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100 Years of Olympic Films, 19: Innsbruck/Montreal 1976
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • 2.39:1 Widescreen
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

100 Years of Olympic Films, 19: Innsbruck/Montreal 1976

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Georges Dufaux, Jean Beaudin, Jean-Claude Labrecque, , Tony Maylam
2017 | 195 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: April 15, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012 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 “Faster, Higher, Stronger”: 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 Games’ first women’s 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 Riefenstahl’s Olympia and Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad, along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš 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

After taking a bit of break I continue on with Criterion’s 32-disc box set 100 Years of Olympic Films. Disc 19 presents White Rock, directed by Tony Maylam (and starring James Coburn as our intense guide), and Games of the XXI Olympiad, directed by Jean-Claude Labrecque, Jean Beaudin, Marcel Carričre, and Georges Dufaux, each film respectively covering the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games and the 1976 Montreal Summer Games. White Rock is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.39:1 whereas Olympiad is presented in 1.37:1. They both receive 1080p/24hz high-definition encodes on this dual-layer disc. Though the notes on the restorations don’t indicate the source or resolution of the restoration/transfer specifically the two come from either 2K or 4K masters.

Up to this point White Rock easily offers one of the better looking presentations in the set as a whole. Colour saturation is really spot-on here, with some rich deep blues, bright reds and oranges, and everything else in between. Black levels are quite nice themselves, rich and deep without crushing out detail, but it is the whites from the snowy backdrops that truly impress here. The snow looks white but it is balanced wonderfully, never looking blown out and never obliterating details of the objects around. Everything is crystal clear and razor sharp for the most part (there are split screen shots that aren’t as crisp as the rest of the film, more than likely a byproduct of the effect).

The source materials are in tremendous shape themselves, rarely a flaw showing up, and the digital presentation beautifully renders the fairly fine grain, giving the film a wonderful film-like texture. It looks really stunning and again it is one of the better looking ones in this set.

Games of the XXI Olympiad seems to use a grainier film stock, giving it a much different texture in comparison to the cleaner, more polished looking White Rock, but in general it’s presented very well. Unfortunately I didn’t find the grain as cleanly rendered here and there are times where the grain can look a bit more like noise, but despite that the detail levels in the film are still very good. Colours aren’t altogether that vibrant but they’re clean and saturated well with some strong black levels. It still has a nice filmic quality to it but not as strong as I would have figured.

Games of the XXI Olympiad : 8/10, White Rock: 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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White Rock

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White Rock

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White Rock

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White Rock

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White Rock

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White Rock

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

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Games of the XXI Olympiad

AUDIO

White Rock comes with a 2.0 PCM stereo presentation while Games of the XXI Olympiad surprisingly presents a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track.

Both are good but I found White Rock’s track to a bit more creative in its audio design. The opening bobsled portion sounds really sharp, the blades of the sled clearly cutting into the ice underneath presenting distinct movement between the speakers. The rest of the film also manages to be dynamic and creative in how it presents the events while James Coburn and his baritone voice sound like they are right there with you. The electronic score is about as dated as an electronic score can get but it still manages to sound fine itself.

Despite the extra channels the 5.1 track for Olympiad manages to be a bit disappointing. Quality wise it’s great, very dynamic and clear with exceptional range. Voices are very clear and the crowds sound great, but I guess I was expecting more since this was mixed as a 5.1 track. The opening ceremony, the crowds, and other ambient noises make their way back there, but in the end I was more impressed with the audio for White Rock. Ultimately, though, after mono track after mono track in this set it was nice to get a bit of an expansion here.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

The only disappointing aspect to this set is that 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 also filled with photos from the various events. Cowie provides a separate essay for each film, though focuses more on the actual events presented in Olympiad rather than the film itself. For White Rock, which is one of the more distinct films in the set in terms of construction, he ends up focusing more on the film and James Coburn than the actual events. (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

More solid presentations, though this may be one of my favourite discs in the set: White Rock is one of the more fun films to be found here and one of the few I will probably catch myself revisiting.




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