Sharpe's Enemy (Blu-ray) (1994)
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Tom Clegg|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
1813, Portugal. Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser) rests his army before another round of conflict with Bonaparte’s French. However, in the mountains of Portugal between the English and French armies a band of deserters from all the contesting armies, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, commanded by the murderous, odious Obadiah Hakeswill (Pete Postlewaite), is raging across the mountains, killing, looting and raping the inhabitants. In a small village and convent they capture two upper class women. One is Sarah Dubreton (Helena Michell), the English wife of a French officer, the other is Lady Farthingdale (Elizabeth Hurley). The deserters hold the woman for ransom and, seeing a chance to get even with Sharpe, Hakeswill specifies that the ransom must be by delivered by Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean).
Sir Augustus Farthingdale (Jeremy Child) is a fool and a fop, but he is the English representative to the Portuguese Court so Lord Wellington and his spymaster Major Nain (Michael Byrne) feel that they have no choice but to try to save Lady Farthingdale, although both have no expectations that the women will be freed on payment of the ransom. Indeed, when Sharpe, accompanied by his riflemen and some Spanish partisans commanded by Sharpe’s lover Teresa (Assumpta Serna), deliver the ransom, Hakeswill refuses to release the woman and gives Sharpe five days to return with another ransom.
While he is delivering the ransom Sharpe is surprised to find that he knows Lady Farthingdale, who was, indeed, not always a lady! Sharpe, also to his surprise, meets an honourable French officer (Francois Guetary); he is Sarah’s husband and has also brought a ransom to free his wife, unsuccessfully. Also on hand is a very devious Frenchman, Major Ducos (Feodor Atkine), Napoleon’s spymaster who is well known to Colonel Nain. With the appearance of Ducos and French soldiers in the area the town where the women are being held suddenly assumes strategic importance.
Sharpe, now promoted to Major, comes up with a plan to make a surprise attack on the deserters to rescue the women and then to hold the village against a French attack. To accomplish this he requires the help of some troops from the 60th Rifles led by Lieutenant Fredrickson (Philip Whitchurch), who is almost as irascible as Sharpe himself, and a squad bringing Congreve Rockets, a new weapon that is loud, explosive and wildly inaccurate. Battle is joined and death stalks the Portuguese mountains.
Sharpe’s Enemy is again directed by Tom Clegg. The Sharpe series of films continues to improve and Sharpe’s Enemy, the fourth film, is a ripper. There is humour, some very funny indeed, (the early sequence involving the rockets is a hoot), another pompous fool of an officer, political chicanery, battles, gunfire and explosions, French soldiers, friendship, comradeship, the treacherous and odious Hakeswill, a new and deadly opponent for Sharpe in Major Ducos (who will reappear in future films), a great new character in the toothless and one-eyed Frederickson (who will also reappear in subsequent films), love and tenderness with Teresa, poignancy and tragedy when some major characters are killed.
Sharpe’s Enemy is an excellent addition to the Sharpe series. Sean Bean continues to add depth to Sharpe, Pete Postlewaite, Philip Whitchurch and Elizabeth Hurley are very entertaining in different ways, there is humour, often deadpan, excitement and action. Everything a Sharpe adventure should be.
Sharpe’s Enemy is presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
Sharpe’s Enemy was released here on DVD a decade ago and was reviewed on this site here. DanielB was unimpressed calling the colour dull and lifeless and the video at best “watchable”. The series was shot originally on 16 mm film and a note on the cover of this collection advises that “in mastering Sharpe to HD the original film negatives have been used to ensure the ultimate HD viewing experience. On rare occasions within the series, the original negatives were either not available or in too poor a condition to use--in these instances standard definition content has been up scaled to complete the narrative. This up scaling effects less than 5% of the content.”
The result is a much improved presentation although by no means pristine. Exteriors in daylight fare the best but some are still hazy, although close-ups are good, showing all the whiskers, dirt and lines on Bean’s face. The battle scenes, with smoke, explosions, volleys and rockets screaming past, have good detail. Grain is present but generally controlled, marks were absent. Colours are natural and a vast improvement over the DVD; check out the red coats of the English infantry. In dark interiors, however, detail is lacking, there is noise and a browny tinge. Skin tones can also vary, as does contrast in some sequences.
English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available. Subtitles also translate sections of Spanish and French dialogue.
Audio choices are English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640 Kbps and Dolby Digital 2.0 at 256 Kbps, so no lossless audio.
Dialogue is always clear. This is the most resounding audio in the series so far; Congreve Rockets scream past and explode, volleys of rifle fire, orders and screams are all around. The subwoofer added depth to the rocket explosions. The music by Dominic Muldowney and John Tams used some period tunes and period instruments and was effective.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
Two silent text screens with facts about filming the battle sequences in the Ukraine and the Russian stunt team.
Black and white and colour photos with music and text, partly a summary of the episode, partly some on-set pictures.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There are Blu-ray releases of Sharpe’s Enemy in various regions, some in single discs, some sharing a Blu-ray with Sharpe’s Company, some in collections, including in Sharpe: The Classic Collection which is similar to our release. Some other collections and individual films do have 1080p video and lossless 2.0 audio listed however.
Our release, Sharpe: The Classic Collection, includes 14 movie length adventures on seven Blu-rays. Sharpe’s Enemy shares a Blu-ray with Sharpe’s Company.
Sharpe’s Enemy is a cracker, as the series gets stronger and stronger. There are battles with smoke and explosions, erratic Congreve Rockets, new and old enemies for Sharpe to contend with as well as a tragedy.
The video, although 1080i, is a vast improvement over that of the DVD, the audio is still lossy Dolby Digital. Nevertheless, fans of the Sharpe series should be happy with this improved presentation.
Sharpe: The Classic Collection was supplied for review by ViaVision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|