Blu-ray Review: Sunrise at Campobello

A dozen years before Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd president of the United States, he would be faced with the biggest challenge of his personal life. One day in the summer of 1921, FDR had spent the day swimming in the Bay of Fundy on Campobello island where the Roosevelt’s had a summer home. FDR was suddenly struck with chills, which quickly developed into infantile paralysis. Based on Dory Schary’s play Sunrise at Campobello, the 1960 film of the same name tells of Roosevelt’s three-year fight against a disease that was largely considered a death sentence at the time.

Roosevelt’s (Ralph Bellamy) career was believed to be over. After an unsuccessful run for Vice President with James M. Cox, FDR had been contemplating his next move. Now ill, most expected him to retire to his Hyde Park estate. That was fine with his mother Sarah (Ann Shoemaker), who considers politics beneath her son. His wife Eleanor (Greer Garson) and his asthmatic political advisor Louis Howe (Hume Cronyn) were determined to help him make a comeback.

Ralph Bellamy, reprising his Tony winning role as FDR, has all of Roosevelt’s mannerisms and his voice infections. This would become the actors signature role. Years later he would portray FDR in the acclaimed mini-series’ Winds of War. Greer Garson, barely recognizable as Eleanor Roosevelt, captures her distinctively slow, deliberate speech cadence. Likewise, both principals’ makeup is subtly effective.

Produced with the cooperation of the Roosevelt family, the film received four Oscar nominations including Best Actress for Greer Garson. While Garson lost the Oscar to Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8, she won the Golden Globe award for Best Actress—Motion Picture Drama.

A brand-new master, Warner Archive’s 1080p transfer makes this 60-year old film shine. excellent contrast and clarity produce a vibrant image and a nice layer of grain results in a filmic appearance. Colors are vivid, though occasionally on the orange side. No scratches or dust mar the presentation. I can’t imagine Sunrise at Campobello looking any better than it does here.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track offers clear, well mixed sound throughout. A dialogue heavy film, atmospherics don’t come into play often, but hard rain and wind sound appropriate. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise. There are no pops, crackles, or hisses to mar the presentation.

English SDH subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3:00)

Sunrise at Campobello (1960)
Sunrise at Campobello

Movie title: Sunrise at Campobello

Country: USA

Duration: 143 min

Director(s): Vincent J. Donehue

Actor(s): Ralph Bellamy, Greer Garson , Hume Cronyn, Jean Hagen, Tim Considine , Lyle Talbot

Genre: Biography, Drama

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