, Alexei Batalov
1957 | 95 Minutes | Licensor: Mosfilm

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #146
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: April 30, 2002
Review Date: March 22, 2020

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SYNOPSIS

Veronica and Boris are blissfully in love, until the eruption of World War II tears them apart. Boris is sent to the front lines.and then communication stops. Meanwhile, Veronica tries to ward off spiritual numbness while Boris' draft-dodging cousin makes increasingly forceful overtures. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, The Cranes are Flying is a superbly crafted drama, bolstered by stunning cinematography and impassioned performances.

Forum members rate this film 8.5/10

 

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PICTURE

The Criterion Collection’s original 2002 DVD edition for Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying presents the film on a single-layer disc in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The standard-definition presentation comes from a digital restoration sourced from a 35mm composite fine-grain print.

Though the digital encode does appear to be technically progressive, there are moments where interlacing occurs, and this leads to sequences where digital artifacts are fairly rampant. Ghosting, trailing, and jagged edges can run rampant, especially with quick movements. But, even the presentations better moments look off, with some mild ringing, blocky patterns, and noise popping up. Contrast is a bit off, with bright scenes looking blown out and darker moments lacking definition, and black levels look more like a gray.

Those weak areas end up being a shame because the actual restoration itself isn’t terrible. Yes, there is mild pulsing and some frame shifts that run through the film, but damage like marks, scratches and blotches are minimal, and there are only a few bad marks that remain, with handful of other minor blemishes. This aspect of it still looks very good. Just wish the digital encode was better.

5/10

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 track is edgy and harsh, even tinny. Dialogue has a real dubbed, detached sound to it, and presents some minor distortion. Music also doesn’t do any favours.

4/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Other than an insert presenting a short essay by Chris Fujiwara (who covers the films standing in Russian cinema and its striking cinematography) Criterion adds no supplementary material to the disc. This was always a surprise considering the film’s legacy and the fact it was from Kalatozov, who would go on to do I Am Cuba, and you’d figure Criterion would be able to dig up some material on him. Even their edition of Letter Never Sent has nothing. Their Blu-ray reissue for this film does thankfully remedy this.

1/10

CLOSING

Criterion’s new Blu-ray betters this edition in every way so I would direct everyone to that one instead.


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