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Saboteur

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    71
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • High praise for Universal's video upgrade and Hitchcock's 4K release, both highly recommended.

    Saboteur 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    81
  • The Ultra HD upgrade of this Hitchcock thriller boasts a remarkable cleanup, delivering enhanced clarity, texture, and stark contrasts with rich blacks and vivid whites, maintaining its filmic essence.

  • Audio
    83
  • Saboteur's 4K UHD release features a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack that, while not flawless due to its source, delivers a solid, detailed, and immersive audio experience, closely matching its 2013 Blu-ray.

  • Extra
    68
  • This UHD release retains all legacy extras from the Blu-ray, including a 35:06 closer look, storyboards, Hitchcock's sketches, production photos, and the trailer, with an embossed slipcover and digital copy.

  • Movie
    78
  • Universal's 'Saboteur' on UHD celebrates a Hitchcock wartime thriller with iconic suspense and patriotic themes, offered as a standalone or in a collection, though with no new extras.

    Video: 81

    Universal's 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Hitchcock's “Saboteur” brings a substantial visual upgrade that aficionados of the espionage thriller will certainly appreciate. The restoration efforts conducted on this classic film are immediately noticeable, with a significant reduction in pops, scratches, and vertical lines that plagued previous releases. The 2160p resolution enhances sharpness and definition remarkably, offering an image that is stable and crisp across a plethora of environments, from dimly lit scenes to vibrant cross-country landscapes. The fine detailing on character faces, clothing, and backgrounds breathes new life into each frame, revealing nuances previously lost in lesser formats. The film's grain structure remains authentic, albeit occasionally veering towards the sharper end of the spectrum, which might detract from its organic aesthetic for some viewers. Yet, this slight critique does little to diminish the overall excellence of the visual presentation.

    The HDR grayscale implementation adds a layer of depth to the image that is both aesthetically pleasing and faithful to the film's original look. Contrast levels are striking yet natural, with whites appearing brighter and blacks demonstrating significant depth, surpassing previous editions in accuracy and stability. Color gradations are subtle and well executed, ensuring that every scene is presented with the right balance and clarity. However, it's worth noting that certain moments, particularly during complex dissolve edits and rear-projection shots, reveal inherent softness and blur--a reminder of the film's age and the technological limitations of its time.

    Overall, this transition to ultra-high definition is a triumph, showcasing Hitchcock's work with an unparalleled clarity and richness that pays homage to the film's historical significance while leveraging modern technology to enhance its presentation for today's audiences. Despite minor imperfections inherent to the original source material, the UHD release offers a definitive viewing experience, supported by a HEVC H.265 encode that captures every detail with precision. Whether scrutinizing the textures of a character’s attire or the intricate backgrounds that set the stage for this thrilling narrative, viewers will discover a visual feast that marries classic cinema with contemporary home entertainment technology.

    Audio: 83

    Saboteur" graces the 4K UHD landscape with its DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 lossless soundtrack, preserving the aural authenticity of its era while navigating the inherent limitations of its vintage source. Notably, the track mirrors the audio blueprint of its 2013 Blu-ray counterpart, exhibiting a steadfast adherence to the original mix's strengths and weaknesses alike. The soundtrack's architecture facilitates a commendable auditory experience—its music stretches with adequate breadth, and dialogues are firmly cradled within a center-focused imaging, contributing to a coherent and immersive soundstage. Despite the challenges posed by certain scenes, such as the waterfall escape and subsequent rainstorm, where clarity occasionally waivers, these moments do not detract significantly from the overall quality, as most shortcomings seem rooted in the original recording rather than the encoding process.

    Boasting a robust mid-range that spells out details without succumbing to noise or distortion, this monoaural rendition stands out for its clarity and balance. The soundscape is intricately layered, allowing background noises and Frank Skinner's score to unfold with remarkable distinction and breadth. Dialogues shine with precision, ensuring that each line is delivered with impeccable clarity, showcasing the nuanced performances with striking fidelity. The soundtrack may lack the depth a contemporary mix might offer, especially in its low-end response, yet it manages to infuse scenes with sufficient weight, enhancing the visual narrative without overwhelming it.

    In essence, "Saboteur's" audio presentation on 4K UHD blurs the lines between past and present, offering a listening experience that respects its origins while employing modern encoding standards to bring out the best in this classic film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track excels in delivering a clean, detailed, and engaging audio experience that serves as a testament to the enduring quality of cinematic sound design, even when faced with the limitations of older source materials.

    Extra: 68

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Saboteur" retains its appeal particularly through the consistency and quality of its bonus features, all of which have been directly ported over from the previous Blu-ray edition without any additions. Buyers will find the package appealing as it includes a legacy Blu-ray disc and a Movies Anywhere digital copy code, further complemented by an embossed slipcover for collectors. The extras, all delivered in high definition, range from an in-depth look at the film's creation to a curated set of production photographs, storyboards, and original sketches by Alfred Hitchcock. These elements together provide a comprehensive behind-the-scenes experience that enriches the viewing of the main feature by offering insights into its development and Hitchcock's visionary approach.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Saboteur: A Closer Look: A detailed exploration of the film's production.
    • Storyboards: The Statue of Liberty sequence in visual planning.
    • Alfred Hitchcock's Sketches: Original drawings by the director.
    • Production Photographs: A collection of images from the set.
    • Theatrical Trailer: The film's original promotional trailer.

    Movie: 78

    Universal Studios Home Entertainment has elevated Alfred Hitchcock's wartime thriller, "Saboteur," to the pinnacle of home cinema with its release on 4K Ultra HD. This 1942 espionage film, standing as a significant but not the most celebrated entry within Hitchcock's illustrious career, is presented in splendid 2160p/HDR video, meticulously preserving the director's vision and Joseph A. Valentine's exquisite cinematography. Although the package does not introduce a new audio track, nor any new extras, it successfully compiles all legacy supplements, ensuring both newcomers and seasoned fans have comprehensive access to its historied background.

    The film's plot, swirling around the falsely accused aircraft factory worker Barry Kane, unfolds across a dramatically charged American landscape, from Los Angeles through to the iconic Statue of Liberty climax. Such a narrative not only showcases Hitchcock's mastery in building suspense and thrill but also cleverly weaves a tapestry of patriotism and duty at a time of global uncertainty. The performances of Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane inject a dynamic vigor into the tale, further enriched by Hitchcock's unique storytelling and Valentine’s cinematographic prowess. Despite its familiarity within Hitchcock’s theme of the "wrong man" accusation, "Saboteur" distinguishes itself with moments of brilliance and thematic profundity, making it a worthy watch albeit its middle ranking in Hitchcock’s oeuvre.

    Presented as part of both an individual release and the expansive five-film UHD boxed set alongside other Hitchcock classics – or within the ten-disc "The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection Vol. 2" – this rendition of "Saboteur" is engineered to meet the highest standards of current home entertainment technology. Owners will appreciate the dual-disc combo pack's accessibility, featuring HDR10 and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio enhancements that promise an immersive viewing experience. With easy navigation through a user-friendly menu, enriched by full-motion clips and background music, "Saboteur" on 4K UHD is an essential addition to the libraries of cinephiles and Hitchcock aficionados alike.

    Total: 71

    Universal's release of Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur" on 4K UHD Blu-ray marks a significant improvement in its video presentation, which will undoubtedly delight fans of this espionage thriller. While it may not sit at the pinnacle of Hitchcock's illustrious career, the film remains a compelling piece of cinema, largely due to the dynamic performances of Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. The 4K HDR10 upgrade breathes new life into the visual experience, offering a noticeable enhancement from its HD SDR predecessor. Although the audio retains its original DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track – a decision that respects the film's original audio integrity without feeling the need for a trendy remix – it effectively complements the viewing experience.

    The package itself might not introduce new extras, but the existing materials are satisfactory, ensuring that the core focus remains on the film's improved visual and audio presentation. This approach aligns with Universal's dedication to elevating the technical quality of its releases. The decision to preserve the original audio track and the lack of new bonus content may seem conservative to some, but it ensures that the film's historical context remains intact, making it a valuable addition to any collector's repertoire, whether acquired individually or as part of the larger five-film collection.

    In conclusion, this 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Saboteur" is a testament to Universal's commitment to quality and respect for classic cinema. It strikes an excellent balance between technological advancement and fidelity to the original filmmaking experience. The film itself, supported by top-tier performances and a gripping storyline, paired with a significantly enhanced video presentation, makes this release a must-have for Hitchcock enthusiasts and collectors alike. Despite minimal extras and an unaltered audio track, the overall package comes highly recommended and stands as an exemplary addition to the 4K UHD catalog.