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  Directed by
    None Listed
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  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras

    Bodyline - It's Just Not Cricket!

    ABC/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 59 mins . M15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    Mention the term ‘leg theory’ to a cricket connoisseur and you will most probably see a shadow pass over their face and a dim fire burning in their eyes. Well, I may possibly be exaggerating slightly there, but this truly was a very bleak time in the history of the great game.

    For those of you who are not yet aware of the events that overshadowed the Ashes Test Series of 1932-33 in Australia, let me shed some light on the matter. Sir Donald Bradman was at the height of his devastating power. He had absolutely torn the Poms apart in the previous Ashes tour in England, and looked set to make a repeat performance this time around. The English cricket board felt a need to counteract The Don’s supremacy of their bowlers, and thus devised a new fielding tactic that they named Leg Theory. This was to eventually be referred to by the ominous term of "bodyline".

    Put simply, the goal of the tactic was to have the bowler deliver a short pitched bouncing ball on a line on or outside the leg stump. On the leg side there would be almost the entire fielding team, and thus the only option for scoring was to hit the ball to the leg side where there was quite a good chance of being caught if you got the shot even slightly wrong.

    “There are two teams out there. One is playing cricket. The other is making no attempt to do so.” - Australian Captain Bill Woodfull.

    The English captain at the time was a man named Douglas Jardine. He was a fine cricketer, but had a very poor rapport with the Australian fans. His pace attack consisted of two very fine bowlers - Harold Larwood and Bill Voce. Harold Larwood had fearsome pace, over 90mp/h on most deliveries. With these two frontline bowlers, Jardine was able to create a sense of anxiety in the Australian camp. This feeling came to a boiling point in the Adelaide test match, where the crowd became so vocal that Jardine and Larwood feared for their own safety.

    This release by the ABC is truly a great documentary on the whole bodyline issue. Running for one hour, it covers such detail that after watching it you will have no questions that are not answered in the material it presents you with. There are many interviews with the families of the players involved and historians of the game. This is a DVD that truly deserves to be in any cricket fan’s collection.

      Video
    Contract

    The ABC should be very happy with this transfer. The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. There is a mixture of new footage and 70 year old footage throughout the feature, so of course the quality varies tremendously.

    The new material is immaculate. Sharpness is very good, and details are simple and easy to pick. Colours are vibrant and well saturated during the shots of the cricket grounds. Shadow detail is accurate, as are the flesh tones of the people interviewed.

    The older footage, on the other hand, suffers from many of the problems that are often associated with aged material. This footage is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is placed in the centre of the 1.78:1 ratio image. Of course most of the old film is scratchy and has specks and hairs all over it. All of this footage is, of course, black and white.

    This disc is single sided and single layered, so there are no issues with layer changes. There are no subtitle tracks available.

      Audio
    Contract

    There is one soundtrack available for you to enjoy, and it is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 affair. Since this is a documentary piece on a rather sedate subject, there is nothing really special about the audio transfer. Having said that, however, it is totally adequate for the job, and there is really nothing wrong with it.

    Dialogue is easy to hear and understand throughout the feature. There are no issues with audio synch. Subwoofer and surround speaker use is non existent - no complaints in this section.

      Extras
    Contract

    The show's over folks, nothing to see here. Move along please!

      Overall  
    Contract

    This is an in-depth glimpse at a time when the wonderful game of cricket was in crisis. If you have an interest in this sport, and in particular the events that have shaped it into what it is today, then this DVD is highly recommended. It is truly a good thing that this was done by the ABC, as they take a look at the issue in a way that the commercial stations would not have attempted. Both the audio and visual transfer are top notch. Highly recommended!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2090
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      And I quote...
    "A complete documentary on the Bodyline series in Australia 1932-33. Any fan of cricket should grab this ASAP."
    - Robert Mack
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE475
    • Speakers:
          Sony
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony
    • Surrounds:
          Sony
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony Active Superwoofer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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