Captains of the Clouds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an excellent presentation, especially given the film’s age.
In terms of sharpness, the movie usually demonstrated nice delineation. A few shots seemed just a smidgen soft, but those issues occurred infrequently, so the majority of the flick looked concise and accurate.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and no edge enhancement became apparent. Grain remained appropriate, and no specks, marks or other defects showed up at any time in this fresh presentation.
Colors were strong. A Technicolor production, the hues tended to be vivid and full.
Blacks seemed deep and dense without too much heaviness. Shadow detail worked similarly well, as dimly-lit shots were appropriately clear and thick. I found little about which to complain here and thought the Blu-ray brought the movie to life in a positive manner.
The DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Clouds appeared fine for its era, and speech was appropriate. The lines showed age-related thinness, but they were always perfectly intelligible and without edginess.
Effects resembled the dialogue in terms of quality. Those elements lacked much depth but they were without notable problems.
Music was acceptable for its age, as the score tended to be a bit tinny. There wasn’t much range to the music, but again, that stemmed from the limitations of the very old source. This became a perfectly adequate mix for its vintage.
As we head to extras, we find three short films from 1942. These include the live-action Rocky Mountain Big Game (10:06) as well as animated reels What’s Cookin’, Doc? (8:12) and Hold the Lion, Please (8:26).
In Game, hunters seek to slaughter innocent sheep. Much of it plays as a nature travelogue, which works, but when we got to actual killings, I turned it off. Sorry – hunting is barbaric.
With Cookin’, Bugs demands a recount when he doesn’t win the Oscar. Doc deviates from the usual “Bugs battles a foe” template and mocks Hollywood in a delightful manner, though it loses some points because a large chunk reuses the Little Hiawatha short.
Finally, during Hold a lion hunts rabbits and gets more than he bargained for when he meets Bugs. The Bugs side works but the lion seems like a less than stellar antagonist.
Along with the movie’s trailer, we a 1942 newsreel. During this two-minute, 14-second clip, James Cagney reads a message from Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau as an attempt to sell war bonds. It’s propaganda but it’s an interesting archival clip.
As an example of World War II semi-propaganda out of Hollywood, Captains of the Clouds occasionally stirs to life. However, too much of it focuses on extraneous character material and the end product runs too long to justify its flimsy narrative. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with acceptable audio and a few bonus features. Despite a few positives, Clouds doesn’t satisfy as a whole.