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Synopsis
During spring 1943 they took to the war-torn skies for the most dangerous mission in defence of freedom. If the ten-man crew of the bomber Memphis Belle returned, they would receive a hero’s welcome and renew flagging public morale. But the odds were stacked heavily against them in the true, courageous story of the brave “fly-boys” who each fought mortal fear while fighting the enemy together.

Memphis Belle
Video
Contrary to the packaging, Memphis Belle is presented in non-anamorphic 1.66:1, not 1.85:1. The quality of the video is highly variable, with some scenes faring better than others. There are numerous scratches on the print, which detract from the overall enjoyment, and there seems to be an odd reddish/pink tint to the picture, but this isn’t the worst transfer I've ever seen. It’s certainly better than VHS, and although it lacks the definition of an anamorphic transfer, the detail level is acceptable throughout. For those who prefer them, the disc also contains a pan-and-scan transfer on side B.

Memphis Belle
Audio
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 is fairly good, and succeeds in drawing you into the action. It could perhaps have benefited from a bit more bass during the airborne combat though. There are some great opportunities for surround effects during these sections, but these don’t live up to their full potential. Dialogue sometimes gets lost amongst the rest of the sound, and it all sounds a bit muddy at times.

Extras
As is usual for this sort of back catalogue disc, extras are almost non-existent. Once again scene access is laughably claimed as an “extra”, but the only real feature on offer is the theatrical trailer.

Memphis Belle
Overall
While not a bad film, Memphis Belle isn’t really my cup of tea. On the other hand, both my girlfriend and her sister love it, so it most certainly has an audience out there. The picture is slightly lacking, but non-anamorphic video isn’t particularly impressive at the best of times. The audio has it’s moments, but is let down by some weak bass and muddled dialogue. Obviously the extras aren’t going to earn the disc any awards either. Basically fans of the film you could do a lot worse than pick this disc up, but others would be advised to rent first.


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