Director Robert Wise and actor Steve McQueen have been praised for many films, but arguably the best work of both director and actor is visible in "THE SAND PEBBLES," available now on blu-ray from FOX. Set along the Yangtze River in 1926, "THE SAND PEBBLES" depicts harrowing situations that occur after an American Gunboat, the "SAN PABLO" or "SAND PEBBLE" is forced to stop for repairs, and class/social elements taking place on the ship, parallel with things occurring on the foreign land, feet away.
Wise shows more restraint than typical, and while the old Hollywood studio elements are used in big ways, they're done with such finesse, there are scenes that are awe-inspiring. Even McQueen shows restraint, somewhat paralleling the coolness he displayed in his last great film, "THE GETAWAY."
Even Candice Bergen does a fine job, without overacting, not an easy thing for her to do! For fans of the film and younger, newer viewers that will be won over by this great film, "THE SAND PEBBLES" is finally available in the perfect format to view it in!
FOX has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/MPEG 2 release. Colors are rich and vibrant throughout. As good as the most recent dvd image was, this blu-ray blows it away! Resolution quality is remarkable, even for blu-ray! There is barely an image that doesn't have that "jump off the screen" impact! WOW!!! The level of detail makes this reference quality and one of the best looking blu-rays released so far! OUTSTANDING, FOX, OUTSTANDING!
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 mix. While impressive, with some fine bass effects and surround moments, it doesn't achieve the dynamic range of some FOX catalogue blu-ray releases. There are more than a few moments wherein the sound doesn't have that natural feel.
FOX has included some great extras, including commentaries deleted scenes from a longer version(unfortunately available on dvd but not offered here!)and various featurettes.