Director Robert Aldrich was at top of his game when helming "THE DIRTY DOZEN". The story revolves around an Army officer assigned to choose 12 convicts, offering them the chance of amnesty if completing and surviving what is tantamount to a suicide mission behind enemy lines, shortly before D-Day.
The mission is to infiltrate a high end resort for high-ranking Nazi officials and their wives/mistresses and kill as many of them as possible. Things move at a steady, engaging pace, as we watch Lee Marvin(as the lead) choose his group of psychopaths. The majority of the film follows the men in training, eventually leading up to the mission itself. Even at 150 minutes, the films moves briskly and never sinks in the few slower moments that pop up here and there.
The cast is great, and Marvin is terrific, creating a character so much his own, it's impossible to think of anyone else doing as good a job.
WARNER BROS. has provided a 1.78:1 image and while one of our staff reviewers recalls having seen it in 2.35:1 as a child, this must have been a cropped print for theatrical showings as no scene appears to be missing information in the present ratio.
It's a terrific transfer, in spite of some infrequent grain. There's an extremely impressive level of detail throughout. The blacks and grays are deep, especially during the darker moments and colors are extremely rich, offering a life-like dimension to a film nearly 40 years old!
WARNER BROS is presenting a DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 mix. Surrounds are used sparingly, until the final mission sequence, wherein they kick into high gear, offering terrific effects and bass during the raid and bring real excitement. The rest of the film offers a variety of separation effects, limited to the front soundstage.
An extensive amount of extras is offered, including an dreadfully bad made-for-tv sequel, "THE DIRTY DOZEN: NEXT MISSION", featuring Marvin and Ernest Borgnine in their original roles. Commentary for the original film and documentaries are also offered.