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Edward Zwick
Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Jihmi Kennedy, Andre Braugher, John Finn, Donovan Leitch, JD Cullum
Writing Credits:
Robert Gould Shaw (letters), Lincoln Kirstein (book, "Lay This Laurel"), Peter Burchard (book, "One Gallant Rush"), Kevin Jarre

Their innocence. Their heritage. Their lives. Nothing would be spared in the fight for their freedom.

The heart-stopping story of the first black regiment to fight for the North in the Civil War, Glory stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. Broderick and Elwes are the idealistic young Bostonians who lead the regiment; Freeman is the inspirational sergeant who unites the troops; and Denzel Washington, in an Oscar® - winning performance (1989, Best Supporting Actor), is the runaway slave who embodies the indomitable spirit of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts.

Box Office:
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$63.661 thousand on 3 screens.
Domestic Gross
$26.830 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 122 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 5/14/2013

• None


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Glory [Blu-Ray 4K] (1989)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 31, 2014)

A film that views the Civil War from an unusual perspective, 1989’s Glory provides a moving and compelling look at director Edward Zwick’s usual themes of bravery and freedom and does so in a passionate and entertaining manner.

Glory focuses upon the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts, one of the first all-black units formed during the Civil War. Headed by white Colonel Shaw (Matthew Broderick), this group joins the cause with passion and becomes a strong, disciplined fighting unit. The film covers their experiences, both positive and negative.

Among the soldiers, Glory mainly concentrates on a few different characters. There’s older, wiser Rawlins (Morgan Freeman), educated free-man Searles (Andre Braugher), stuttering, innocent, and apparently less-than-brilliant Sharts (Jihmi Kennedy), and fiery, cynical Trip (Denzel Washington). To say that these roles are little more than stereotypes would be accurate; we’ve seen these sorts of characters before, and little about the ways in which they’re written makes them stand out from the pack.

However, the cast helps elevate the predictable characterizations to a more compelling level. Washington won an Oscar for his work as Trip, and it’s easy to see why as you watch Glory. Washington feels natural and real in the role; he’s able to show the character’s lack of education without making him seem dumb or ignorant. He also develops the role in a clear manner that depicts true, believable growth. It’s a solid performance from an actor who deserves all the accolades he’s received.

While Rawlins doesn’t represent Freeman’s absolute best work - I still think Se7en remains his finest hour - Glory displays his marvelous talent to good effect. In some ways, Rawlins is similar to Freeman’s other 1989 role, that of Hoke, the faithful chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy; he’s another character who displays quiet strength and pride without the overt anger of others like Trip.

It’s to Freeman’s credit that although he could play such a role in his sleep, he doesn’t just mail in his performance. Freeman takes the sketchy material and creates a full-blooded character. It’s clear that the story doesn’t love Rawlins in the same way it adores Trip, but Freeman nonetheless does a fine job.

As for Broderick, he’s received quite a lot of criticism over the years for his somewhat squirrelly performance as Shaw. Folks have picked on his shakiness in front of the camera and his apparent lack of strength and composure in the film’s battle scenes.

Frankly, I think the criticisms are off base. When Broderick appears quivery, it fits the story. At the film’s start, we see that Shaw’s been rattled in battle, and he’s not going to be gung-ho and stolid in subsequent combat.

Broderick manages appropriate levels of strength and conviction in other scenes, such as one good segment in which he harasses his soldiers when they start to view warfare as fun and games. Broderick’s New England accent seems erratic and unconvincing - it’s a “now you hear it, now you don’t” affair - but I otherwise think he provides a surprisingly solid performance.

Zwick is an emotional filmmaker who wears his heart on his sleeve. While this tendency can result in over-emotive claptrap like Legends of the Fall, for the most part his work has been moving and rousing.

Such was the case with his first theatrical drama, 1989’s Glory. Some will fault the film for its historical liberties - Civil War buffs hate even the smallest inaccuracies - but in this case, the message overrules the minor flaws. Glory tells an important story and does it well.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus F

Glory appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the film’s second Blu-ray release, it comes as part of Sony’s “Mastered in 4K” line. What the heck does that mean? Here’s what Sony’s press release promises us:

“’Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray releases will feature titles sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution, with expanded color showcasing more of the wide range of rich color contained in the original source. When upscaled via the Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, these discs serve as an ideal way for consumers to experience near-4K picture quality. ‘Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray Discs can be played on all existing Blu-ray Disc players.”

Old DVD fans will remember Sony’s “Superbit” program, as it came with similar promises. Superbit DVDs and “Mastered in 4K” BDs jettison all supplements to theoretically optimize picture/audio quality.

Sharpness seemed pretty good. A few shots looked just a bit soft, but those weren’t a concern. Instead, the majority of the movie demonstrated nice delineation. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. As for source flaws, they failed to mar the presentation. Grain stayed within normal levels, and this was a clean transfer.

Colors appeared nicely accurate and vivid. The film featured a natural and pleasing palette, and the disc reproduced these hues well. From the rich blues of the uniforms to the reds seen in flags and other components, all tones looked rich and bold. Black levels also were deep and strong, and shadow detail appeared appropriately heavy but never excessively opaque. I felt impressed by this presentation.

Also satisfying was the movie’s Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Given the movie’s age, the soundfield seemed surprisingly broad and engaging. The forward channels offered a wide and involving experience that spread sounds neatly and created a realistic auditory environment. The sound blended together well and appeared convincing.

Surrounds kicked in with lots of useful audio that reinforced the forward speakers to great effect. James Horner’s score was bolstered nicely by the rear channels, and I also heard very positive use of various effects. From quieter ambient sounds like those heard in the mess hall to more vivid effects such as warfare or thunder storms, these scenes came across with a natural and convincing presence that was much better than I expected from a 1989 release.

Audio quality was good. Speech could be a slight bit edgy at times, but the lines were usually acceptably concise and natural. Effects also betrayed a little distortion on occasion, but not to a distracting degree. Instead, those elements normally seemed accurate and full; battle scenes boasted good impact and bass.

Music consistently seemed strong. The score appeared clear and bright without any of the distortion concerns that affected the rest of the track. The music was deep and rich, and it offered a satisfying experience. I thought this soundtrack held up well after 24 years.

How did this 4K Blu-ray compare to the 2009 Blu-ray? Audio was virtually identical, and both discs showed very similar visuals as well. I thought the Blu-ray might’ve offered a slight improvement over the prior release, but I can’t claim it got a notable upgrade.

As stated earlier, the 4K line leaves out any extras. That means the commentary and other useful elements get the boot here.

Glory is a solid effort that tells an important story in a compelling and evocative manner; Zwick usually does well with this kind of material, and Glory is no exception. The Blu-ray offers very positive picture and sound but lacks supplements. This becomes a strong presentation of the movie, though I don’t think it upgrades the visuals and audio of the prior Blu-ray in a substantial

To rate this film, visit the Blu-ray review of GLORY

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