Cross Of Iron

Blu-Ray Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Donald Munro's film review of Cross Of Iron
Cross Of Iron
"" | Photo: Studiocanal

Sam Peckinpah's consideration of the brutality of war gets the fully furnished 4HD and Blu-ray treatment from Studiocanal with the release of this Vintage Classics edition. Handsomely presented in 1080p High Definition video it looks good but without losing the feel of the original grain and the sound has also been scrubbed up. The restoration allows you to appreciate the richness of the browns and greens that dominate in stark contrast to many a modern war film that has deliberately had all colour drained from it. This, of course, also allows the blood to be more shocking when it does occur.

All credit must go to director and film historian Mike Seigel whose own passion for Peckinpah is the driving force and proves to be infectious. His dilligent collection of archive material and championing of the US director result in a wealth of extras that, like Peckinpah, comes at its subject from all angles.

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Passion And Poetry: Sam Peckinpah's War is just one part of a larger documentary by Siegel on the filmmaker, with this segment focusing on Cross Of Iron. Interviews that Siegel conducted with Vadim Glowna (Kern), Roger Fritz (Triebig), Senta Berger (Eva), David Warner (Kiesel) and others are interwoven with archive interviews with Peckinpah and other members of the cast to paint a picture of what was happening on and off the set. This doc also gives you a chance to see parts of the film before it was restored and to see translations of key songs that are sung in German, which also adds to understanding of the film as a whole.

While the admiration for Peckinpah is in evidence, there is also a sense of the tensions that existed on set between producer Wolf Hartwig and Peckinpah.

Siegel also provides an audio commentary - which I believe is new to UK viewers - which though a little ruminative, which he himself acknowledges, does offer additional information about the background to the film.

Also new to this edition are several collections of still photographs, mainly taken on the set, which show the cast and crew in between takes, including James Coburn practising the flute in his trailer.

Further featurettes, flesh things out still further, with the ones involving Kern talking about his roller coaster relationship with Peckinpah particularly compelling. Footage from the Padua retrospective in 2000 that seems to have been a starting point for Siegel in terms of what came afterwards, is also included, including a Q&A with David Warner and James Coburn, which allows you to see the off-screen dynamic between the two of them as well as hearing their thoughts.

In addition there are well presented interviews from 1977 that were done with the key players.

The two-disc Blu-ray set is rounded out by the German and UK/US trailers - with their different angles - and a bizarre pair of adverts for a Japanese knife company named Rockingham, made by Peckinpah with Coburn.

Reviewed on: 02 Aug 2023
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Cross Of Iron packshot
As the Wehrmacht retreat on the Eastern Front, two German soldiers are locked in a futile personal conflict.

Product Code: OPTBD4535

Region: B

Ratio: Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (31.99 Mbps); Resolution: 1080p; Aspect ratio: 1.84:1

Sound: English LPCM Mono English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono

Extras: Audio commentary by Mike Siegel, Promoting Steiner, Steiner on the set, filming Steiner Pts 1&2, Steiner in colour, On Location: Sam Peckinpah, On Location: James Coburn, On Location: Maximilian Schell, On Location: James Mason, On Location: David Warner, Passion and Poetry: Sam Peckinpah's War, Kruger Kisses Kern, Vadim & Sam: Father & Son, Cutting Room Floor (Steelbook & Blu-Ray only), Steiner in Japan: Ads filmed in 1977, Mike's Home Movies: Steiner & Kiesel Meet Again, US/UK Trailer, German Trailer, US TV Spot

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