Never So Few

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As the Japanese army advances, one last post stands in their path, but the Kachin tribespeople aren’t soldiers, not even close. But if the Japanese pass through the Burmese jungle home of the Kachin, India is within reach and that would be disastrous. In order to ensure that doesn’t happen, the Army’s Office of Strategic Servives (OSS) has dispatched a squad to prepare the Kachin people. The leader of the squad is Captain Tom Reynolds (Frank Sinatra), a veteran of the battlefield. He is a strong man, both physically and mentally, but he has been on post for too long, even by his standards. Even so, he endures and pushes ahead, especially when a beautiful woman is on his mind. While in India on break, he meets the gorgeous Carla (Gina Lollobrigida) and falls for her, but she refuses his advances. Also while in India, Reynolds recruits some new squad members, some of whom have questionable moral stances. When the Kachin troops are ordered to battle Chinese warlords in a crucial, but almost impossible mission, will Reynolds stand up?

As a fan of Steve McQueen’s cinematic career, I had heard about Never So Few, but for some reason, I’d never taken the time to give it a look. But when Warner released the special McQueen Collection, I knew it was time to amend that oversight. Even if I don’t have interest in the subject matter, I’ll give McQueen’s films a chance, as I can usually expect a dynamic performance from Mr. Cool himself. In Never So Few, he is teamed up with none other than Frank Sinatra, an odd pair, but one I was anxious to see. After all, some dream teams work, others fall to pieces on screen. As it turns out, this is not a Steve McQueen movie, as this was his first major studio film and as such, his screen time is limited. The real focus here is on Sinatra and while he is a fine worker, I’ve never been too taken with his pictures. As such, I have to admit that I was a little let down with Never So Few, but if you’re a fan of Sinatra, then you’ll probably enjoy yourself. So this movie is worth a look, but if you’re only after McQueen, you’ll find he’s in short supply in this one.

Video: How does it look?

Never So Few is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is an older film and looks like it, but the transfer still turns out to be of passing grades. I saw a lot of debris, marks, and grain on this one, but given the age of this film, I expected it to be this way, perhaps even a little worse. Colors seem bright, if a little faded at times and flesh tones have a natural, warm tint to them. But the contrast is just too dark, which doesn’t allow the colors to be as rich as they should be. Also, this hampers detail level a little, but not to an extreme degree. Given the age and condition of the materials, this is an average, but solid treatment.

Audio: How does it sound?

A brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack has been included here and while I appreciate the effort, the result isn’t that memorable. I know a lot of you are surround sound devotees, but I don’t mind a mono or simple stereo soundtrack in some cases. In this one, the surround presence is natural however, so it isn’t a distraction, as it can be in these remixes. The audio is thin, but that has to be expected with a movie of this vintage, so I can’t complain too much. I am just pleased that Warner didn’t juice the surrounds to force presence, as that would have been a serious disappointment. The dialogue is clean and smooth, so no vocals are lost and the music sounds good too, which is great news. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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