Pork Chop Hill Blu-ray Review
During the Korean War, the 1953 battle on Pork Chop Hill cost many tragic lives between the U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Division and Chinese and North Korean forces. The film depicts the nearly helpless situation these brave soldiers endured, while continuing to fight.
PORK CHOP HILL is a bit reminiscent and possibly influential to the attack on Normandy Beach scene so vividly depicted in Steven Spielberg’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Waves of soldiers fighting their way up hill where they are continually getting shot down by the enemy like sitting ducks. This seemingly unwinnable situation is relentless as the men and characters dwindle in numbers the entire film without a break.
The one constant is Lt. Joe Clemons, played by the always unshakable Gregory Peck. Lt. Clemons has the stable mind and attitude to understand the dire situation but still do his duty. He is a leader of the men and earn everyone’s respect. Peck once again why he was a leading man in Hollywood commanding the screen with a charismatic presence. While one may not initially recognize these young faces, many of the supporting actors would go on to bigger things, including: Rip Torn, George Peppard, Martin Landau, Harry Dean Stanton, Gavin MacLeod, Robert Blake, Woody Strode, and Harry Guardino.
While negotiations are in the works to find an end to the war, the battle on Pork Chop Hill continues on. The hill is technically unimportant in a strategic military sense other than representing both sides not willing to back down. The U.S. headquarters is under the impression that the battle has been won. However, the truth is they are in desperate need of reinforcement with no end in sight. Adding to the suspense is a constant Chinese propaganda being loudly broadcast over speakers encouraging the U.S. military to surrender and retreat.
Based on the book by U.S. military historian Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall and directed by Lewis Milestone, PORK CHOP HILL is a riveting story of a difficult historic event. While the film isn’t as captivating as the current films of today, this 1959 film does hold up in a sense by being an influential stepping stone for the great war films that followed it.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 1.66:1) For such an old film, the black and white picture looks terrific.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0) The sound sometimes comes off stale but everything is heard clearly.
Unfortunately, no extra features are provided in the Blu-ray release.