DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Robert Wise
George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft, Burgess Meredith
Writing Credits:
Nelson Gidding

Threatened with sabotage, the airship Hindenburg travels across the Atlantic with danger on board.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 2/7/2017

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Hindenburg [Blu-Ray] (1975)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 1, 2019)

Disaster movies have one serious obstacle they all have to overcome: from the start, everyone knows what will happen. If you see a movie called The Swarm, it seems like a pretty good bet that you'll see a lot of vicious bees, for instance.

At least movies like that offer suspense in that you don't know the progression of events or how they'll end. Yeah, we'll assume that they douse the fire in The Towering Inferno, but we still find lots of room to be creative.

As such, the challenge for historically-based films becomes much greater. We all know how Titanic and The Hindenburg will end, so there wouldn't seem to be much opportunity for tension.

Titanic worked so well because it took the emphasis off of the sinking itself and put it on the characters. A lot of disaster movies attempt this, but they usually don't succeed.

Even if they'd gone the straight disaster route, makers of Titanic still could spend a lot of time dealing with the sinking itself, as it took that sucker a lot of time to finally submerge.

Fewer opportunities greeted the creators of The Hindenburg. For that craft, there would be no hours-long finale. About half of Titanic took place after the ship hit the iceberg, but if The Hindenburg devoted half of its length to the events after the blimp blew, the movie'd only last about ten minutes.

So The Hindenburg needed to find some other way to tell a story. The film focuses on the events that occurred during the Germany to US voyage itself and it emphasizes the mystery surrounding the fateful event.

In real life, no one ever clearly determined why the dirigible exploded, but the movie bases its plot on the sabotage theory. As such, its story becomes mainly a mystery as we watch Nazi Colonel Ritter (George C. Scott) try to find the potential saboteur.

In many ways, the movie really resembles a game of "Clue". We have the cast of potential baddies, and the protagonist has to determine which one did - or was about to do - the crime.

While this setup probably doesn't sound very good, The Hindenburg delivers a fairly compelling and well-executed film. While we learn the identity of the saboteur midway through the picture, director Robert Wise does a solid job of continuing to provoke excitement and suspense.

The movie didn't exactly have me on the edge of my seat - especially since we know the thing's gonna blow at some point - but it kept me interested and stimulated, which is a pretty good achievement.

The Hindenburg offers a pretty decent cast, with George C. Scott cast as our protagonist. Unusually, he's actually an officer in the German army - yep, he's a Nazi!

But he's a "good Nazi" as it were, so we learn that he doesn't accept the Nazi ideas and biases. It's pushing it to make Ritter a good guy, but Scott makes him effectively human and convincing.

Ultimately, I liked The Hindenburg a fair amount. It's not a great movie, but it's a cut above what I expected. The film seems well-crafted and provides a fairly thrilling experience, even if you do know how it'll end.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus F

The Hindenburg appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect an inconsistent but generally pretty good presentation.

Sharpness became the iffiest aspect of the transfer, as definition varied more than I’d expect. Most of the film looked fairly well-defined, but more than a few soft shots materialized.

Some of the softness reflected photographic choices, but those decisions didn’t explain all the soft elements. Again, the overall impression remained fairly concise, but up and down moments occurred.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, but I saw light edge haloes at times. Grain varied but seemed fairly natural, and only a couple of minor print defects appeared.

Note that the film’s black and white climax came with specks and a degraded quality. It did so intentionally to allow the footage shot for the film to better match the archival elements also used.

The palette tended toward a fairly rusty vibe, with a brownish sensibility much of the time. This left us with colors that failed to stand out, but they seemed appropriate for the material, and the occasional instances of brighter tones – such as red flags – worked well.

Blacks came across as reasonably dense, while shadows showed adequate clarity. Due to the softness and haloes, I couldn’t endorse this as anything above “C+” level, but it was a watchable image.

Note that the film presented its opening credits in a windowboxed format. I have no idea why this occurred, as that vestige of the 4X3 TV era makes no sense anymore.

For such an old film, the DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix presented a pretty strong soundstage. Dialogue always seemed firmly anchored to the center channel, and music spread nicely across the front speakers.

We also heard some well-localized effects, and the audio even mustered decent panning at times. The surrounds didn’t offer much other than a general dirigible-engine "hum" but that helped create a workable atmosphere.

Audio quality felt dated but positive. Speech remained fairly natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music sounded warm and full, while effects displayed acceptable accuracy. These elements never showed great range, but given their age, they worked fine. Overall, this became a better than average mix for its era.

No extras appear on the disc – not even a trailer!

A tale based on real-life tragedy, The Hindenburg turns into a fairly effective thriller. It allows for a reasonably involving detective tale that works even though we know how it'll end. The Blu-ray comes with erratic visuals and positive audio but it lacks bonus features. Hindenburg ends up as one of the better disaster films from the 1970s.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main